London club forced to cancel 'Ebola-themed' Halloween party

West End venue accused of 'trivialising' thousands of deaths with 'reprehensible' charity event

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"Anyone trying to make any personal benefit let alone light out of the Ebola situation is reprehensible," Tom Dannatt, chief executive and founder of Street Child, a charity which is running an Ebola crisis appeal, told the Daily Telegraph.

The promoters, a company called Momxdad, initially denied any wrongdoing, saying the name was merely a "play on words". However, the company has since decided to re-brand the event, changing it to just Saturday Night Fever. "[It] started as something light-hearted that was not supposed to be taken seriously" the company said. "[We] apologise if any upset or offence has been caused."

The organisers have also been forced to remove a hashtag - "#SpreadYourLegsNotEbola" - that had been linked to the event. "Given that the virus can be sexually transmitted", writes the Telegraph's Camilla Turner, the hashtag "may have added to the impression that they were trivialising the crisis".

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Miriam Mason-Sesay, country director of EducAid, a charity working to stop the outbreak, said: "People are embarrassed about how they responded to HIV 30 years ago, but [the response to Ebola] smacks of those sorts of responses."

The venue said it had supported the charity event "as we take the Ebola crisis very seriously". It said it hoped to raise £1,500 in "discretionary donations". But Dannatt points out that "if it is a discretionary donation attaching a charity's name to the branding of a night - that's not charity, that's just wrong."

Separately, a US fancy-dress company has begun selling a "sexy Ebola containment suit" for Halloween.

The company Brands on Sale, has been widely condemned for its "disgusting" costume. The revealing outfit's description declares: "Fighting disease is no reason to compromise style.

"The short dress and chic gas mask will be the talk of Milan, London, Paris, and New York as the world's fashionistas seek global solutions to hazmat couture."

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