A pub has apologised after a “misguided” advertising campaign that seemed to condone rape.

The Hobgoblin pub in London Road had put up posters in the pub and online advertising its “Festive Frape” promotion.

Customers were invited to use the pub’s name in the status section of their Facebook pages and encourage friends to “like” the comment in exchange for a free shot.

The promotion was based on the colloquial phrase Frape, which means to post on someone’s Facebook wall without their permission.

But several people contacted the pub complaining the poster, which could be easily misread as festive rape, was offensive and normalised the term rape.

Others took to Facebook and Twitter to condemn it.

Nicole Healing was one of the first to spot the poster and complain to the pub.

'Affront to victims'

She said: “I remain astonished that any person would deem this suitable for marketing purposes and seemingly not realise the offence it could cause.

“This is not simply tongue-in-cheek frivolity, but an affront to all victims of sexual abuse and sexual crime.”

Some people contacted the charity Survivors’ Network, which supports female survivors of sexual violence and abuse.

A spokeswoman said: “The majority of people who saw the poster and Facebook page would know someone who has been raped at some point in their life and would find the use of the terms unacceptable, offensive and distasteful.

“We are encouraged by the public outrage about this campaign and the pub’s swift response to apologise and to remove all connected publicity material. Our message for the festive season is simple, rape is wrong – don’t joke about it, don’t condone it, don’t do it.”

'Deep regret'

John Purchese, the manager at the pub, admitted the campaign was “misguided” and made clear there was never any intention to legitimise rape.

The pub released a statement which said: “We deeply regret any offence our recent advertising may have caused and would like to apologise to anyone who may have misinterpreted the advert in question.

"We will no longer be using this advert and understand that a minority of people found it to be offensive. It was never our intention to cause such offence and our unreserved apology is sincere.

"On reflection it was naive to use an urban phrase that could be misinterpreted in this way.”

The pub has pledged to donate £250 to a local rape victim's charity.

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