Barber clipped over ‘sexist’ ad

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A Dutch barber who placed a poster outside his Palma establishment welcoming men and dogs but no women will be prosecuted by city authorities for unlawful advertising. 

Bob van den Hoek has lived in Spain for more than a decade and run the Syndicate Barbers in Mallorca since 2013, catering exclusively to men. His poster made headlines in September, prompting outrage from different sectors, including the Balearic Women’s Institute, who demanded he take it down. 

Van den Hoek relented, for a few days before audaciously sticking the poster back up, posing proudly for photos beside it and telling press it would remain standing until someone found a law that explicitly forbade it. 

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He has been adamant that it is ‘his house, his rules’ and that he refuses to let woman and children ‘spoil the ambiance’ for his customers, who are treated to an old-school vibe with jazz music and drinks while they have their hair cut. 

But now it appears someone has found a law, specifically the General Law on Advertising, which prohibits advertising that violates the dignity, values or rights enshrined in the constitution, a broad scope that will surely invite vigorous legal debate. 

The government also argues Barber Bob is in breach of protection measures against Gender Violence by promoting stereotypes. 

For his part van den Hoek claims that his customers haven’t complained and that most people see the funny side. He argues that there are areas exclusively reserved for women, such as saunas, and he just wants to create an environment that suits him and his clientele.  

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