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A Vietnam War-themed bar in Melbourne, Australia, is under fire from critics for capitalizing on a war that killed millions.
Rickshaw Bar, located in Melbourne’s Richmond neighborhood, is being slammed for having insensative decor, including old materials from military aircraft, branded dog tags, fiery menu items and bullets inside beer glasses. The bar’s interior also reportedly features an orange motif, which critics claim is inspired by Agent Orange, a chemical weapon used in the war.
A bar in Australia’s Richmond neighborhood is being slammed for aiming to profit off of a Vietnam War-inspired theme. (iStock)
The bar, in a now-deleted Instagram post, said it was aiming to “do something a little more radical” with the war-themed decor. However, media outlets and social media users were quick to call out the establishment as being insensitive.
“Imagine a war where over a million people died, & then imagine deciding to create an aesthetic out of it, to sell cocktails filled with bullet shells, with an Agent Orange theme,” the Asian-Australian media site Liminal magazine wrote on Twitter.
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“In a year where anti-Asian racism has risen dramatically, this bar has opened *in Richmond*, a suburb with a strong Vietnamese population, including people who would have *literally fled this war*,” the outlet added. “This is horrific.”
A spokesperson from Australia’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs also commented on news of the bar to TimeOut Melbourne, saying the group “encourages individuals or organisations to acknowledge our involvement in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations in a solemn, respectful and dignified way.”
Rickshaw Bar later issued an apology and removed ads for the venue from its social media following the backlash.
“We have taken down our content and apologize to anyone that was offended or found the content inappropriate,” the bar wrote on Instagram. “We have revised our tone and are working hard to make this right. Sorry for any distress caused — it was never our intent.”
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More than 58,000 American soldiers lost their lives during the Vietnam war, and between 2.1 and 3.8 million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians were killed. Traces of Agent Orange that still contaminate the soil in parts of Vietnam also continue to pose lingering medical issues for the people of the country.
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