Restaurant Chain Accused of Exploitation

Thai restaurant chain Giggling Squid has been criticised for offering artists in the Bath the chance to paint a wall in its new Bath restaurant – without being paid.

The restaurant, which is due to open in the city’s new casino development, set up a competition, for three budding ‘winning’ artists design a wall space for expenses covered but no actual salary.

Co- founder of Giggling Squid, Pranee Laurillard said: “I think this is a perfect opportunity for budding artists to spread their talents on our interior walls and also integrate with the local community.”

But Bath residents have taken to social media to complain about the competition, held in conjunction with Bath Spa University, posting negative comments:

“I would call all artists to boycott this ‘opportunity’ and keep their self-respect and dignity intact. We are blessed with a huge number of talented artists of all art forms in Bath. They deserve to be treated fairly.”

“I hope the company will see the error of their ways and understand that such exploitative practices will not be tolerated here in Bath.”

“You would not expect any other professional to work for just the costs of materials and a ticket to their shiny launch party. So why should we treat artists any differently.”

“They deserve to be fully paid for the work they undertake and it is an absolute disgrace that this new company coming to Bath should be seen to operate under such an exploitative cloud and in such an exploitative manner.”

Creative director of Theatre Bath, Luke John Emmett agrred: “This sort of exploitation of artists is unacceptable. It has become a common occurrence in the arts in recent years to not respect and treat artists as true businesses or professionals, not helped by the complete mistreatment and eradication of the arts budget by B&NES Council. Artists and their work deserve to be treated with the same respect as any other business would get.”

Giggling Squid opened its first restaurant in Brighton and now have over 20 restaurants in the UK.  The founders sold a minority stake in the company in 2015 for £6.4m


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