Speaking to Impact, the students involved in the 7 Legged controversy have denied any attempt to recreate the Alton Towers Smiler Crash.
Wishing to remain anonymous, the group have given an exclusive interview to Impact which can be found below.
Earlier this week, in an article published by The Tab it was claimed a group of students from UoN dressed as ‘The Alton Tower’s Smiler Ride’, calling themselves ‘7 Legless’.
Following The Tab‘s coverage, the story has been covered by nationwide news outlets including the BBC.
The University of Nottingham Students’ Union has stated the coverage of the costume was a “misrepresentation”:
“The costume was in no way intended to reference the tragedy that occurred on the Smiler roller coaster at Alton Towers. Its design was based on a traditional concept that has existed for several years and no reference was made to the Smiler by the students involved. ‘7 Legless’ was intended to be a pun on the name of the bar crawl ‘7 Legged’ and the state of being inebriated. The article that was published by The Tab Nottingham on 19th October 2016, was a misrepresentation”.
The students were dressed for the annual Karnival ‘7 Legged’ bar crawl in Nottingham, which encourages group costumes and is in it’s 51st year.
Impact spoke exclusively with the group:
What is your response to claims that your costume was an attempt to recreate the Alton Towers Smiler Crash?
This is false.
Our costume was based on a well-established fancy dress idea of a rollercoaster. Our design made no reference to The Smiler (it did not say the name, nor did it recreate the design or colour schemes). We attached legs to the front of the costume to simulate a person sitting down (as per the original design). None of the participants displayed any form of injury (as claimed by The Tab).
Can you explain the reasoning behind the costume – why did you decide to go as that particular idea?
When looking for inspiration, we came across a particular YouTube video. This video was released in 2014 – before the Smiler incident and with no possible links to The Smiler. We attempted to recreate this video as closely as possible.
Can you give us an account of your contact with The Tab on the night?
We entered Yates’s at approximately 8pm. When we arrived it was relatively quiet. After a period of time there, we were approached by two ‘journalists’ from The Tab. They complimented our outfits and asked if we wanted a photo and to be in The Tab, under the premise that they were taking photos for their annual ‘best dressed’ competition. We agreed. After this, the two continued to ask other groups around the bar if they wanted photos taken.
At no point were we asked whether our outfit attempted to depict The Smiler. At no point was any likeliness to The Smiler raised by either of the ‘journalists’. Contrary to Mr. Archer’s claims, our ‘routine’ showed no likeliness to The Smiler or any sort of accident.
Again contrary to Mr. Archer’s claims the bar was not anywhere near full at this point. This lie is his single defence for failing to talk to us about our costume (as per his comments to The Daily Mail). There was plenty of room and time to talk to us, question us or raise any concerns. We believe The Tab’s own photo supports our assertion.
How do you feel about the coverage the costume has received so far?
We are shocked and disappointed.
It is disappointing that trusted news sources (such as the BBC, Daily Mail etc.) have based their stories on the Tab article. It is extremely upsetting to see the reactions of the general public, who have believed the allegations.
The most upsetting aspect, however, was the news reaching those affected by the original Smiler tragedy. We can completely understand their anger – they have been (falsely) told they are being mocked. This is a horrible idea. They have been brought unnecessary anguish in a bid to gain online clickbait through lies and misrepresentation.
Those who saw the costume in person, saw full photos or have spoken to us directly have been extremely supportive of us and our intentions, and we are very thankful towards them.
Do you feel the news coverage was justified?
We have mixed feelings.
We can understand why there is traction and why it is of public interest. But we know that if the facts were reported it would be a non-story, with very little interest from readers.
We are angry at the writers of the article. They have lied, and presented (at best) opinions as fact in a bid to cause controversy and gain readers.
At best they have misrepresented the situation. At worst they have maliciously edited and cropped a single photo to make tenuous links to a tragedy that happened a year previously. Through this, they have brought about more unnecessary anguish to those involved in the Smiler tragedy.
In addition to the above: we would like to again emphasise how sorry we are that this whole incident has brought about more suffering to those affected by the original incident. This was never our intention.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this interview are not those of Impact Magazine.
Image: Lee Haywood via Flickr