We run the UK’s only maid café with a long list of rules… people say it makes their ‘flesh crawl’ – but that’s not fair | The Sun

THE UK's only maid cafe with a long list of rules have hit back after critics said it made their "flesh crawl".

Affleck Palace in Manchester takes up Japanese "maid cafe" culture, where staff are dressed in anime-style maid’s uniforms often seen in Manga cartoons.

But not everyone is a fan of the themed cafe with one local councillor branding it "disgusting".

Urmston councillor Joanne Harding slammed the Animaid Cafe and said it made her "flesh crawl" in a tweet.

She tweeted: “What fresh hell is this in Manchester? A ‘maid cafe’ – No touching or asking to touch the maids. We have a gender based violence strategy and ask ‘is this ok?’ – this makes my fresh [sic] crawl.”

Many others weighed in as one follower branded the café "Hooters for incels", to which Harding replied "it’s disgusting".

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She added: "If you’ve got to have a sign up saying don’t touch the maids, there might be an issue. Women dressing in skimpy clothes, acting subserviently – what’s not to love."

But Vick Littley, one of the cafe’s managers, hit back at what she feels is unfair criticism.

Vick told the MEN: “It was out of the blue and just felt derogatory. Most of the staff are young women – the post has been done with no grasp of what we actually are.

“We are a themed cafe where people can play board games, watch anime, sit and talk, study. We are not like how they are trying to portray us, we’re a bubble tea anime-themed café.”

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Maid cafes see waitresses wear old-style maid outfits, though updated for the modern era and in the style of Manga cartoons, with shorter skirts.

However, the establishment differs starkly from the concept of Japanese hostess clubs, which open at night.

Also, photos are not permitted and the onus is on food and service, with the cafes clients being mostly young people and families.

Vick continued: “We’re family-friendly place and do many events days for families. A lot of our customers are families who always come together who love anime.

"We’re just not sure why they’ve decided to post like that. They are rules that should be in place everywhere across every industry.

“We have made them clear at the door for the peace of mind of our staff and anyone else. It’s to empower and support our staff that if anything does happen that makes them feel uncomfortable they have the rules to back them up.

“The post was just very aggressive and not what we are about at all. It invited people to comment that we are some sort of fetish venue but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Afflecks is known as a place that is diverse, open, and welcoming for everyone."

“We are a themed cafe where people can play board games, watch anime, sit and talk, study. We are not like how they are trying to portray us."

The cafe manager added that the venue was a "safe place" for anyone to come and urged people to come visit before making up their own minds.

Vick said: "Half the rules are completely normal and happen everywhere, such as not distracting staff when we’re really busy. We are just wanting to be a safe place for anyone who wants to come.

“The post seemed like an excuse to allow people to make up their own minds about the café before looking into anything that we are about. We’re no different to other themed cafes, like the cat café or gaming cafes that are popular everywhere.

“It’s a community of people who get made fun of a lot as it is which is why the post was sad to see. People who feel left out come here and make friends which is very positive.”

AJ Martyn, General Manager at Afflecks: "Afflecks is proud to be an inclusive space where we welcome all cultures and subcultures.

"The independently owned Animaid Cafe here on the 2nd floor has become a welcoming hub for the anime community and a popular and positive environment for all."

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In a statement to the MEN, Ms Harding said: "I am not lobbying at all for this café to be closed. I am supportive of small independent business, at no point have I suggested I want this establishment to close.

"I am also not about preventing young people from meeting and having fun. I am about the safety of women and girls in Greater Manchester in line with our Gender Based Violence strategy.”

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