Wynnum police are investigating the fake, homophobic flyers targeting the new Bay Pride event at Wynnum Fringe this weekend.
Fringe founder Tom Oliver has previously spoken out against a sad and disturbing campaign against the inaugural Pride March and Fair Day-style event this weekend.
In an emotional video, Tom condemned the “defamatory” flyers that used the event’s branding alongside misleading and offensive imagery.
He has since taken the matter to police and appealed to locals who’ve received them to come forward with CCTV footage.
A Queensland Police Service spokesperson said officers are aware of the material.
“Wynnum police are aware of the distribution of fake flyers relating to the Wynnum Fringe and are making further inquiries to identify those responsible,” the spokesperson said.
“The Queensland Police Service treats all instances of discrimination with the utmost seriousness.”
‘It’s now at a point where it’s gone too far’
Tom Oliver said the campaign against the Pride March had failed and the event will “absolutely” go ahead.
“I really didn’t think that [Bay Pride] would bring the controversy that it has. It’s 2023, for goodness sake,” he told ABC Radio.
“It’s now at a point where it’s gone too far. Some locals are receiving this flyer and thinking that it’s coming from us, which is the saddest thing.”
The flyer emerged after two earlier letters appeared in mailboxes, one falsely claiming the family-friendly Bay Pride march was “hypersexualised”. Those flyers were promoting a peaceful protest against it.
“We know of the group that don’t want the Pride March to happen,” Tom explained.
“They came into my office for a respectful debate. We agreed to disagree. There was absolutely no anger or anything wrong with that conversation.”
But then the third flyer appeared in letterboxes. It misrepresented the festival and contained the disturbing material alongside sponsors’ logos, Tom explained.
“I guess you could assume [the same group] are associated with the flyers, but we have no proof at the moment,” Tom said.
“We have asked some locals to send us video footage of their letterboxes and doors. We received some last night and we’re just going through the footage now.”
Opponents have targeted Wynnum Fringe’s sponsors
Tom said he would also pass any video footage to police. He’s also had offers of legal support in the past few days.
He told ABC Radio he was thankful the opponents’ attempts to bully sponsors had also failed.
“They’re all very concerned and disappointed. I spoke to [state MP] Joan Pease and every sponsor on the flyer,” he told ABC Radio.
“But thankfully, every sponsor has [responded with] an outpouring of love and support for the festival.
“I’m thankful that they haven’t listened to these threats and they’re still with us.”
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Wynnum Manly Councillor Sara Whitmee also denounced the flyers.
She said “homophobia has no rightful place” in her community and urged locals to join her at the Pride march.
“Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable, and we stand together against it,” she said.
‘We will all stand together united’
Tom Oliver also urged everyone to come along the Pride March. He said police will be out in force to keep all attendees safe.
“We cannot stand down to bullying. This sort of behavior from this small minority group is not okay,” he said.
“As far as we’re aware, there’s still a peaceful protest that’ll be arranged.
“I think it will reflect worse on the people protesting because they’ll see families and people of all ages gathering to walk peacefully in colorful clothes with some fun music.
“We will all stand together united, and I think that’s a really strong message.”
Bay Pride is on Sunday, November 26. The Pride March starts at Wynnum Jetty at noon, travelling to George Clayton Park. More details at the Wynnum Fringe website.
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