- The Wickham has now stopped all gay [LGBT] weekly events including upstairs.
- QNews has been told a photographer was not used anymore after he was told not to take “gay photos”.
- Some of our mature community are totally offended by photos of Joh Bjelke-Petersen now taking pride of place on the walls of the Wickham. [Some older members of our community have criminal records just for being gay]
- The Wickham only donated $4000 to charities from 2015 BIG GAY DAY ($1000 to each charity and they used FREE CHARITY LABOUR to set up the event) despite that Coles Big Gay Day says nothing has changed. Normal donations from the gate are $23,000+ to charity.
- The Wickham seeks to take money from our community but to date has refused to answer questions if funds from Big Gay Day 2016 will be donated to LGBT charities, as the event was set up to be a suicide prevention charity fundraiser in 2001, as the event always donated to charities before Coles bought The Wickham, and Coles continued to donate a significant amount until 2015.
- The Wickham refuses to distribute LGBT material and magazines.
- PLEASE READ the article and reader comments at the bottom of this page or CLICK HERE for the full article in previous issue of QNews.
HOW YOU RESPONDED TO COLES’ CHARITY DONATIONS FROM BIG GAY DAY 2015
Earlier this month QNews revealed that Big Gay Day, an event heavily promoted as a charity fundraiser, has been accused of misleading patrons about the amount of money it gives to LGBT charities after the charities received a fraction of the money that would normally be donated.
Big Gay Day started in 2001 to raise money for suicide prevention and between 2006 and 2014 charitable donations averaged about $30,000 each year. Last year, only $4000 was given to its nominated charity groups.
A Melbourne-based media manager for Coles, which owns The Wickham, told QNews that “the high running costs of an event featuring international headline artists meant that the hotel actually made a significant loss on the BGD every year.”
“While the 2015 Big Gay Day also recorded a loss, as a goodwill gesture we donated $4000 to our charity partners following the event,” he said.
Former BGD organiser Kyle Hogan said claims the event had never made a profit were “totally false.”
“The last two years that I was involved with made substantial profits … I can’t see how an event that takes in excess of $300,000 (a combination of gate takings and bar purchases) can make a loss,” Mr Hogan said.
QNews has contacted the Wickham about its plans for charity donations following its 2016 Big Gay Day event, but did not receive a response before press time.
QNews was inundated with your responses to the story on social media, including:
Rohan: “Sad story. But not surprising. Maybe this event should be taken elsewhere.”
Sandii: “I find it hard to believe there was no profit made when it was $40 entry & $ 9 for a can of mid strength! Haven’t seen any of these ‘international superstars’ that apparently cost so much either!! Brissy gay scene is dead.”
Daniel: “I hate to say but these days, most of the money collected from fundraisers and charities go to the CEOs, managers and employees of the groups collecting the funds … Its a tax free haven that uses the ‘feel good emotion of giving’ to make people wealthy.”
Jason: “Boycotted it for yrs as it seemed more for profit than its intended purpose… Coles is only wanting the pink dollar… nothing else…”
Caroline: “This is a joke!! Ticket prices go up every year, the wick has completely sold out. Sad times.”
Andrew: “What should we expect from such a greedy player in the duopoly that is strangling Australia.”
Pene: “RIP the Wickham.”
Chris: “All I can say is move this event to a GAY venue but in Brisbane we are limited as we only have the Sporties left. The GLTB scene in Brisbane is dead. I feel sorry for the younger ones that really have nowhere to go like we did to let our hair down and be ourselves and feel comfortable.”
Emma: “I think I haven’t been for over a year to the Wickham, and it never looks busy. Last year’s bgd looked dead but considering the big business that has purchased it; it comes as no surprise if they’re truly shafting the charities they supposedly donate to.”
Jamie: “I won’t be going this year. Big Gay Day has lost its way, big time. Rather than focus on the community, it has become headlining money grabber. BGD used to be a gold coin donation. Makes me very sad after all these years that I won’t be going.”
Nick: “It would be awesome if BGD was at the RNA!”
Jason: “And the Wickham now having art work featuring Sir Joh and other figureheads of that era who discriminated relentlessly against the LGBTI community … they are happy to take our money but hang this sort of art work.”
Dan: “It’s not really a gay venue any more, not like it used to be.”
Dean: “MOVE the event … to a gay owned venue or one willing to support the LGBT community. Wickham has been crap for YEARS.”
Brett: “Been once since they took over & haven’t been back since & never will.”
Terry: “My partner and myself have been once, not likely to go back.”
Danielle: “I won’t go back till the flags do.”