Two friends have spoken of their disappointment in the response of staff after they were the target of homophobic slurs at one of Pink’s New Zealand concerts.
Chris Dutton and a friend told Stuff.co.nz they left the concert at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium early last Saturday after two other concertgoers harassed them for being gay.
Dutton said a middle-aged couple who were located behind them “started making these comments about f—–s, ‘Sit down f—–s.'”
“We turned around and said, ‘This is not the place for that,'” he said.
Dutton said he alerted a security officer at the venue on his way to the bathroom but claimed “no action” was taken and the abuse continued.
“At a Pink concert, I thought I could be as gay as I wanted,” the friend said.
The friend warned the couple he would take a photograph of them if they didn’t stop.
Dutton said the man snatched his phone off him and walked away. A security officer the couple notified recovered the phone and told the pair to delete the photo.
He said the security officer initially seemed to “understand what I was saying, that we felt uncomfortable in our seats” and offered to move them to different seats in the venue.
“By the time he came back he said ‘Wouldn’t you just feel more comfortable going back and enjoying the show from your own seats?'” he said.
“[He said] ‘We know you feel unsafe, so we would like to escort you out.'”
The group that manages the stadium, Dunedin Venues, issued an apology to Dutton and his friend for the “unsavoury” behaviour of concertgoers who abused them.
“The staff member who was initially dealing with Mr Dutton was trying to find someone in ticketing to ascertain if there were alternate seats available in which to move the entire party,” a spokesperson told Stuff.
“However this appears not to have been communicated clearly and Mr Dutton and his party left the venue in the meantime.”
The venue offered tickets to an upcoming Shania Twain concert at the venue as a “make-good,” which Dutton appreciated but said he’s unsure if he wants them.
“I would be hesitant to attend another event at a venue where repeated requests for assistance were not taken seriously,” he said.
“My concern is we have artists like this [Pink] coming in for really special events, and for some reason you get people like this who have an axe to grind, and you should have resources on hand to can deal with that.
“I get a little frustrated here in New Zealand because I feel like, in some ways it’s very inclusive but there’s this undercurrent [of homophobia].”
A police spokesperson told Stuff that police “work closely with concert organisers and event security to ensure attendees are safe.”
“We take all complaints seriously and will follow up as appropriate. Similarly, anyone who witnesses concerning behaviour is urged to report it,” they said.
Pink was due to begin the Australian leg of her Beautiful Trauma World Tour in early August, but was forced to postpone several shows on doctor’s orders after suffered a gastric virus.
She performed a string of shows at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Boondall last month.
After the New Zealand leg of the tour this month the singer will return for three Sydney concerts on September 17, 18 and 19.