The organisers of Wynnum Fringe are seeking legal advice after protesters distributed homophobic flyers to letterboxes opposing the festival’s new Bay Pride event.
The fourth annual Wynnum Fringe Festival is on now, with a lineup of arts and cultural events half an hour from Brisbane.
The Wynnum and Manly festival’s second week this week has a “Pride” theme. The inaugural LGBTQIA+ celebration Bay Pride is this Sunday (November 26).
The colourful Bay Pride March will travel from the Wynnum Jetty to George Clayton Park from noon.
That afternoon, Bay Pride is taking over the park, with stalls, markets and free entertainment all day on the Outdoor Stage.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under stars Gabriella Labucci, Faux Fur and Ivory Glaze are all performing.
‘We’re seeking legal advice’
However, a “small minority” of locals have targeted the event, demanding its cancellation. They’ve contacted sponsors and distributed flyers in an unsuccessful bid to sink the event.
Now Wynnum Fringe founder Tom Oliver has slammed a new low in the attacks in a video on social media.
Tom said he is seeking legal advice over the “defamatory” new flyer put in Wynnum and Manly mailboxes.
“There’s a small minority of people that don’t want week two to happen, that’s Pride,” Tom explained.
“Specifically, our family-friendly walk that’s happening at midday on Sunday from Wynnum Jetty to the Wynnum Fringe garden.”
Tom said he was aware protesters had distributed two earlier letters. Those letters made false claims about the march and promoted a planned peaceful protest against it.
“Now I’ve been informed of a third [flyer]. It’s defamatory, it’s misinformed and I’d just like you to know that this hasn’t been created by us,” he said.
The fake flyers use an unauthorised reproduction of Wynnum Fringe’s artwork and performers. But the disturbing flyers contain misinformation and vile claims falsely suggesting the family-friendly event is adults-only and dangerous to children.
“We will be seeking legal advice and I’d like to understand who made this and put this in letterboxes,” Tom said.
View this post on Instagram
Wynnum Fringe founder Tom Oliver appeals for CCTV
Tom Oliver urged local residents who have received the material to come forward with any CCTV footage.
“Help us find who this person is,” he said.
“I’d also strongly encourage everyone to come down to Wynnum Fringe, especially on Sunday.
“Support these incredible artists who put their lives and stories on the line every time they perform. It’s such a vulnerable thing to get up in front of people and be yourself.
“The fact that there’s a small minority trying to shut down this down is just the saddest thing. We cannot stand down to bullying and this is not okay.”
Supporters flooded Tom’s post with support. A number of local councillors and politicians also condemned the material and backed Bay Pride.
State MP Joan Pease, who’s named on the fake flyers with other sponsors, denounced them on Facebook and supported Tom, Wynnum Fringe and Bay Pride.
“The flyers are incredibly misleading, incite hate, and in actual fact are a complete lie,” she said.
Fringe headliner Rhonda Burchmore also spoke out against the backlash.
“This is so wrong… it makes me so upset that @wynnumfringe trying so hard to create an incredible event and these hideous people go out of their way to spoil it,” she wrote on Instagram.
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