Pulling down pride flag not homophobic - OUSA

OUSA said the behaviour of the man who removed the rainbow flag during the event at Starters Bar...
OUSA said the behaviour of the man who removed the rainbow flag during the event at Starters Bar did not appear to be homophobic. Photo: ODT files
A drunk man tore down a pride flag and others hurled abuse at performers during a queer event at a Dunedin student bar on Saturday night.

The Otago University Students Association (OUSA) says the behaviour of the man who removed the rainbow flag during the event at Starters Bar did not appear to be homophobic, but acknowledged "a few poorly behaved individuals'' had ruined the experience for some.

It is understood 20 to 30 men, some drunk and belligerent, spilled into the Queen of Hearts event at the OUSA-owned bar.

Headlined by transgender rapper Randa, the event was billed as an inclusive and queer-friendly night.

A source said some of the men screamed and hurled abuse at performers, including comments about "hating gays,'' while one man tore down and tried to steal a rainbow pride flag.

Events manager Jason Schroeder  said in his statement the event was created in collaboration with OUSA Queer Support and Radio One 91fm to provide an inclusive and safe space for all students, and bar staff and security were trained by the Queer Support co-ordinator before the event.

"The footage of the evening has been reviewed and it is clear that the attendee who pulled down the flag did not do so in an aggressive or malicious manner.''

Security removed the man who tore down the flag and discussed the incident with the OUSA Queer Rep, he said.

Queer support co-ordinator Kelli Anne  said the person who pulled the flag down was clearly intoxicated but his behaviour did not appear to be driven by homophobia.

"Throughout the event, there were security who were making rounds, and were quick to address events going on, including people making others uncomfortable.

"Any troublesome individuals were immediately escorted out of the event and patrons asked if they were okay.''

OUSA president James Heath also referred all questions to marketing and communications manager Ingrid Roding.

Ms Roding said inappropriate behaviour was responded to promptly by security, who debriefed with OUSA queer support staff.

"The overwhelming response from attendees we spoke to on the night and post event has been positive.

"It is a shame that a few poorly behaved individuals ruined the experience for some.''

Randa did not respond to requests for comment,  but Ms Roding said event crew spoke to the artist at the end of the night.

"They had a great time and enjoyed the event and crowd and said that they would love to come back.''

Comments

Does it really matter if the flag wasn't pulled down in an act of homophobia?

Surely the fact that there were people screaming homophobic abuse is the real issue here. Dunedin needs to grow up.

Fly the new Zealand flag / gay or strait we should support the new Zealand flag/

 

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