WorldPride London Scales Back
After weeks of controversy and public criticism, Pride London's chairman has resigned following the news that this weekend's WorldPride event has been drastically scaled down. WorldPride was first held in Rome in 2000 and the next one will be in Toronto in 2014. Lack of corporate sponsors appears to be one of the main causes of the collapse of London's event.
“Dr Williams resigned from his position following criticism of the Board’s handing of World Pride 2012. The rest of the Board remains unchanged and committed to delivering an event London can be Proud of. As previously confirmed this will be a scaled-down event from the original plans.” WorldPride has been reduced to a walking parade, starting at 11am instead of 1pm this Saturday. With just over a week until the event, it was announced that floats and vehicles would not be allowed to take part in the procession. As well as the earlier start time, the celebrations in Trafalgar Square will end at 6pm and no official Pride events will go ahead in the Soho area. A last-minute attempt with financial support from Gaydar and Smirnoff, owned by Diageo, to save abandoned elements of the day was made but proved unsuccessful.Today Pride London posted an apology on their website.
Pride London deeply regrets the situation and we offer our sincerest apologies to the community, our sponsors and partners for the position we have found ourselves in. We understand the confusion and chaos that this must have caused for many people. We understand that the changes are last minute and people from all over the country and world will be affected by this in their plans to be part of the event. We share in your frustrations, but we hope that the community will understand the facts and the reasons why we have had to move to this position. There will be more detail on this shortly.Earlier today the office of London Mayor Boris Johnson confirmed that he will not attend the reduced event, which some organizers now consider "unsalvageable." British LGBT rights activist Peter Tatchell says the mayor should attend anyway.
"Boris’s non-attendance at this year’s WorldPride is symptomatic of a wider problem, an apparent unwillingness to consult and negotiate with London’s LGBT organisations and businesses to rescue WorldPride. Regardless of what Pride London has done, the mayor has an obligation to listen to the concerns of LGBT community organisations. He has failed to do so.”JMG tipster Todd writes to wonder what may happen if huge crowds of people appear in the expected celebration areas where most streets will now be open as on any normal weekend. London's public safety agencies have issued warnings that all streets must be cleared on the greatly reduced timetable as London Pride does not have the licensing to permit large crowds to gather. By comparison, NYC Pride ensures crowd safety with the closure of more than a dozen West Village blocks.