EXCLUSIVE: Why we used Ian Thorpe to promote our gay nightThe club promoters behind gay dance night 'Closet' have found themselves in hot water over their latest promotional posters. The night, which frequently uses celebrities like Kristen Stewart, Tom Cruise, Hugh Jackman and Oprah, on their promotional material came under fire for picking up a picture of Ian Thorpe. In the image, Thorpe is in evening wear, and the word 'Closet' is slapped above the swimmer's head. The anger over Thorpe's use in the poster comes from within the queer community, with David McCarthy of Joy telling Farifax's 3AW this morning:
"They (The Promoters) don't realise the impact that this can have on young gay and lesbians that are wanting to come out," "This sort of stuff is just a gutless attack and they are just trying to generate some publicity which unfortunately that's what they are doing. I think they should be ashamed of themselves." The promoters have told TheVine.com.au exclusively that people are now asking if they fear a defamation lawsuit. The answer was no, they do not.
CLOSET have made the following statement to TheVine, which they will be posting on their Facebook page shortly: "CLOSET is billed as a night for homosexuals and those who love them. In other words, we create a place where people can come and enjoy themselves regardless of their sexuality – and we welcome Tom, Hugh, Oprah, Kristen, Ian, Joy FM staff and even Neil Mitchell if he feels so inclined.
Hundreds of young LGBT people in Melbourne and Sydney come to our parties, and have a great time. We're sorry if certain radio presenters aren't among them or have no sense of humour, but perhaps they should attend one of our parties before slagging them off on talkback radio.
Our posters are nothing more than a lightly tongue-in-cheek homage to celebrities much loved (and occasionally talked about) by the gay community. We're not claiming to know what goes on between the sheets of any celebrity – gay, straight, out or closeted. (Unless we've slept with them). We leave prying into the private lives of famous people to the media. We don't judge the decision to be out, or be closeted. That's a personal choice, and one that we hope is becoming easier.
If a celebrity isn't gay, but they are a gay icon – who cares? Wear it like Madonna, and be flattered by your same-sex admirers.
If a celebrity – or indeed anyone – happens to be any of the colours of the LGBTIQ rainbow, we hope they are proud of who they are, and we think it is a shame if anyone anywhere still feels being gay (or lesbian, bi, queer, trans or intersex) is something to be ashamed of.
We don't. We think being gay is, well, rather fabulous. And that's what CLOSET is all about."
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