MRAs seem to think that they can spin their way out of pretty much anything. And on the internet, particularly in their own little echo chamber, they can kind of get away with it. It’s when they venture out into the real world that they run into some trouble.
Take, for example, the mad spinning that accompanied the implosion of the Canadian Association for Equality’s “E Day” concert scheduled for last weekend. CAFE, you may recall, is a Canadian Men’s Rights group that’s probably most famous for organizing a series of talks by Men’s Rights-friendly folks on Canadian campuses that, well, caused a tiny bit of a stir.
Oh, sorry. The group says that even though its “focus is currently on men and boys … [W]e do not consider ourselves a Men’s Rights Group.”
Anyway, so this non-Men’s Rights group decided to hold a concert on Toronto Island celebrating “Equality Day,” a holiday they made up just for the occasion. They found a venue, got some sponsors and even managed to convince a bunch of bands to sign on.
Everything was ready to go until a few days before the concert was scheduled to happen, when some of the people who had been roped into the event discovered just what they had gotten themselves involved with.
A headline from the Huffington Post sums up what happened next with admirable succinctness:
The exodus from E-Day kicked off after a post appeared on the lefty Canadian news site Rabble.ca pointing out what CAFE was really about. Musicians and sponsors quickly distanced themselves from the event, and CAFE lost its venue as well.
CAFE’s response to all this? A press release stating:
CAFE received overwhelming support from musicians, sponsors and the general public for Equality Day. After several months of productive collaboration, the original venue Artscape Gibralter-Point cancelled the use of their location after receiving a small number of misinformed complaints.
That’s a rather … odd way to describe what happened. According to a good number of those who had originally signed on for the concert, it was CAFE that was actively spreading misinformation about their own event and hiding its Men’s Rights agenda.
The musical group Giraffe posted a statement on Facebook saying:
We feel that we were not fully informed about what it was that is being supported here, and also that calling it a festival that celebrates “equality” as opposed to “men’s equality” was intentionally misleading to us in it’s effort to entice us to play this show.
Hogtown Brewers, one of the sponsors, offered a similar explanation for why they pulled out. “We’re kinda surprised that an event that built itself on being for equality turned out to be anything but that,” the president of the company told the The Star. “The minute that it came to our attention that it wasn’t a concert in line with our values, we moved to remove our support. We regret any involvement.”
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Artscape, the venue that was to have originally held the event, told The Globe and Mail that
[t]he premise of the event as it was given to us was a fair and equitable event that was family-friendly and a lovely music festival. It has since turned political and we anticipated that there could be health and safety concerns as well.
Perhaps the most amazing revelation: Jagermeister, which had been listed as a sponsor on CAFE’s publicity materials, said it had never agreed to be part of the event in the first place:
Thanks @amirightfolks for bringing this to our attention. We did not approve a sponsorship to this festival nor approve the use of our logo.
— Jägermeister Canada (@jagermeisterCA) May 30, 2014
CAFE’s creative, er, spinning continued in an interview the group’s outreach director Denise Fong gave to NowToronto. I’m not even going to summarize this one. Go read it.
A scaled down E-Day celebration of sorts did go ahead last weekend. It consisted of some CAFE volunteers standing on a corner handing out pamphlets and talking to passersby about their support of “boys, men and families.” (That’s a strangely limited notion of equality, huh?)
In their press release last week, CAFE announced that
Equality Day musical activities will be postponed to next Sunday, June 8. Details to be announced.
So far no details have been announced. But, hey, they’ve still got a couple of days to go.
On a totally unrelated note, I will be holding “E-Kwalitee Day” in my apartment sometime this afternoon. I am proud to announce that I have managed to book some outstanding musical acts for this extravaganza. They don’t know it yet, but I have written their names down in my appointment book.
Here’s the headliner:
I support kittens, cats and families. Ask me why!