The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras turned down a meeting with adult entertainment Sexpo to discuss a potential partnership, it has been revealed.
As reported in The Sydney Morning Herald, Mardi Gras’ then head of partnerships David Harris declined the offer to meet, citing a desire to keep the festival “family oriented”.
“Whilst Mardi Gras is of course a huge expression of gender and sexual identity, we are also a family oriented festival that focuses on social justice issues that affect LGBTQI people of all ages,” he said in an email.
“We don’t partner with the adult entertainment industry.”
The festival’s brand partners this year include principal partner ANZ bank, L’Oreal, Qantas, Salesforce, Woolworths, Myer, Amazon.com.au, Vodafone, Facebook, Google, Yak Brewing, SYD Sydney’s Airport, W Hotels Worldwide, The Star, and Gilead.
According to Harris, these partnerships are “largely based around diversity and inclusion programs that companies have to further workplace protections for LGBTQI communities”.
However, the high number of brand partners have drawn criticism towards the festival, with some labelling it “too corporate“.
Sexpo owner Kevin Mack commented on Mardi Gras’ decision.
“While Mardi Gras does have a family-inclusive element, it is extremely heavily linked into a sexual world … far more beyond anything that would happen at Sexpo,” he said.
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