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Another Event Moves; Gay Hotel Owners Apologize for Ted Cruz Dinner Party

Another Event Moves; Gay Hotel Owners Apologize for Ted Cruz Dinner Party


One of the owners says he was unaware of how virulently Ted Cruz opposes LGBT equality before hosting the dinner at his home.

The owners of the Out NYC Hotel are back on social media issuing apologies for their Ted Cruz dinner party. But meanwhile a third major event has moved.

A pep rally for AIDS Walk NYC was supposed to be hosted on May 5 at XL Nightclub, which is part of the hotel's complex, but host Bianca Del Rio confirmed on social media Sunday it has been moved to Stage 48.

Organizers of the boycott against the hotel's gay owners, who hosted a dinner reception for Ted Cruz, said the event is the third to be moved "in solidarity with the LGBT community."

The New York City Gay Men's Chorus, and Broadway Bares Solo Strips, had both already canceled their events, with the Urban Bear annual dance party saying its plans for May are on hold while it searches for another venue.

The two gay businessmen who caused the spreading outrage -- Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass -- are the owners of Parkview Developers, which is also a major backer of the Fire Island Pines commercial district. That group of businesses has also become the focus of boycott efforts, and the Pines' P.J. McAteer posted a letter on Saturday distancing his business from their chief investor.

"Ian Reisner, one of my investors, is not part of any of our day-to-day business operations, not the owner on-island, rolling up his sleeves, training an expanded staff to prepare for, and ultimately -- and caringly -- serve the Pines community," wrote McAteer. "On the flip side, I am not involved in, or consulted about, Ian's outside-the-partnership activities and associations. I was as surprised to hear of the Senator Cruz issue as everyone else."

Reisner now says that hosting the dinner with Cruz at his home was "poor judgment" and "I'm sorry." He claims to have been unaware of the Texas senator's extreme record on marriage equality -- which got Cruz named "Phobie of the Year" by The Advocate in 2014.

"I made a bad mistake," Reisner wrote on Facebook, adding to a previous statement last week that did nothing to stop the spreading boycott. "I was ignorant, naive and much too quick in accepting a request to co-host a dinner with Cruz at our home without taking the time to learn his positions. I've spent the past 24 hours reviewing videos of Cruz' statements on gay marriage and I am angry and shocked. I deeply apologize for hurting the gay community and so many of our friends, family, allies, customers and employees. I will try my best to make up for my poor judgement. I'm sorry."

Meanwhile, a protest is planned for today outside the hotel, with more than 250 replying on Facebook that they plan to attend. The Facebook group that has fired up the boycott is also holding a poll of its members, asking what the outcome of their efforts should be. Options include $1 million in donations to charity, and a full-page ad in The New York Times denouncing Cruz as a presidential candidate. It was that newspaper which first reported the hoteliers "fireside chat" with Cruz, who was touted in the article for having struck a more moderate tone when talking with the gay owners of businesses catering to LGBT clientele and events. Cruz reportedly said he'd still love his daughter if she came out as a lesbian.

It's unclear whether the event helped raise any money, even indirectly, for Cruz. The Timesreports it was not a fundraiser, though Politicoreports Cruz described the dinner during an appearance in Iowa this weekend as a pro-Israel fundraiser. Even without paying a ticket price to attend, dinner with Cruz is a reward that can be worth big money, sometimes requiring bundlers to pool $500,000 worth of donations before getting that level of access.

Regardless, Cruz has used the dinner and its gay hosts to tout his credentials as a "big tent Republican" who will meet with anyone to talk conservative principles. He said as much in a lengthy statement to the Washington Examiner and repeated the idea during the Iowa visit with voters, according to Politico.

The other developer at the center of the backlash, Mati Weiderpass -- the one who posted a smiling photo together with Cruz after the event -- added a new apology on Sunday to his own statement from last week.

"I share in Ian's remorse," he wrote. "I, too, lay humbled with what has happened in the last week. I made a terrible mistake. Unfortunately, I cannot undo this. You taught me a painful but important lesson. The people that know me know that work that I have done over the last 20 years for the advancement of gay rights. Today, I came to realize that I might have nullified my past efforts and accomplishments in just one week. On the eve of this momentous legal occasion at the Supreme Court, I dedicate myself to work even harder to advance our cause that I share with the LGBT community; our community. Again, to all that I have hurt, please accept my sincerest apologies."

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