In response to its owners hosting Ted Cruz for dinner, the Out NYC Hotel now has its second big event cancel in protest.
The New York City Gay Men's Chorus was supposed to hold its annual spring garden party fundraiser on Saturday at the Out NYC Hotel, but instead the group canceled rather than support the hotel's owners.
"We wish we could say this was a clear, easy decision. It wasn’t," said a message on the group's website. "We believe in nuanced, complex discussion, and we think that dialogue with your opposition will always lead to positive change in the world. We cannot say who is right and who is wrong, and we hope the debate will continue.
"We can say, however, that we made the decision because we want to be 100% clear in our support for the LGBTQ community. NYCGMC has a 35-year history of campaigning for human rights through our music. Our mission must always come first."
The group said it stands to lose money it paid upfront for the event. But it also noted "an angel has appeared, however, with an offer to match any donation made or ticket not refunded for up to half of what we hoped to make at the event."
The Out NYC Hotel caters to LGBT travelers and events. And yet this is now the second group to steer clear of any affiliation. Earlier this week, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS canceled its Broadway Bares: Solo Strips fundraiser that had been scheduled for May 10. “We cannot in good conscience hold an event at a venue whose owners have alienated our community,” said Broadway Cares executive director Tom Viola in a statement on the organization’s website.
Out NYC Hotel is owned by Parkview Developers, which also owns much of the commercial property at Fire Island Pines, and whose managing partners Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass hosted a reception for Cruz at an apartment they own in Manhattan. The event was first reported by The New York Times, which heard from a source at the intimate "fireside chat" that Cruz had struck a moderate tone and said "If one of my daughters was gay, I would love them just as much."
Although both Reisner and Weiderpass have issued lengthy statements distancing themselves from Cruz, the Texas senator has actually cited them as an example of his "big tent Republican" credentials. Coincidentally, he said as much on the same day that Bloomberg News uncovered the tea party senator's plan to propose a constitutional amendment that guarantees states can ban marriage equality and a law banning federal judges from ruling in marriage cases.
"A conservative Republican who is willing to meet with individuals who do not agree on marriage and who loves his daughters unconditionally may not reflect the caricature of conservatives promoted by the left, but it's hardly newsworthy," Cruz said in a statement to the Washington Examiner. "I know it's been a long time since we've seen it, but this is what it means to truly be a 'big tent Republican' instead of a panderer. I'm happy to go anywhere to anyone to champion conservative values."
Politico notes that this isn't the first anti-marriage equality Republican that Reisner has hosted. He recently touted a campaign fundraiser held at his Manhattan penthouse for Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Reisner said he supported Johnson, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee, because "I don't want to see New Yorkers once again incinerated by Islamic extremists from the Middle East."
A Facebook group has formed calling for a total boycott of Parkview Developers — including the Fire Island Pines and Out NYC Hotel. So far it has more than 7,500 members. And a rally is planned for Monday night outside the hotel, with more than 150 people replied saying they will attend.
Other groups with events planned at Parkview Developers properties are watching what's happening and deciding what's next. The Urban Bear announced its seventh annual Urban Bear dance party that had been scheduled for May 15 at XL Nightclub is "on hold until further notice." The nightclub is part of the Out NYC Hotel complex, which includes KTCHN Restaurant and the 42West events space.
"At this time, we believe this to be the best decision, as numerous members of our community and their families are employed by THE OUT and XL Nightclub, and an impending boycott could adversely affect their livelihoods," wrote Robert Valin, the event's producer, who said he's looking alternate locations.
The only major event still listed on XL's calendar is a drag show starring Bianca Del Rio on May 5 that would benefit AIDS Walk New York. Meanwhile, 42West has three events planned — the Broadway Sings series on May 17, then "Broadway the Hardway" on May 21, and the weekly showing of "The Bachelorette Show."