The Joburg Pride board has issued a statement clarifying its role in the upcoming visit of international star RuPaul to South African during Pride week.
The drag star will be appearing at two screenings of her new film Starrbooty in Joburg and Pretoria as part of the Cinema Nouveau Pride Film Festival as well as performing live at the Therapy Pride after party on October 4.
The board said that the visit is a joint venture between Ster Kinekor’s Cinema Nouveau art-house brand and Therapy and was not initiated or arranged by Joburg Pride.
“Joburg Pride has a separate partnership with Ster Kinekor which has resulted in Pride being named as the beneficiary of the ticket sales from the film festival’s opening nights, however this was agreed to long before RuPaul came into the picture,” said Pride Joint Chair Tanya Harford.
It is believed that the statement was issued following claims that the board was supporting Therapy’s after-party over other club’s Pride events as the tickets to the premieres include free entrance to the Therapy party.
“While [RuPaul’s] presence at the opening nights may boost sales, which is clearly to the benefit of Pride… the festival is presented by Ster Kinekor and they can choose to add whatever benefits they like to the ticket price, whether it be access to parties, free popcorn or anything else.”
Harford added that Joburg Pride was extremely proud of its relationship with Ster Kinekor and that the organisation appreciated the support shown by Ster Kinekor to the LGBT community.
“The fact that a Joburg Pride board member is also the co-owner of Therapy is irrelevant, and we do not believe that his role within Pride advantaged him or had any influence on the deal negotiated between Therapy and Ster Kinekor,” says Harford.
“We have absolutely nothing to do with private arrangements made between Ster Kinekor and Therapy or any other local nightclub.”
Harford also confirmed that Joburg Pride does not endorse any Pride after party, that there is no “official” after party and that all nightclubs are free to include their individual Pride events in the fringe events schedule of the Pride guide and Pride website.