It’s an impressive example of the impact that the LGBT community can have on discriminatory businesses. Joburg’s Craft Beer, Food and Wine Fair has announced that it will change venues after it was alerted that its original location, Oakfield Farm, is anti-gay.
Located in Muldersdrift, Oakfield Farm was thrust into the spotlight in February after it refused to allow Sean Hydes and his boyfriend of two years to hold their wedding on its premises.
The venue had previously refused to assist another same-sex couple last year. Owner Matthew Stubbs cited his Christian beliefs as the reason for refusing to provide his services to loving gay and lesbian couples.
Johannesburg marketing specialist and CliffCentral presenter Brent Lindeque was one of the drivers of the campaign against the fair hosting its event at Oakfield.
In a post on Facebook, Lindeque wrote: “Here’s the thing Oakfield… what you did sucks. People took the time to choose you as their venue & you reciprocated with a big fat no, just because of who they are. Thats just kak & kak decisions like that have consequences… big, fat, gay-supporting consequences.
“So I’m pledging to do the same. I’m giving you a NO… I won’t be supporting your craft day or your open day or whatever other shindig you put together, to show how cool your venue is, because you’re actually not cool. You, the venue, the person pulling the strings at the venue are just bigots & I don’t keep that kind of company,” he said.
After it received numerous complaints about the venue’s anti-gay policy, the Craft Beer, Food and Wine Fair announced on Wednesday that it has decided to move its July 11 event elsewhere.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank the people who engaged on our Facebook page bringing this matter to our attention. We hear you,” said the fair.
“It was only after we had secured the venue, that we discovered the issue with same-sex marriages. We, as event organisers, are 100% independent from any venue and have no reservations with regards to sexual orientation, race, gender, creed or age. We believe in love, unity, equality and mutual respect.”
The fair added: “We would like nothing more than to make everyone feel completely welcome and therefore we have decided to move our event from Oakfield Farm. We are excited to announce that we have found a stunning new venue to host the Fair.”
Lindeque described the announcement as “absolutely amazing news.” He thanked the fair “for not supporting a venue that openly chooses discrimination.” Lindeque also called on “each & every one of you to support & share their event…”
Details about the Craft Beer, Food and Wine Fair can be found here. We too urge you to support the event, just as it’s supported our community.