Group Tries to Stop Another Hotel ’Orgy’

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday February 4, 2009

An anti-gay Web-based organization, having succeeded in getting one gay convention canceled last month in Washington, D.C., has now set its sights on pressuring another hotel chain into canceling another such gathering.

Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, which describes itself as a "national organization devoted exclusively to exposing and countering the homosexual activist agenda," posted an item on Feb. 4 warning about a Columbus, Ohio gathering scheduled to take place at a Holiday Inn.

Calling the event "Sexual extremism and consensual sexualized violence," the article urged readers to "stop this from occurring by calling Holiday Inn today!"

A similar campaign in January led to the cancellation of a leather and motorcycle enthusiasts convention at a Washington, D.C. Doubletree Hotel, as previously reported at EDGE.

The posting at the group's Web site claimed that the event, called "Winter Wickedness," would be "a freakish sadomasochistic perversion-fest," and encouraged readers to contact both the hotel and the hotel's corporate offices.

The posting included contact information for each: the Holiday Inn Columbus-Worthington's phone number was listed in the item as 614-436-0700, and the phone number to the corporate offices of Holiday Inn was listed as 770-604-2000.

The posting also provided the Web address of parent entity InterContinental Hotels Group.

"Tell them that is wrong to profit off of degrading and dangerous perversions that could present a health hazard to hotel workers or other guests," read the text at the site.

The posting claimed that the gathering would be a "sadomasochistic celebration" that would offer seminars on the use of melted wax in erotic settings, the use of whips and needles, sexual fantasies, and other topics that the item deemed to be "sexualized violence."

The text quoted a few sentences from a Web page dedicated to the event, which specified what sorts of safety measures would be in force, including the restriction of different forms of consensual erotic "play" to "designated areas only. "

The rules also specified that, "Drop clothes, gloves, condoms, sharps containers, tarps, etc., must be used for this sort of play."

The January 17 EDGE article noted that, "Gay men may be familiar with private hotel parties taking place during such gatherings (whether they admit it not).

"These are usually spread through email and other private communication, and take place in private hotel suites."

However, the Washington., D. C. event, which was billed as a "Pig Sex Orgy," seemingly was understood by Americans for Truth About Homosexuality and other anti-gay groups as scheduled to "take place in one of the hotel's meeting rooms," the article said.

Matt Barber, Liberty Alliance Action's director of cultural affairs, said in a statement about the convention, "It's appalling that the Hilton Doubletree Hotel chain is apparently so beholden to the mighty dollar that it would facilitate--in banquet rooms used by the public--a homosexual orgy boasting some of the most vile sex acts imaginable."

The statement continued, "It's simply inexcusable that the Doubletree would place at risk the health of its staff and future guests by facilitating this orgy in rooms where food is served."

The EDGE item quoted from GLBT blog Pam's House Blend, which railed on the cancellation in a Jan. 17 posting.

Wrote blogger Pam Spaulding, "To say that I am pissed would be an understatement.

"We have a right to privacy and sexual freedom."

Spaulding also reported that the Washington, D.C. hotel had stood fast against efforts to cancel the gathering, but that corporate headquarters had balked and ordered the event to be axed.

Wrote Spaulding, "For two days, the hotel stood firm while the accusations and falsehoods kept coming in.

"Just this morning, I told the management of Doubletree how impressed I was that they resisted the calls to shut us down.

"Unfortunately, the matter escalated to Doubletree Corporate, and the word has come down that they will not allow our event to go on as planned."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.