Thursday, June 30, 2011

SF Pride Threatens Videographer
With Legal Action Over Shooting Tape

(Screen grab of David Wilton's vid, as captured by SF Appeal.)

The overly corporatized parade and party masquerading as SF Pride for the gay community, in recent days has made bullying noises against a gay attorney and videographer, according to a story at the SF Appeal written by Aaron Sanken:

Just a few blocks from the Civic Center SF Pride celebration, the festive atmosphere of Market Street Pink Saturday night was punctured with the sound of gunfire.  ...

Like virtually everything else that happens in these times, a portion of the event was captured on video. David Wilton recorded the shooting's grisly aftermath and posted it on YouTube. Wilton titled the video San Francisco / Civic Center Shooting at Pride 2011 - Sat 6-25-2011, "based on the direction of the people coming and going in the area, the way these people were dressed and the close proximity of the incident to the parade route and the festival," Wilton said.

Shortly after posting the video, Wilton was bluoz reports, contacted by Brooke Oliver, SF Pride's General Counsel, who said the videographer "simply chose to sensationalize your posting by wrongly associating a violent tragedy with the safe and peaceful, SF Pride."
Wilton, Oliver said, had three options:
1. Take down the above referenced video. 2. Replace it with an affirmative public apology to SF Pride for wrongly associating it with violence, and clarifying that the shooting on Market Street had nothing to do with the SF Pride festival, and was blocks away from it;
3. Pay SF Pride $10,000 in damages and costs. Any delay will certainly see this amount increase.
... Instead, Wilton retitled the video with no mention of SF Pride and put in the YouTube description an explanation of everything that had happened up to that point, posting Oliver's letter in its entirety. Embedding was also disabled on the new, reposted video. ...

The SF Pride committee suffered a meltdown after last year's events, leading to the resignation of the executive director and president of the board, over serious financial mismanagement, executive incompetence and confusing communication problems.

Many grassroots activists, myself included, have long viewed the committee as far too concerned with securing corporate sponsorships and currying favors with office-holders or office-seekers, among the troubles afflicting the committee. If there is a grassroots component to the SF Pride events, one that challenges businesses and politicians instead of kissing their butts, I'm not aware of it.

The committee's meltdown has been covered in detail by the Bay Area Reporter, whose work inspired additional reporting in the SF Weekly and the SF Chronicle. Good to see gay and mainstream media outlets serving as watchdogs over the parade committee.

Reading the SF Appeal article today, reminded me of an extravagance on the part of SF Pride reported last week in the Chronicle that raised a few eyebrows:

All the stages and venues will be back, although without the JumboTron. The large-screen attraction was a discretionary $30,000 expense, Hemenger said. ...

Thirty-freaking-thousand dollars for a JumboTron? I can think of lots other ways to better spend that robust five-figure amount. In 2010, all the talk about the JumboTron was how it was used to screen a pre-taped short speech and appearance by Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

From forcing a videographer to censor his tape, to wasting good money on electronic gadgetry to providing a butt-kissing platform to career politicians who need a few kicks in the butt, with an over-emphasis on partying and keeping corporations happy and tapping into the gay marketplace, the organizing committee has proved itself to be SF Profit.

Pride left the parade and stage a long time ago.

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