LONDON, July 22, 2008 – There was
further intrigue in the ongoing saga over the ‘So Gay’ poster campaign on
two London Underground stations that the South Carolina Parks Recreation and
Tourism (SCPRT) Department has been involved in during the past two weeks,
it emerged this evening.
And there is considerable doubt
over some statements that were made last week in South Carolina.
Out Now, the agency
that created the ‘So Gay’ advertising campaign for gay travel specialist,
Amro Worldwide, there have been incorrect statements made by the office
headed by Chad Prosser of the SCPRT.
“The employee forced to resign is
by no means a ‘low level’ employee, as was very widely reported last week by
official SCPRT spokespeople,” said Ian Johnson, chief executive officer of
“That person who approved the ‘So
Gay’ advertising campaign, and was later forced to resign by SCPRT, is the
International Sales Manager, responsible for the UK a person with more than
a decade of management experience and an immense amount of respect within
the global tourism marketing community,” Mr. Johnson revealed.
[While Mr. Johnson declined to name the employee, Q-Notes tonight names him as Randolph Romaine, an international sales
manager responsible for the U.K. market and others, “a
class three economic development manager according to other state documents”,
according to Q-Notes.]
“To hear reports that a ‘low level’
employee resigned gives the public the wrong impression that this campaign
did not get approved by proper decision making channels,” he added.
“That is not the case. The correct
decision maker made a business decision to proceed with the campaign. There
is no way this person can be described as ‘low level’.
“At all times everyone involved in
the process – Out Now, Amro Worldwide, the SCPRT London reps and the
International Sales Manager at SCPRT made decisions based on what is best
for increasing revenues for the South Carolina tourism industry.
“What changed two weeks ago is that
politicians decided to involve themselves, and it was then that a
resignation was forced with the ‘official’ reports emanating from the office
headed by Chad Prosser being that this employee was a ‘low level’ one,” he
According to the chief executive of
Amro Worldwide, Andrew Roberts, his company have been paid in full for the
campaign. Last week, both politicians and official in the State capital
Columbia publicly said that the bill of just under $5,000 would not be paid.
“Amro Worldwide has received full
payment from the London representatives of SCPRT, a company called Travel
and Tourism Marketing – TTM World – who have acted in the utmost good faith
at every stage in the advertising approval process,” said Mr. Roberts.
“Amro Worldwide is currently
considering reimbursing TTM World for their loss, but we think it quite
disgraceful that an official State government body would behave in this
“Not paying representatives and
forcing a senior manager to resign seems out of all proportion with our
simple but effective gay travel marketing campaign.
“On top of all that, it saddens me
that the hard working folk in the SC tourism industry, who this campaign was
designed to help, look set to suffer loss for years to come due to the
homophobic reaction of their elected representatives,” Mr. Roberts added.
Mr. Johnson said the saga looked
like “a clear case of political interference, pure and simple.
“In an election year, in a ‘red’
[Republican] State, you have politicians thinking there might be a few votes
in a bit of gay bashing.
“Not a good look for the majority
of South Carolinians who, judging from the many supportive messages received
by both Out Now and Amro Worldwide, are appalled by the conduct of their
Last week, the organisers of South
Carolina Gay Pride launched a fundraising campaign to raise the $5,000 that
the State is refusing to pay as, according to Ray Wilson “the ‘word’ of
South Carolina can’t be trusted – we believe it is the right thing to do, to
repay this debt.”
In five days, the appeal has raised
just over $1,000.
The fundraising will continue, said
Pride spokesperson Ryan Wilson. “The London representative of SCPRT has
paid Amro, but the State Treasurer’s Office has not paid Travel and Tourism
Marketing – TTM World,” he pointed out.
‘Knowingly Incorrect Info’ From S.C.
Officials, Say Brit ‘So Gay’ Ad Execs.
Pursuing a deal to advertise South Carolina
as “so gay,” tourism officials in the state hosted a visit to showcase
gay-friendly hotels, bars, and beaches, two European executives told
Q-Notes. (Q-Notes, July 22, 2008)
Carolina ‘Will Be So Gay’ Campaign Launched Today. The Board
of the South Carolina Pride Movement has decided to raise the $5,000
necessary to pay the debt owed by the state for the “South Carolina is so
gay” ads created for London Gay Pride Week. (UK Gay News,
July 17, 2008)
S.C. Governor Demands Personnel and Procedure Changes in Tourism Fracas.
By Gareth Fenley. When South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford learned
that his state was being advertised as a gay tourism destination, he
ordered a Cabinet-level department head “to do the right thing
personnel-wise or process-wise to ensure this does not happen again,”
Sanford’s spokesman Joel Sawyer told Q-Notes. (Q-Notes,
July 17, 2008)
Sanford Is So Stupid.
What the hell happened and how’d it happen so fast? One minute,
South Carolina’s going about its “Dixie”-whistling ways and the next
it’s busting out with Barbara Streisand show tunes and musicals. Then,
out of no where, the politicians take over and the Pink Palmetto is
slammed back in the closet. (Q-Notes, July 17, 2008)
Advertising Campaign in London Upsets South Carolina Politicians.
American politicians overseeing the body responsible for South Carolina
tourism have come down against an advertising campaign currently running in
the UK directed towards lesbian and gay travellers. (UK Gay News, July
Ad Campaign on London Underground Breaks Down Sting of
‘So Gay’ As Insult. A new travel
company poster campaign launched today in London’s Underground network is
set to smash through the supposed insult value of “so gay”, by reclaiming
the term as part of an advertising slogan.
(UK Gay News, June 27, 2008)
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Licence.
Posted: 22 July 2008 at
22:30 (UK time)