Two gay men claim they were singled out for kissing at a Charlottetown bar, but one of the owners says it's all a misunderstanding.
The two men say they were on the dance floor of Jack Cameron's Nightclub and Eatery on Friday night when they kissed. They say co-owner Gordie Cameron pulled them aside and told them to stop.
The men, who asked to remain anonymous, say they were told the bar has a new policy against kissing on the dance floor, but other straight couples were kissing and weren't told to stop.
"Targeting one gay couple and no straight couple puts a bad image on him. It's just sad to see that on Prince Edward Island. We have a larger population of homophobic people," one of the men said. CBC News agreed not to name him.
The men posted their story on Facebook. It wasn't long before hundreds of posts appeared on the bar's Facebook page and some personal pages, accusing the bar and Cameron of being homophobic and discriminatory.
A news item in Charlottetown's Guardian goes into more detail. The incident went viral across Facebook and Twitter--I saw myself that the official Facebook page, before it was deactivated, was filled with Islanders who were complaining about the action. A googling for the bar/restaurant reveals that this incident is closely linked to Jack Cameron's now, as evidenced by the way it took over a discussion thread at PEIInfo about the place.
Interviewed by Xtra!'s Niko Bell, Cameron claims that he was trying to enforce an orientation-neutral policy. Others reached by Bell seem to think that any bias on the owner's part was relatively minor and not likely to be repeated.
Cameron, who took over managing the bar two months ago, sounded tired and a little defeated when he took Xtra’s call Dec 11.
“I’m the farthest person from homophobic,” he says. “I’m the most open-minded person in the world.”
"They were hardcore going at 'er in the middle of the dancefloor," says manager Gordie Cameron. "You're not allowed to do that, no matter what gender you are." Cameron says he is just trying to clean up the reputation of his nightclub, which means stopping excessive displays of affection from gay and straight people alike.
Jack Cameron’s, which used to be the Velvet Underground, was once nicknamed “the Dirty,” one of Charlottetown’s sleaziest dives. Cameron says that everyone has to adjust to his new rules, and Jay just took the comments the wrong way.
“They were hardcore going at ’er in the middle of the dancefloor. Necking, you know,” he says. “You’re not allowed to do that, no matter what gender you are.”
Amy MacQuarrie, a member of PEI’s gay community, was at Jack Cameron’s and saw the event take place. She says she thought Cameron acted sensibly and professionally. “He quietly took them aside and told them to knock it off,” she says.
MacQuarrie says that there were straight men giving Jay and his boyfriend “some nasty-looking looks” and that Cameron’s actions made things safer for everyone.
However, there were plenty of heterosexual couples kissing similarly without repercussions, she notes.
People with closer connections to the Island than me, thoughts?