Doubts have been raised over The Australian‘s claims that physical threats had been made to hotel staff working at the venue where a conference involving the Australian Christian Lobby was scheduled to be held. The Oz reported the threats had been made by those opposing the conference. The hotel has now confirmed the threats were real.

Last week, Mercure’s Facebook page was inundated with complaints from activists about a report from gay news website SameSame that the ACL, along with a few other Christian groups, would be meeting at the Sydney Airport venue this week to discuss same-sex marriage (what else?). Eventually, the ACL moved the event to an undisclosed location today, and The Australian reported that there had been “threats” made to the hotel. This was disputed by organiser Pauline Pantsdown, who said that the Facebook reviews had all been civil.

Given the paper’s long history of getting stories about Safe Schools and same-sex marriage wrong, readers asked us to look into it. But a spokesperson for Mercure Sydney Airport confirmed that there had been threats of physical harm made over the phone.

“The hotel received a number of unwarranted phone calls that were intimidating in nature including physical harm and threats. We have a duty of care to our hotel guests and staff to ensure their safety and security, and we exercise the right to remove an event or guest from our premises if we believe their safety is compromised, and so it was on this basis that the ACL event was cancelled,” the spokesperson said.

We understand Andrew Bolt asked Pantsdown to appear on his Sky News show yesterday, but she declined.

Peter Fray

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