The Midsumma Festival has decided to end its sponsorship deal with News Corp, bowing to community pressure. The Victorian community group for people interested in leather fetishism was one of two organisations to pull out of the Midsumma Carnival over the sponsorship deal. As reported in Crikey, the festival, which celebrates the queer community in Melbourne, consulted with members over the sponsorship deal, but it had, until this morning, decided to maintain the partnership. News Corp was a “gold sponsor” of the month-long festival, but after months of sustained attacks on the Safe Schools program and columnists writing about the “rainbow agenda”, some in the LGBTIQ community thought the festival shouldn’t accept money from Rupert Murdoch’s Australian media company. VicLeather sent a newsletter to its members yesterday saying that the group would not be holding a stall at the Midsumma Carnival. “After the way News Corp publications have attacked the Safe Schools program and other parts of the LGBTQIA+ Community in articles and commentary in the Herald Sun and other Leader publications, the standing Committee does not believe that we should be contributing money to Midsumma for 2017,” the newsletter read.
The group will march in the annual Pride March, though, which is also part of the Midsumma festival. “We are proud to wear our Leather, We are proud to create safe space for our leather community members to march with us, as Pride March is a celebration and is a political act in and of itself.”
Judging by the way cartoonist Bill Leak has illustrated his cartoons about the Safe Schools program, it is not surprising that VicLeather has decided the sponsorship isn’t for them.