The two faces of Eventbrite

October 17, 2017

Eventbrite is an organisation familiar to many of us.  They facilitate the online ticketing of events.

On September 28 2017 I wrote this letter to Eventbrite, outlining a concern of mine:

Dear Eventbrite,

With reference to your Community Guidelines:

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Hateful/Dangerous Content and Organisations

• Eventbrite does not tolerate content or organisations that promote or encourage hate, violence, or harassment towards others and/or oneself. Specifically, content or organisations that promote hate towards or the harassment of individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity will not be permitted on our site.
====

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), a prominent anti-LGBTIQ organisation that is heading the No campaign against same-sex marriage in Australia at the moment, and is using Eventbrite for two of its events:

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/tickets-external?eid=36709287467&ref=etckt https://www.eventbrite.com.au/tickets-external?eid=36708397806&ref=etckt

It concerns me that they are in breach of your Community Guidelines on account of them using your platform to promote their anti-LGBTIQ agenda.

For example, refer to this 2016 article about the Managing Director of the ACL, Lyle Shelton:

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2016/australian-christian-lobby-likens-gay-marriage-and-safe-schools-to-unthinkable-nazi-atrocities-20160531-gp8ff2.html

Sincerely,
Michael Barnett.
Melbourne, Australia

I received this response from Eventbrite on Oct 6:

Hello Michael,

I’m reaching out on behalf of the Eventbrite Trust and Safety team to follow up with you regarding the event listing you reported to us.

At Eventbrite, we believe in everyone’s fundamental right to free speech and assembly even though we may not agree with all views and opinions expressed on our platform. Diverse thoughts are not only essential to our vibrant community, but vital to our mission. We want to offer an open opportunity for anyone to gather for their chosen purpose, but we do not promote nor intend to profit from events that support harmful behaviors, including direct and indirect threats of violence, promotion of terrorism, targeted harassment/bullying, unjust or prejudicial treatment of a category of people, promotion of self-harm, and sexual exploitation. These behaviors and more are not welcome on our platform and we have a team dedicated to removing event listings that violate our Terms of Use and Community Guidelines.

We carefully reviewed the National Conference listing in question and, although this organization has views many do not agree with, this event listing abides by our Terms of Use and Community Guidelines today.

Best,

Matthew
Eventbrite Trust and Safety

I sent this response the same day:

Hi Matthew,

Thank you for your response.

While I agree that the ACL has a right to gather, there seems to be a disconnect between your standards and your actions.

The ACL does not directly encourage violence. However, even a cursory review of their material that they have produced for the “No” campaign would show hatred towards the LGBTI community and it certainly amounts to harassment.

With the LGBTI community suffering greatly under the current political climate we have heard of increases in demands for mental health services and we have been subjected to an unjust treatment, primarily driven by the ACL.

Your continued support of their event is indeed regrettable and Eventbrite is contributing to the negative impact of the mental health of those that it seeks to protect.

I urge you to review this decision in light of my comments above.

Regards,
Michael.

I will post an update if I receive a response to the above email.

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Hilton Sydney should donate the proceeds from hosting the ACL conference dinner to the Yes campaign

October 11, 2017

Hilton Hotel & Resorts has made a commitment to the LGBT community:

At Hilton, we are proud to support the LGBT community as a way to further the Hilton brand promise of ensuring that every guest feels cared for, valued and respected.

On November 17 2017 Hilton Sydney will be hosting the Australian Christian Lobby’s Embolden Conference:

ACL 2017 Embolden Conference

The Australian Christian Lobby is committed to eroding the rights of LGBTIQ Australians.  They are actively campaigning against marriage equality, Safe Schools, and the dignity, respect and inclusion of every same-sex attracted, intersex, and gender diverse Australian.

In short, the ACL are a hate group that considers homosexuality immoral and does not believe same-sex couples should be parents.

It is unclear to me how Hilton Sydney are “supporting the LGBT community” by hosting an event for an organisation that is actively destroying the lives of LGBT people.

It appears that Hilton are not walking their talk by taking a booking from a prominent anti-LGBTIQ hate group.

At the same time, the ACL have form in booking their events at venues that are known to be openly supportive of the LGBTIQ community, as demonstrated by the 2014 debacle where the ACL booked the pro-LGBTIQ Hyatt Canberra for an event that resulted in Hyatt forging a stronger relationship with Australian Marriage Equality.

It is clearly a tactic of the ACL, to further their victim status, to knowingly book a pro-LGBTIQ venue on the expectation the venue will be called out for doing business with an anti-LGBTIQ hate organisation.

By hosting an ACL event, and with the ACL fulling engaged in the No campaign against marriage equality, Hilton Sydney are complicit in the devastating effect the postal survey on marriage equality is having on the mental health of the LGBTIQ community.

In lieu of Hilton Sydney hosting the ACL event on November 17, the least they can do to show their support for the LGBTIQ community is to donate, up-front, the proceeds from this event to the Yes campaign.  An additional donation toward the Yes campaign would go a long way to demonstrating their commitment to LGBTIQ people.

Going one step further I would like to see Hilton Hotels issue a statement advising they will not take bookings from hate groups and organisations that actively lobby to degrade the human rights and dignity of any group of people.

Stand up for equality Hilton.  You are better than this.


Same Love – Macklemore feat. Mary Lambert. #NRLGF

October 1, 2017

Bigotry belongs in the bin, not equality

September 24, 2017

Today I handed out “Yes” posters for the same-sex marriage survey along the length of the shopping strip in High Street, Ashburton.  For the most part it was a rewarding experience, with a handful of shopkeepers very keen to proudly show their support, and a lot more shopkeepers who were similarly keen, pending their manager’s approval.

I am happy to endorse the shops that support equality, like this one:

and this one:

One shop in particular, Baker’s Delight, was magnificent.  The staff member whom I spoke to said he’d need to speak to his manager before he could put it up.  I was happy enough that he wanted to do the right thing and seek permission.  Then a few minutes later I walked back past shop and he was sticking the poster to the shop front.  My heart swelled because they were proud to support equality.

20170924 Bakers Delight Ashburton say yes

Bakers Delight Ashburton say Yes to equality

However something happened between me leaving the shop and coming back a little later that disturbed me greatly.  I saw a woman shoving a scrunched marriage equality Vote Yes poster into the rubbish bin out the front of the shop.  The bin was full so her adding this large poster to the mouth of the bin didn’t help very much with its disposal.

20170924 Discarded Yes poster in Ashburton

A woman wearing a “Vote No” badge stuffed a “Yes” poster in this rubbish bin in High St, Ashburton

I was alarmed to see someone throwing this poster in the bin because I knew it had been taken down from one of the many locations along the length of the street that had been covered with these posters.

I asked the woman why she was putting that in the bin and she said “Because it’s rubbish”.  She then turned to walk into the bakery, but not before I could see the prominent pink and blue circular badge on her top that said something along the lines of “I’m voting No”.

20170924 Anti-equality woman in shop

The woman who ripped down a Yes poster in the street, wearing a Vote No badge, in the Bakers Delight shop that subsequently put up a Yes poster

I was hoping to capture some footage of her and challenge her on camera about her actions but the best I could do get was her walking back to her car (Burgundy KIA Sportage, rego VIC ANS-072) and driving away.

So when the people opposed to marriage equality claim they have no voice and are the silent majority, being denied their “free speech”, just take a look at this woman, ripping down Yes posters, calling them rubbish (and by inference calling equality rubbish) and putting them in the bin.

She could have handed the shop a poster asking to promote her anti-equality cause, just like I did for my pro-equality cause, or put similar posters up and down the strip of shops, but instead she chose to remove a poster that someone else put up, in a cowardly attempt to silence people wanting equality under the law.

What belongs in the bin are the bigoted attitudes of this woman who is opposed to all people having the same rights under the law, and not a poster calling for equality.


Why I don’t care that Tony Abbott was attacked

September 22, 2017

Last night someone attacked Tony Abbott because they despised the man.

Tony Abbott is despicable.  He is responsible for inflicting a great deal of misery on a large number of vulnerable people.

That makes Tony Abbott a vile human.

I don’t wish harm on anyone, but when people like Tony Abbott cause other people to suffer needlessly, my care factor for them drops to zero.

I don’t say Tony Abbott deserved to be attacked, but I am indifferent to the fact that he was.

In fact I am completely numb to it.

My life is a complete misery because of the attack on my life, on my humanity, on my dignity, and on my relationship that Tony Abbott wanted to happen.

My husband is a complete wreck at the moment.  He is at the lowest point I have ever seen him at, struggling with life every single day, and I am trying to hold the pieces together.  This is a direct result of Tony Abbott’s assault on LGBTIQ people.

Tony Abbott got a fat lip.  A fat fucking lip.

If someone smashed Tony Abbott across the head with a baseball bat I don’t think I’d have the emotional energy left to give half a shit.

Thousands of people are suffering right now, in complete despair and misery, because of Tony Abbott, and that piece of Liberal Party scum has the audacity to blame marriage equality supporters for his fat lip.

Just fuck off and leave us alone Tony Abbott.

 


David Marr, do you fact check?

September 21, 2017

In the September 19 Guardian article Where’s the biff? Free speech has won every round in the marriage equality debate David Marr wrote:

“One Christian at IBM and another at Macquarie University have both been targeted by a zealous yes warrior who reckons they should be dismissed because their advocacy for traditional marriage is at odds with the ethos of their employers. So have they lost their jobs? No and nor should they.”

Back in March this year I posted this tweet about Mark Allaby:

I also posted this tweet about Stephen Chavura:

I posted several more similarly worded tweets about both.  However in none of my tweets did I once call for, imply, or want the sacking of either from their respective places of employment.

On September 12 on ABC’s The Drum David Marr said Mark Allaby was “targeted by some trollish yes voters” (around 13:00) in response to Iain Benson’s claim “Allaby was asked to resign”:

 

ABC The Drum David Marr Trolls (Sep 12 2017)

In the above-mentioned Guardian article David Marr alleges [Mark Allaby and Stephen Chavura] “have both been targeted by a zealous yes warrior who reckons they should be dismissed”.

Who is this “zealous yes warrior who reckons they should be dismissed” David Marr?

If you are referring to my activism, please show me where I have called for the dismissal of either Mark Allaby from IBM or Stephen Chavura from Macquarie University.

If not mine, then whose activism are you are referring to?

I also refer David Marr to this apology from ABC’s The Drum where they clarified that my activism was in fact not related to marriage equality.


A response to Rabbi Daniel Rabin on marriage equality

September 6, 2017

Rabbi Daniel Rabin posted the following on Facebook:

Was a great experience to chat with some of the Year 12 students at Bialik College today and discuss homosexuality in Judaism and issues surrounding same-sex marriage and the upcoming postal vote.

Some of the things we talked about was the great sensitivity and emotion surrounding this topic and the need to be incredibly mindful that there are differences of opinion in this regard.

People on both sides need to respect the differing views.

It is totally unacceptable to denigrate, insult or hurt others because they don’t share your opinion.

I have seen signs of “Stop the Fags” posted around and I think that is disgraceful. I have written previously, in particular about the Jewish community, that we need to be accepting and inclusive of all Jews regardless of their sexual orientation. Signs like these can cause vulnerable people to take their lives.

At the same time, if someone does not support the marriage act changing, don’t immediately call them homophobic or assume they are being hateful or bigoted.

I encourage civilized conversation on both sides and hope we can live our lives with mutual respect, courtesy and care for one another.

Rabbi Rabin is president of The Rabbinic Council of Victoria.  On September 4 the RCV issued this statement (incorrectly dated September 9):

Sep 4 2017 - RCV statement supporting No vote on marriage equality postal survey

Daniel Rabin is also the rabbi at the North Eastern Jewish Centre (NEJC) in Doncaster.  I grew up in Doncaster and attended the synagogue there in the 1980s and 90s.  I went to Sunday school there and had my bar mitzvah there.  The religious community there was a big part of my life and that of my family for many years.

I also attended Bialik College in the early 1980s.

When I was at the NEJC and at Bialik I was struggling with my sexuality.  I had been struggling with it since around 1979, and the struggle continued for 16 years until 1996.  During this time I had no support, no positive role models and no one to tell me that I wasn’t broken, wasn’t an aberration, wasn’t an abomination and wasn’t abnormal.  I was also incessantly bullied on my perceived sexuality for most of my school years.

After I came to terms with my sexuality I stopped attending NEJC, withdrew my financial support and stopped active religious observance because I was repulsed that part of the Orthodox religious service was to read a passage from the Torah that said men who slept with men were an abomination and that the penalty for doing this was their life, or words much to that effect.

Words can hurt, even if they are token.

In 2017, the rabbi of my former synagogue has told students at my former school that people, people like him, who oppose equal treatment of all citizens under the law of Australia should not be considered homophobic, or assumed to be hateful or bigoted.

That’s fair enough.  He is perfectly entitled to express those views.  However simultaneously he should not be surprised when people, people like me, look at the words he uses and wonder how he could not possibly be seen to be homophobic, or assumed to be hateful or bigoted.

What Rabbi Rabin is doing is in effect asking for the law to treat people in a heterosexual relationship in a manner that advantages them over people who are in other types of legal, consensual relationships.  His arguments and his logic are spurious, drawing from speculation, fear-mongering and deliberate misinformation.

Rabbi Rabin is welcome to practice his faith and to express his religious obligations within the sphere of Halacha and the remit of his responsibilities as both a congregational rabbi and the president of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria.  However he is not welcome to interfere in the lives of people who wish to enter into civil marriages, especially those people who are not doing so in an Orthodox Jewish context.

To my mind, it appears as bigotry when I see religious leaders using their faith to treat as lesser or deny certain people the same rights they enjoy under civil law.

To my mind, it does appear hateful, not to mention deceitful and disingenuous, when religious leaders imply or infer that children raised by both biological parents are more deserving of their parents than children of adoptive, same-sex, gender-diverse and other parenting configurations.

To my mind, it does appear homophobic when religious leaders use their authority to spread misinformation, lies and deceitful propaganda about homosexual people, the relationships we have, the indignities we endure, and the intolerance and discrimination we face.

Rabbi Rabin asks for respect.  He forgets that respect is earned, not demanded.  At present, while Rabbi Rabin asks for people, people like him, to deny me the right to marry the man I love, the man I want to have look after me in sickness and in health, the man who I would give my life for, I feel little respect for his views.

Rabbi Daniel Rabin could learn a few things from those who want to remove discrimination under the law, not enforce it.  He may be a teacher of Torah, but he is yet to become a teacher of humanity.

 
Postscript – September 7 2017

Rabbi Daniel Rabin has issued a personal apology on Facebook for the RCV statement:

I accept this apology and call for the RCV to withdraw their statement and issue a similar apology for the hurt and insensitivity of their actions.


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