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.


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