LGBT awards ceremony cancelled after ticketing controversy

An LGBT+ awards ceremony has been cancelled after the board resigned in a row over ticket prices for nominees.

The controversy broke out when it was revealed that nominees at this year’s ICON Awards were expected to pay £45 for a ticket to the event, and plus ones would have to pay £135.

The row prompted organisers to offer nominees one free ticket, while not-for-profits were offered additional tickets at half price.

However, as more and more nominees announced that they would not be attending the awards, board members Craig White and president James Smith announced their resignation.

This prompted the organisers, Big Impact Scotland, to announce the cancellation of the awards, stating that “there is too little time to replace a credible board”.

This is not the first time the ICON Awards ceremony has caused controversy. Stonewall Scotland pulled out of the awards in 2015 due to the organiser’s homophobic past.

The awards were originally organised by Paramount Creative, an organisation that was headed by Warren Paul.

Mr Paul was involved in a homophobic discrimination case in 2007, in which he allegedly called a gay employee a “wee poof”, said he looked like “a cream puff”, and asked if he was “from Stoke on Trent” – rhyming slang for “bent”.

The company was ordered to pay the employee £118,000 in compensation.

One of the nominees for 2018, Scott Cuthbertson, an LGBT+ human rights campaigner, said last week in a post on Twitter that he would not be accepting his nomination due to Mr Paul’s homophobic past.

“Despite questions being asked by some, no answers have been forthcoming about the current relationship between Icon, Paramount Creative and Mr Paul. The Awards are now being held by ‘Big Impact Scotland’ a charity which names Mr Paul’s wife as a director,” he said.

He went on to say that it would be “unconscionable” for him to take part in an awards ceremony that could benefit Mr Paul.

In a statement, president of the awards, James Smith, said that he is “a huge supporter of the LGBT+ community” and said resigning was upsetting for him.

“This will not deter me in the future and I will endeavour to support the LGBT+ community with my charitable work.”

Just three hours after Smith’s statement was released, the awards were cancelled outright.

The charity will now get in touch with all finalists and sponsors to organise full refunds to everyone who has booked and paid for tickets, according to a statement released yesterday.