British LGBT Awards nominees pull out of event over links to oil giants Shell and BP

Fox Fisher, Joe Lycett and Cheddar Gorgeous

A number of people have rejected their British LGBT Awards nominations because of the event’s sponsorship deals with oil giants Shell and BP.

The awards recognise queer people and organisations in the UK, and this year’s event is scheduled to be held on Friday (23 June).

Those to have rejected their nominations and withdrawn from the event so far include comedian Joe Lycett, drag queen Cheddar Gorgeous and trans artist and activist Fox Fisher.

In the past few days, various queer and environmental organisations, including Fossil Free Pride, Just Stop Oil, Tipping Point UK and Queer House Party, have called out the awards for the fossil fuel partnerships.

As reported by The Guardian, Queer House Party issued an open letter on Monday (19 June), saying that having companies such as Shell and BP advertised at the awards “represents a defeat for the LGBTQ community and an insult to everyone we stand in solidarity with internationally”.

It called for people to reject their nominations “in support of our community and the people who are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis being drastically worsened by these corporations” because “the LGBT Awards are ignoring our calls to end their partnerships with these corporations”.

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Similar statements were released by other organisations, including Fossil Free Pride, who labelled the event “pinkwashing”.

Cheddar Gorgeous rejected the nomination for TV moment of the year, which recognised her discussion of the Pink Triangle on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, saying the event had “a number of sponsors with questionable track records on climate change” as well as other issues.

In a statement on 16 June, she thanked those who nominated her but said “the cost of compromise [of her beliefs and values] was too great”.

“While I recognise the importance of representation and celebrating our community’s successes, it should never be at the expense of others,” the queen said.

Fox Fisher said he was honoured to receive, but could not accept, a nomination for outstanding contribution to LGBT life.

While sharing similar sentiments to Cheddar, Fisher also highlighted their dismay at “the vast majority of tickets” for the event going to corporate sponsors rather than nominees.

“I had to request a ticket, which I was eventually given after pleading,” he said.

“It didn’t sit right with me that many of those nominated don’t get to be in the room… if these awards aren’t for us, then why are they even being hosted?”

Fisher also thanked journalists Shon Faye and Sharan Dhaliwal for their statements about also rejecting their nominations.

Meanwhile, Lycett’s management company confirmed to The Guardian that he had asked for his nomination to be withdrawn.

In response, Shell told the newspaper that the extent of its sponsorship was an advert in the awards brochure and buying a premium table at the event for Proud@ShellUK Network, the company’s LGBTQ+ group.

A Proud@Shell spokesperson said: “Shell puts diversity, equity and inclusion at the heart of its employee culture and believes that a fully inclusive workplace allows our business to flourish.

“It’s important to highlight this through our presence at events like this one, and it’s regrettable that a few people have reacted so negatively, especially as we’re committed to becoming a net-zero-emissions energy business by 2050.”

A BP spokesperson said the company was “proud” to sponsor the event and “celebrate other individuals and organisations [who] share our beliefs and recognise diversity, equity and inclusion”.

They said BP promoted “an environment where everyone can be their best and true selves and feel like they belong, with no exceptions”.

The awards’ website says it seeks sponsors “whose core values, mission or corporate responsibility work reflect the values and mission of the British LGBT Awards, [but took] all concerns very seriously”.

It goes on to say: “We believe any concerns raised are an opportunity for organisations or individuals to listen and understand, and where necessary learn and progress. We see feedback as an opportunity to work with organisations to help support their journey and progress on the LGBT+-inclusion agenda.”

PinkNews has contacted the British LGBT Awards for comment.