London 2012 Pride House scrapped due to lack of sponsorship
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
April 25 - The London 2012 Pride House, which was set to be based in Clapham Common for the duration of the Olympic Games as a hub for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) community, has been scrapped due to a lack of sponsorship and headline entertainment.
The House in South West London was the brainchild of Canadian-born Chad Molleken and it was inspired by the huge success of Pride House Vancouver at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
The plan was for Pride House to be open from July 26 to August 12, meaning that it would be accessible for the duration of the Olympics, and it was hoped that it would be a base for LGBT competitors and officials during the Games, as well as a place to break down barriers of homophobia and transphobia in the sports arena.
But Jocelyn Wudel, the project coordinator for Pride House London, confirmed that they have had to pull the plug on Pride House, which was set to be one of the largest Olympic Houses in London with over 250,000 visitors expected during the Games.
"It is with huge disappointment due to circumstances beyond our control that we have had to withdraw the licence application for the Pride House Festival on Clapham Common," Wudel told insidethegames.
"We would like to thank Lambeth Council, local businesses and the residents who have continued to support the project.
"We are currently exploring all options to ensure that Pride House is featured among the other Olympic Houses in London this summer."
The confirmation comes after a letter from Molleken in which he revealed that Pride House was not financially viable.
"A combination of the lack of sponsorship and headline entertainment has proven to make the event commercially unviable," said the letter.
"It was not without considerable effort that we tried to make this happen."
It is a huge blow for Pride House, after it was launched in January at London's Living Room at City Hall with an array of stars present, including former basketball player John Amaechi (pictured below), the first NBA player to come out gay.
Numerous high profile ambassadors for Pride House had also been announced, including actor and comedian Stephen Fry, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and film producer of David Furnish, who is the partner of Elton John.
It was set to be the first edition of Pride House at a Summer Olympic Games.
But Pride House had not been without controversy and earlier this year, the Friends of Clapham Common (FCC) group claimed Pride House was "likely to become a magnet for undesirable elements of that community".
The agreement was resolved when the FCC apologised and said their complaints were based on "environmental" reasons.
Lambeth Council have moved to distance themselves from the decision to cancel Pride House, insisting that it was a decision that was purely down to organisers.
"We're obviously disappointed that the organisers of Pride House feel they cannot stage the event on Clapham Common, but we respect and understand their decision," a Lambeth Council spokesperson told insidethegames.
"This is a purely commercial decision, and we are grateful that the organisers have thanked the council for its support with the plans and noted the professionalism of the council's events team throughout."
January 2012: Pride House to open during London 2012 at Clapham Common