Radio Western (photo)

A portion of Radio Western's Pride programming received criticism from Pride London Festival, July 26, 2018.

In a July 24 Facebook post, Pride London Festival decried a program on Radio Western/CHRW's All Gay All Day broadcast, saying its host's conduct and the program's discussion were "offensive" and "negative."

In an initial post, published at 11:53 a.m., the festival organization apologized to listeners "offended by the content" heard on Radio Western's Pride programming and stated the organization's intent to review their relationship with Radio Western and Western University.

This statement was contextualized by a follow-up post at 3:24 p.m. where the festival alleged that a program's host challenged a guest's coming-out story before cutting them off without explanation. The post also claimed that a number of "negative comments" on-air and off-air undermined work being done by queer and trans* people of colour.

The festival's organization also updated its position on relations with Radio Western and Western from reviewing to looking forward to a resolution and improved future relationships.

The program, Getting Motivated, ran from 7:30 p.m.—8:00 p.m. It featured Radio Western host Trini Kaos interviewing Saidat Abari-Vandenberg, a grand marshall for the festival.

According to Abari-Vandenberg, she did not contact Pride London Festival about a grievance with Radio Western's programming and was "saddened and frustrated" by the posts. She said the contention stemmed from an off-air discussion she had with Kaos after the program.

Abari-Vandenberg explained that they discussed religion's introduction in the program's conversation and that Kaos seemed uneasy with how their on-air conversation may have affected listeners.

After leaving Radio Western's station, Abari-Vandenberg disclosed uncertainty to someone about whether she wronged Trini or listeners with an offensive comment. This person then relayed Abari-Vandenberg's uncertainty to the festival's organization through a "bad case of the game telephone," who then made the initial July 24 Facebook post.

"The division this situation has caused within the London Pride community saddens me as I feel that we are all here to make a difference and should not be fighting amongst ourselves," said Abari-Vandenberg.

Pride London Festival and Kaos did not respond to requests for comment.

On July 25, Radio Western released a statement addressing the festival organization's claims, stating that Radio Western is aware that its programming often covers "contentious" issues, and encourages any community members with qualms about its programming to contact Station Management directly.

Andrew Barton, Radio Western station manager, said Pride London Festival did not contact Radio Western before making the posts.

"It was absolutely shocking," said Barton. "It was a bit of a blindside to see something posted on social media without any warning or any discussion at all."

Concerning the Pride London Festival's relationship with the Western community, Mikaela Harrison, University Students' Council communications officer, and Carina Gabriele, USC student programs officer, shared their support for the campus Pride community.

Gabriele and Harrison spoke on behalf of PrideWestern, a USC service unaffiliated with Pride London Festival, as PrideWestern's leadership undergoes a summer transition.

"As the USC, we're always committed of course to creating safer spaces and promoting diverse programming," said Gabriele.

She reaffirmed the USC's support for WesternPride coordinators as they begin their duties in September.

Harrison said the USC supports all community members who come forward with concerns and that the USC will likely follow-up with Pride London Festival to better understand the situation.

The festival comes to a close on Sunday with the Official Pride Closing Party at Lavish Nightclub.


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