UPDATE: Organizer of Victoria BDSM party forced to cancel by CHEK news story talks to media

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November 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm  •  Posted in BDSM in the news by  •  2 Comments

Update, November 2: The organizer of BENT, Andie Luv, has spoken to CHEK news and does a great job or representing the BDSM community.

You’ll find that interview here.

November 1: On Halloween night, CHEK news in Victoria lead their evening newscast with a piece on a BDSM play party called BENT being held at a local community centre. Entitled Burnside Bondage on their website, the piece attempts to be balanced—I would argue it fails.

As someone who frequently writes about events that make the news, this story unfortunately has all the hallmarks of “subtle prejudice” that make the grade as “unbiased” in most news rooms. BDSM is a relatively foreign concept to many journalists, and sex negativity is still the norm to one degree or another in the news business.

The choice to mention both in the story intro by the news anchor, and then again in the first sentence of the story, the fact that the community centre offers “child care and kids programs,” colours the story. It’s the “What about the kids!” line of attack that was long favoured by opponents of gay rights.

The story also implies that somehow the community centre and the organizers of this event are keeping it a dirty little secret: “But unlike the Magic of Christmas Gift Fair and Santa’s Pancake Breakfast, one upcoming special event is not listed.”

In fact exactly three upcoming events are listed on the Burnside Community Centre Special Events page. That’s because those are the only community centre events that are happening. It isn’t just BENT that isn’t listed there, it’s any outside event. CHEK news is aware of this, so making this point is pure sensationalism.

What other outside events does the Community Centre rent out to? Does it ever rent to events that serve alcohol, be they art shows or dances or theatre? What about other community centres in Victoria? We’re given no context for what might be the norm for renting to outside groups. I’m not arguing that BENT is the typical fare that you’ll find at local community centres, I’m suggesting that it’s not so far outside the pale as CHEK would have us think.

Here in Vancouver, for instance, the Roundhouse Community Centre recently held Beerlesque, “a night of Burlesque performances and craft beers.” That wasn’t just held at the community centre, it was an official fundraiser for the community centre. That’s not just okay it’s damn right heartening.

CHEK, however, might not see it that way.”A local community centre raises funds with a night featuring women stripping down while drinkers cheer, but is it really just a publicity grab for local brewers?” If that sounds too outrageous to ever happen, go back and give their lead in to “Burnside Bondage” another listen.

Now imagine if we were to apply the standard CHEK news does to BENT to anther element of the story.

Suddenly the neighbour interviewed (clearly a business neighbour) isn’t just of Third Wave Bus Services, she’s “The employee of the nearby school bus company, which advertises that it’s just as willing to rent out to pub crawls on the weekend…”

Or what if we’re to apply the CHEK News standard to their own programming?

“CHEK News, produced by a channel just as well known for its early morning programming featuring a fraudster televangelist Peter Popoff, peddling faith healing to its viewers, ruining the lives of those who shun medical care, which the television station defends as merely business.”

Actually, suddenly in light of that perhaps its not so surprising that CHEK chose to lead their news cast with the Burnside Bondage item. After all, sex sells, and it’s merely business, no matter who get’s hurt.

See the report on CHEK news

 

2 Comments

  1. Katie / November 1, 2012 at 2:52 pm / Reply

    You didn’t say how/why this report led to the cancellation, though.

    • Reive / November 1, 2012 at 3:25 pm / Reply

      That’s a good point — I should probably substantiate that, or say “likely forces.”

      The fact of the matter is that it was the unwanted publicity brought to the event that appears to have been what’s lead to it being cancelled. The news anchor says at the end of the story that they’ve learned the “controversial event” has now been cancelled. Well, it’s been cancelled exactly BECAUSE it’s been made out to be controversial.

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