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Mathieu Chantelois quits top job at Pride Toronto

Resignation comes a month after Black Lives Matter protest

Mathieu Chantelois speaks at the 2016 Pride flag-raising at Toronto City Hall. Credit: Arshy Mann/Daily Xtra

Mathieu Chantelois has resigned as the executive director of Pride Toronto.

Pride Toronto made the announcement on its Facebook page, on Aug 10, 2016.

Chantelois, a former Canadian reality TV star and magazine editor, has been at the helm of Pride Toronto since January 2015.

His sudden resignation comes after he came under intense scrutiny for how he handled Black Lives Matter Toronto’s protest during last month’s Pride parade. Chantelois, along with Pride Toronto co-chair Alica Hall, initially agreed to all of the demands that BLMTO put forward during their 30-minute sit-in that brought the parade to a halt.

The demands included excluding official police floats from future parades and more funding and autonomy for community stages during Pride.

However, the following day, Chantelois rolled back his promise.

“My priority yesterday was to make the parade move,” he told CP24 the following day. “Frankly, Black Lives Matter is not going to tell us that there are no more floats anymore in the parade.”

Chantelois has been criticized for both backtracking on his promise to BLMTO and for making the promise in the first place.

When reached by phone, a spokesperson for Pride Toronto declined to comment beyond the issued statement. Chantelois has not yet responded to a request for comment from Daily Xtra.

Mathieu Chantelois meets with Black Lives Matter protesters during the 2016 Toronto Pride Parade. (Rob Easton/Daily Xtra)

“I decided it was time for me to move on and I wish Pride the best in the future,” Chantelois wrote in post on his Facebook page.

He will be leaving the position to return to Cineplex Media, where he worked for 11 years under Salah Bachir, the wealthy businessman and philanthropist. Bachir was named grand marshal of this year’s Pride parade while Chantelois ran the organization.

Chantelois’s resignation comes at a sensitive time for Pride Toronto, which is still negotiating the fallout from the BLMTO protest during this year’s parade.

Pride Toronto will be hosting two town halls at the end of August to gather feedback from the community on how to “create a safe and inclusive Pride festival in 2017 and beyond.”