After announcing its cancellation last month due in part to some Christian opposition, organizers of the Fraser Valley Taboo Naughty But Nice Show say a “tremendous amount” of public support motivated them to reinstate this year’s event.
“In this case, the other side of the community spoke out loud and clear and made it very clear to us through Facebook, Twitter, hundreds of emails, calls — that they definitely welcomed Canwest and the Taboo show into the community and that a small group didn’t speak for the entire community,” Sean Libin, marketing vice-president for Canwest Productions, told Xtra March 6.
Taboo organizers had also cited restrictive liquor bylaws as another reason for the Abbotsford show’s cancellation. In a Feb 10 press release, Canwest said the rules governing the event’s venue, Abbotsford Tradex, restricted guests to a beer garden in a corner of the tradeshow floor.
The release also pointed to a backlash against Taboo from an “increasingly vocal group of Christian fundamentalists” led in large part by former Abbotsford mayoral candidate Gerda Peachey, who spoke against the show at an Abbotsford city council meeting Feb 6.
Peachey, who describes herself as an evangelical Christian, says the show conflicts with biblical principles of sexuality.
“I completely believe God created us all and he wants what is best for humanity, and I truly believe he has given guidelines for essentially everything in life but most certainly made men and women for each other,” she told Xtra last month. “For me, I think that all departures from this one man, one woman in marriage — all departures from that is something that harms us. It doesn’t enhance our life here on earth.”
Libin says Taboo supporters reject the implication that they “don’t have morals” and don’t care about their community. “They said, ‘Hey, we go to church on Sunday, too, but we also have sex on a Saturday night, and we’re not going to apologize for that.'”
Libin says he applauds Peachey for her strong religious beliefs, but her suggestion that those who attend Taboo don’t have those beliefs, and that they are sinners, is “absolutely foreign and false.”
“We’ve opened our arms to Ms Peachey before, and we will say it again: we encourage her to come as our guest, to be accompanied into the show, and at least, if nothing else, make an educated position on what she’s speaking out against.”
Libin says Peachey has asked the city of Abbotsford to cancel the show “many, many times” and has “stood and encouraged people to picket outside of our show.”
Peachey says Libin “is a liar.” Though she says she opposes the show, she maintains she never asked city council to cancel Taboo.
“I have never picketed the Taboo show,” she says. “I’ve been described as screaming and shouting, and none of that has ever happened. I have the right and the freedom to address what’s going in that building.”
In her Feb 6 speech to Abbotsford city council, Peachey asked whether councillors have “no responsibility to make some minimal standards of decency for buildings that are owned by us, the public.”
“Tradex is in a publicly owned building,” Peachey said. “It is owned by me and everybody else in this city, and you. And so is the public library, and it, too, rents out its facilities to private people for private events, and so is this facility right here. This auditorium. Can you conceive ever of renting this facility to a mini version of the Taboo Naughty But Nice sex show? It makes me ill to think of it.”
“That man is going to answer to God,” she now says of Libin’s statements about her.
“I have spoken against using Tradex for this filthy sex show for two years but actually only on a few occasions,” Peachey writes in a letter to the editors of various media. “I made a 10-minute delegation to council. Of the 39 pages I submitted, which you may still be able to access, most is about the dubious claims that Tourism Abbotsford’s running of Tradex is a great deal for the taxpayer. I spoke against using Tradex for a show that perverts and distorts sex when I ran for mayor. I run for council precisely because elections provide a brief bit of time to raise issues that I believe are important in a free and democratic city.”
For his part, Libin says he hopes people will come out and be entertained. “I think a lot of people are nervous or intimidated in terms of coming to a show like this; people aren’t really sure what they’re going to see there,” he says. “Our goal is to create places and environments and opportunities for people to come and connect, where they can connect to professionals in a non-threatening way.”
As for the show’s liquor licence, Libin says while he’d like to obtain a roaming licence to allow patrons to purchase and carry liquor throughout the adults-only show this year, that probably won’t be a reality until next year. “At this point, it’ll be status quo.”
The show will now run from May 11 to 13.