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Analysis: The Hypocrisy of Rogers Place

by | Feb 29, 2024 | Campus, Downtown | 0 comments

It’s tricky to navigate the world we live in. It’s even more tricky as someone who belongs to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. You never exactly know who you can trust. All it takes is a quick Google search to see the rising trend in hate over the last few years. This is a problem, and it isn’t just a local problem. In 2023, the American Civil Liberties Union  tracked over 500 anti-trans bills, and as of the writing of this piece, 2024 is showing 325 proposed bills in 36 states in the United States which specifically target trans people. These numbers are up from the 174 bills in 2022, and the 100 bills in 2021. A research study  published in 2021 highlights “. . .that LGBT people experienced 6.6 violent hate crime victimizations per 1,000 persons compared with non-LGBT people’s 0.6 per 1,000 persons.”. It’s been absolutely terrifying for the 2SLGBTQIA+, and it’s only been exacerbated in recent years with voices like Tucker Carlson, Michael Knowles, Matt Walsh, Ben Shapiro, and Jordan Petersen.

It’s been absolutely disgusting to hear Peterson equate being trans to “sociological contagion” comparable to “satanic ritual abuse.” It was even more horrific when Michael Knowles called for the eradication of transgenderism.” But, the person I want to talk about for a moment is Tucker Carlson. Let’s ignore for a moment, that according to the BBC “. . . Carlson called women ‘extremely primitive’, defended child marriage, and made sexual comments about underage girls.” These themselves are extremely problematic comments to have been made, but let’s look at some of his comments on LGBT issues, specifically issues around the trans community. Carlson has attempted to paint the trans community as the “… mirror image of Christianity, and therefore its natural enemy.” He’s tried to paint the trans community as child groomers. He’s platformed notoriously anti-trans extremists such as Chris Elston, Chris Rufo, and Chaya Raichik, the last of which owns the “Libs of Tiktok” social media accounts and is known to weaponize her platform of 2.8 million followers to harass, bully, and threaten people all across social media as well as harrassing children’s hospitals. After she harassed the children’s hospital, it reported receiving numerous bomb threats.  

Giving these individuals any platform is a serious dereliction of duty. They all have extremely clear motives and hate for the LGBT community. With all that information out in the open, this brings me to the question that I want to ask you today: Why is Rogers Place platforming Tucker Carlson along with two others while also claiming to show support for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community? Rogers Place hosted an event on Jan 18 that supported MacEwan’s Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity, and donated the proceeds to the organization. It seems kind of contradictory to host someone who is so virulently anti-LGBT and more specifically, anti-trans. I reached out to Rogers Place, as well as OEG Sports & Entertainment (OEGSE) for comment on this issue:

As a leading entertainment company, the role of OEG Sports & Entertainment (OEGSE) is to ensure a safe environment for our staff, guests and performers at our venues. We are constantly working with our industry partners to bring a wide variety of live events and experiences to Edmonton and the views and opinions expressed during those events do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of OEGSE.

We are committed to diversity and inclusion as a core value of our organization and OEGSE, the Edmonton Oilers and the Edmonton Oil Kings, will always stand alongside the Pride Community as friends, allies and partners. In addition to our work with the NHL’s Executive Inclusion Council and Respect Group to eliminate and prevent bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination, we proudly host numerous inclusion events including our annual Pride Cup, the Edmonton Oil Kings Pride Nights, and the Edmonton Oilers Pride Night which took place this year on January 18 at Rogers Place where we supported and recognized the work of community leaders who have dedicated much of their lives to shifting the paradigm of diversity, equity and inclusion—leaders like Luke Prokop, former Oil King who had the courage to come out as the first-ever openly gay NHL prospect, Dr. Kristopher Wells who has been a close friend and partner of the organization for years and Jeff McLean, the co-founder of Pride Tape and another close friend of the organization.

OEG actually helped launch Pride Tape and the Oilers were the first NHL team to use the tape. The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation has also donated hundreds of thousands to the MacEwan University Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity through 50/50 raffles, auctions and merchandise sales.

These are important pillar events and initiatives in OEGSE’s ongoing commitment to inclusion.

Whether it’s the Pride Cup, Oilers Pride Night, Pride Tape, or community investment and partnerships, OEGSE stands alongside the 2SLGBTQ+ community as friends, allies and partners, and will always do our best to ensure everyone feels welcome and included in Rogers Place.

We hope that one day kids of any identity or background will be able to grow up in Oil Country proud of who they are and who they love without fear of exclusion or abuse. 

Claims that they support the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, and are more than quick to show that they’ve worked with LGBT organizations and names, and donated substantial amounts of cash to these organizations  do not negate their ability to act in good faith when it comes to the LGBT community who is under serious attack right now with the political sphere seeming intent on coming for our rights and freedoms. Just because they’ve donated obscene amounts of cash, they are not absolved of their responsibility to uphold that partnership. 

If Rogers Place were sincere about wanting to uphold partnerships with the LGBT community and standing beside us, they would need to take a good, long hard look at who they are sharing their space with. I know that, despite their claims that they want everyone to feel safe in their establishment, seeing them continue to platform people who spew absolutely vile rhetoric against the LGBT community sure does not make me feel safe OR welcome in their space. You cannot claim support for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and use that as a shield to stand behind while simultaneously giving space to those who would love nothing more than to see our very existence erased into oblivion.

Photo by Thai Sirikoone

Blaze Bennett

The Griff


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