An email message has been circulating the Internet for the past 24 hours, claiming that the newest entertainment at Kennywood has homophobic content and asking the community complain about it. I've been unsuccessful in contacting the individual, an employee of the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force, but have received several copies of the message from credible leaders in the LGBT community who obviously know this woman enough to put their name behind her story. Thus, I've opted to go ahead and post about the rumor.
According to her email, she recently visited Kennywood and caught the newest dive show performance:
>> I was at the dive show, which this year is pirate-themed. The
>> scenario is that the captain of the pirate crew is drowning, but
>> crew members reject the idea of giving him mouth-to-mouth
>> resuscitation. However, one of the crew members runs up, gives a
>> swishy flip of his wrist, and says in a lispy voice, “I'll do
>> sweetie!” To this, the Master of Ceremonies replies, “Hey, hey,
>> we'll have none of that here!” How homophobic and unnecessary.
Typical stupied homophobic humor. You would think after Johnny Depp's performance as a fey pirate, they would have enough sense to use a little wink, wink swish to make their gay references. Fortunately, they are stupid enough to be blatant which means they got caught. A ha!
The author took action and contacted Kennywood management.
>> After a couple of calls to Kennywood, I finally got a call back
>> from the general manager, who said that he didn't pick up on
>> content as being offensive, in fact didn't even think about it
>> until he got my message and then went to see the show again. He
>> basically said he was not concerned about it, and generally they
>> don't change show content until they get numerous complaints.
>> such, is going to leave the show as it is. (I could tell he thinks
>> I'm crazy, which I may be, but not about this.)
Thus, content is not offensive unless they get a critical mass of complaints. Then it is still not offensive, but might cost money so they'll consider pulling it. Overall, things ain't gonna change at Kennywood if people don't complain.
The rumors that Kennywood is not gay-friendly have been circulating for years. I've had very credible LGBTQ community members share stories about management resistance to a “Gay Day” at Kennywood. Apparently, we are welcome to come spend our money as long as we aren't too flamboyantly gay. That's reserved for the pirates. However, when Ledcat and I are in line, we notice dozens of homos, coupled and not. None, to my knowledge, have attempted to convert the innocent children running amok without parental supervision — if anyone should be banned from Kennywood, it is children dumped by their parents for 8 hours and a few $20 bills.
And make no mistake about it — the kids know we are gay. They aren't stupid. They see gay people at school, on television, in the movies and on the Internet. They probably know the coded gay behaviors better than most gays. Kennywood isn't protecting them from anything other than lessons in tolerance.
So now throw a gay pirate into the mix. How original! Why not take a group of sugar hyped unsupervised teenagers and infuse a little gay-panic into the mix? Cause the kid they all pick on for being a sissy — he's probably somewhere in the park, maybe with his kid sister. And when they track him down, will the pirates come to his rescue? Will the sweeper chicks use their pans to defend him? Will anyone even care as long as he doesn't bleed in front of Kiddieland?
Our on the scene correspondent has a few more thoughts:
>> I then pointed out to him that a majority of our local population
>> may not find these comments offensive, but that this doesn't
>> it right to continue it. I also said that many individuals who are
>> indeed offended by it may not be able voice their concerns, for
>> of having to identify themselves as gay and or being perceived as
>> gay. I also said that the young, gay teen who is watching the show
>> and is hurt by those comments, will certainly not complain to
>> management. I further encouraged him to do the right thing for the
>> voices that can't express themselves. However, he said he is
>> going to leave the show as it is unless he gets any additional
Amen, sister. He's being a stupid homophobic ass.
The general manager of Kennywood is Jerome Gibas. I left a message asking for a comment. No response thus far.
Please pick up the phone and let Kennywood know this is unacceptable. It is stupid pandering to the latent homophobia in their audience and just absurd content for kids to view. Family friendly my ass. Why not hoist a giant Rosie O'Donnell balloon and let kids go to town with paint ball guns?
The park phone number is 412-461-0500. You will need to select Guest Relations
from the menu and ask to speak with Jerome.