FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Note, I am sending this on behalf of my client, Paul Martin, of Harbour Grace, who was the subject of a controversial smear campaign, by the Telegram's Oct 1, 2014 article by Barb Sweet.
On October 1, 2014, the Telegram newspaper published an article that accused me and family members of gay-bashing former clients of mine, as well as published opinionated material that attempted to slander me and my work. I am writing to express disappointment at the telegram, and to voice my side of the story.
First and foremost, I am not homophobic and I did not make any remarks that were intended to be gay-bashing. I am sorry to learn that some members of the customer's family felt disappointed by my work, and felt the need to intimidate me into agreeing to give them a partial refund. The arrangement we had was a handshake. I received written confirmation from one of the brides indicating they were happy with my work. If there was miscommunication or lack of understanding with regards to the policies and procedures for the services rendered, then I will certainly apologize and take a fair share of the blame. Perhaps it was both of our fault that we did not better specifically outline a service agreement, in writing.
Overall, I hold nothing against this couple and wish them nothing but the best, and although I feel I was wronged to be threatened and intimidated by one of their family members, I am willing to let this go. Most of all, I am saddened that the Telegram would stoop to tabloid-level journalism, and attempt to use me as a sacrificial lamb, in order to put a spin on this story based on false opinions and assumptions, rather than facts.
I have many friends in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, and I am sure that any of them would concur that I am not a hateful or homophobic person. Furthermore, I am disappointed that steps have been taken by the Telegram to try to tarnish my reputation for my work. While I will certainly agree to the concept that 'the customer is always right', I do not think it is fair for a single instance of misunderstanding, to ruin my career. I have been doing this type of work for quite some time, and many of my past customers have spoken highly of my work.
If anyone has any questions or concerns, I would be happy to arrange a meeting to discuss my credentials further. I would also like to put out an open invitation for any other media outlet, to hear my side of the story. I welcome media outlets to contact my agent, Jennifer McCreath, who is a well-known LGBT community engagement specialist, to arrange an interview: firstname.lastname@example.org 709-753-9529.
In addition to Paul's statement, I am quite happy to make the following statement of my own:
I was recently contacted by Paul Martin, a citizen of Harbour Grace, who brought an article in the Telegram to my attention, and he raised concern that he was being an apparent victim of a smear campaign, which included false accusations of him being homophobic and hatred towards members of the LGBT community. Upon reading the article, and upon speaking with Mr. Martin, I can't help but express concern with this article.
While I can't speak for what happened at this wedding, I have reviewed all content provided to me from various on-line exchanges between Mr. Martin and his clients. This appears to be a sad attempt by the Telegram to exploit Mr Martin, by attempting to play the gay card, in a story that is otherwise, non-newsworthy. It appears quite clear to me, that had this been a heterosexual couple, that the Telegram would have not pursued this article.
Overall, I am disappointed in the Telegram, and feel it is my role, as a member of the LGBT community of Newfoundland and Labrador, to speak out. While there are definitely many sad cases of discrimination that take place here in this province, and while I certainly support the exposure of such discriminations, it is of my opinion that the Telegram has made a major blunder here, by creating something out of nothing, and putting an inappropriate gay-bashing spin, on an instance that was not a gay-bashing matter. Finally, it concerns me when media entities appear to negatively and falsely portray the LGBT community, as whiners who will run to the media and play the gay card, simply to get attention.
questions or interviews:
St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador