SF Pride Chief Operating Officer Resorts to Lies as Scandal Around Honoring Bradley Manning Continues
A member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Supervisor David Campos, has spoken out on the ongoing scandal involving San Francisco Pride’s decision to not honor Pfc. Bradley Manning as a Grand Marshal of the Pride parade. He has urged Pride to hold a public meeting before this year’s parade and celebration on June 30 instead of after. Pride Chief Operating Officer Earl Plante is also outright lying or, at best, deliberately misrepresenting Pride’s actions in interviews with media.
These developments are the latest in a controversy that began back in April when the gay soldier, who disclosed information to WikiLeaks and is facing a US military prosecution, was announced as a Grand Marshal only to have Pride put out a statement retracting the award as a “mistake.”
The statement from President Lisa Williams and the Board of Directors also declared, “Even the hint of support for actions which placed in harms [sic] way the lives of our men and women in uniform — and countless others, military and civilian alike — will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride. It is, and would be, an insult to every one, gay and straight, who has ever served in the military of this country.”
In a story published yesterday, Plante is interviewed by the LGBT media organization Bay Area Reporter saying “no military folks pressured them to withdraw Manning’s honor.” That is an outright lie.
The former grand marshal who nominated Manning for Grand Marshal, Joey Cain, told Firedoglake he spoke to a Pride staff person on the day he was announced as a Grand Marshal and had his name published as a Grand Marshal in BAR. The staff person said the organization was getting “hundreds of phone calls, more calls than we’ve ever gotten since I’ve got here from people who are pissed off Bradley Manning is grand marshal.” So, as Cain said, “That is a lie that they say they got nothing from the military community.”
Plante may be correct when he says, “No one called us and no one pulled out.” To the extent that no actual branches or offices in the US military called Pride to complain, it may be true that Pride “didn’t hear from the military.” However, “military folks” were overt in their threats to go after sponsors if the organization went ahead and honored Manning. [cont’d.]