"Say NO to the Basilica Block Party" Facebook page comes down
Just as suddenly as it appeared, the "Say NO to the Basilica Block Party" Facebook page has disappeared.
Steve Cohen You don't get to 15,000 RSVPs without making a few enemies.
The event garnered tons of media attention, had 15,000 RSVPs, and forced the Archdiocese to address the controversy. Then yesterday, it was gone.
While some found this suspicious, event founder Jason Wermager has provided an explanation.
Earlier this month, a blogger named Nicole Burg initiated an email exchange with the Basilica's pastor asking if he supported gay marriage. When his reply indicated he did not, Burg blogged that she would be boycotting the Block Party in response.
Wermager, a friend of Burg's, then created the Facebook event in support of her boycott.
"Please do not attend the Basilica Block Party this year," it read. "Please do not contribute any money to a Catholic Church fundraiser while they are spending millions of dollars to write discrimination into the MN constitution."
Within days, the page had hundreds, then thousands of supporters. While some argued the boycott was misguided -- most of the money goes to Basilica renovation and charitable organizations -- everyone from the party's corporate sponsors to scheduled performers Hunting Club have weighed in on the controversy.
But after the event reached 15,000 RSVPs, Wermager apparently decided he'd had enough. In a statement posted just before the page was deleted on Wednesday night, he explained that the discourse in the event's comments had become too much for him.
"Many people have made comments that are hateful and unrelated to the event which have overshadowed the intelligent positive discussions promoting gay marriage to society and the intent of the event is lost," he wrote. "I do not want to provide any further opportunity for anti-gay rhetoric or hate speech on my event wall."
He urges the attendees to look to Outfront Minnesota or Minnesotans United for All Families for future action, but says his intent to raise awareness about the Catholic Church's support of a gay marriage ban has been fulfilled.
"The initial goal of the event was not only achieved but surpassed," he wrote.
Only time will tell if the campaign will actually affect event attendance -- the party kicks off July 8.