Gerda Peachey is being recognized as one of two reasons the fifth annual Taboo Naughty But Nice Sex Show has been canceled.
In a press release issued Friday, Canwest Production Inc. stated the lack of a roaming liquor licence – which would allow patrons to wander the show carrying their drinks rather than be herded into a specific area – is the primary reason.
However, Canwest also stated the show has experienced a “push-back from an increasingly vocal group of Christian fundamentalists, led in large part by Abbotsford mayoral candidate Gerda Peachey.”
The company said Peachey and her group are “accusing them of harming the family values of Fraser Valley residents” and creating an increase in crime.
The Taboo show has been held at Tradex for the past four years and Canwest said it has been quite successful despite the controversy.
Peter Kiddell, president of Canwest, said his company has a strong relationship with the Fraser Valley and hosts a variety of shows.
“We have a responsibility to be a good community partner and when the community starts to speak out, we listen,” he said.
“Based upon the restrictions placed upon us concerning our ability to serve liquor and the negative push-back we were getting concerning our show’s entertainment and educational offerings, we do not feel that we can meet the expectations of our guests or our exhibitors,” added Kiddell.
He said he plans to work with the city, and with Peachey, to address concerns and see if the show could return in the future.
Peachey heard about the cancellation when she received a phone call, and had a strong emotional reaction.
“I got off the phone and I bawled, because it was so unexpected. I expected this to be a long, dreary and really, quite frankly, lonely road because I didn’t see any support coming from the Christians at all,” she said.
While Peachey is pleased to see the show leave Abbotsford, she is doubtful that her complaints were a major factor.
She points to the liquor licence difficulties possibly limiting potential profit, and even the “saturation” of this market, considering the sex show also takes place in Vancouver.
“Did they sort of put my name in there as a sort of ‘Hey, Abbotsford, we’re listening to you; we’re good corporate citizens’ … It’s a good PR move, don’t you think?
“Because I don’t really believe that I brought this about,” said Peachey.
With this fight over, Peachey said opposition to the possible expansion of Tradex should continue. She has been actively campaigning against such an initiative.
“I’m now shining a spotlight on the Tradex operation itself and I’m shining it as hard as I possible can.”
No official plans for expansion have come forward, but feasibility studies are being performed to see if an expansion is in order.
Peachey began looking into the Tradex situation because of the sex show, which she felt should not be hosted in a city-owned building.
Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman said the cancellation was not a city issue.
“Tradex did not cancel this show; the Taboo show did. I really don’t think the city needs to wade into this.
“That’s a contract between Tradex and the Taboo show. In the meantime, I guess Gerda can claim a victory on that if she wishes, but I don’t know if that’s necessarily the reason,” said Banman.
As for the liquor licence concerns, he said it doesn’t so much involve the city but rather the province.
“If they want to change those rules they can apply to the province.”
Dan Stefanson, executive director of Abbotsford Tourism, which runs Tradex for the city, said the news came as a shock.
“We just received a brief message saying we want out, as per the term of our licence agreement, and we honoured that and terminated the contract.”
The fifth annual show was scheduled to take place at Tradex at the end of March.
He said the bigger issue is trying to fill a vacancy with just six weeks to go. The Taboo show has been a controversial subject since it first came to Abbotsford.
The cancellation came on the heels of an announcement that Abbotsford has been granted a team in the Lingerie Football League.
Similar concerns have already been expressed regarding this latest form of entertainment.