The top 5 finalists for Mr Gay World 2019, won by Janjep Carlos of the Philippines, left. Phando Jikelo African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Cape Town has lost its title as a gay-friendly city after an unfriendly falling-out with the organisers of Mr Gay World 2020 over sponsorship.

Such is the bitterness over the City’s handling of the negotiations to host the event, that the organisers said next year’s event would be the last in the city, after deciding on Knysna to host the next pageant.

Spokesperson for Mr Gay World Gilbert Martin said: “We moved the event to the Garden Route because we felt that the City of Cape Town really left us in the lurch when the representatives of council approached Mr Eric Butter, the president of Mr Gay World and requested him to allow Cape Town to host the event for three years.

“When we presented our event sponsorship request to them, they came back with 10% of the budget for the event, and this in the form of services.” According to the event organisers, the proposed budget was insufficient.

“This was not possible to do, as this would have burdened our sponsors’ and the local organising committee’s finances. All countries that host events of this magnitude generally fund at least 60-80% of the event. Apart from this, we had to let down two other host countries that wanted to host the event because Cape Town approached us and asked us to bring the event to the city for three years,” Martin said.

The international contest is expected to take place from April 26, 2020 to May 3. The contest will see a stellar line-up of gay men from around the globe compete for the prestigious Mr Gay title. The competition also serves as a platform to address issues around homophobia .

This will be the third time that the event will be hosted in Knysna and the fifth time in South Africa. According to Martin, talks with the City have left the organisers in a bitter mood.

“The request was never for cash, but to sponsor the main components of the event as well as providing logistics, security and standard city services to the delegates. This will be the last year that Mr. Gay World will be hosted in South Africa, due to this and previous issues with the City of Cape Town. We are grateful to Knysna for saving the day for us,” he said.

The event also offers a massive tourist injection to the town as delegates from across the world descends on the town for the glitzy event.

“Cape Town really missed the mark and opportunity here, and in so doing also lost a huge ongoing injection into the local communities and the city itself.

“We are really shattered by their response ,” Martin said.

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said: “Following the success of the event, the City had shown interest in retaining the Mr Gay World competition in Cape Town.

Event organisers were also informed that they would have to submit an application for support, just like any other event, and follow the legislative process. The event organisers were also made aware that the City is not able to fund the full budget of any event.

“The City is disappointed that Mr Gay World 2020 will not be held in the Mother City, but we are more disappointed in the reasons divulged by the event organiser.”

@MarvinCharles17

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Cape Argus