In an era of growing LGBT acceptance, perhaps the only thing controversial about Atlanta’s upcoming Pride festival is the now-annual Kickoff Bash at the Georgia Aquarium.
Animal rights activists, led by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, are protesting the event and out actress Jane Lynch even weighed in by sending a letter to the Atlanta Pride Committee’s Buck Cooke, urging Cooke to relocate the annual party over concerns for the animals’ well-being.
“Many of the marine mammals at the aquarium are extremely sensitive to sound, and large parties create an even more stressful environment than they already endure in captivity. … Since the kickoff party sets the tone for all of Pride, will you please consider moving it to one of the many alternative venues that Atlanta has to offer?” Lynch wrote.
Lynch’s letter followed a flurry of attention the party received last year over similar concerns over noise and how it affects the animals. PETA, at the time, called the event “a celebration of freedom in a building that celebrates captivity.”
The Atlanta Pride Committee today announced the hiring of Buck Cooke as the interim events manager. Cooke will handle the day-to-day operations of the APC during the search process for a new executive director.
The organization's previous executive director, James Parker Sheffield, stepped down from the position last week to take a job with the Health Initiative, which addresses LGBT health issues.
Cooke has volunteered with the APC in the past, including a recent position as the co-chair of the organization's entertainment committee.