Ottawa Venue Outlines Inclusivity Policy in Response to Black Pussy Show

Ottawa Venue Outlines Inclusivity Policy in Response to Black Pussy Show
Earlier this year, Portland rockers Black Pussy sparked national name-related controversy after announcing a string of Canadian dates as part of a North American tour. Online protests and a petition with more than 1,700 signatures ensued, and Winnipeg band Black Hearted even removed themselves from the bill as the openers for the show in their hometown earlier this month.
 
Now, CBC has reported that Ottawa venue House of TARG has implemented a new inclusivity policy as a result of Black Pussy's May 15 show.
 
In a Facebook post from May 31, defending their decision to host the band, House of Targ wrote:
 
It is important to realize that a band name that some people find offensive does not automatically make a band racist or misogynist. We would never tolerate any serious or heartfelt hate speech/action on our stage but it is impossible for us to turn down shows by every band that has an edgy or insensitive name — it is also impossible for us to speak on the band's behalf. Our venue is providing a safe harassment-free space where people can experience a show — we believe our audience is able to make a choice when they decide whether they will support/attend the show or not without threatening to boycott our venue or refer to us in a derogatory manner.
 
The post generated more than 140 responses in the comments, and yesterday (June 24), the venue posted another Facebook note from owner Paul Granger that revealed an eight-point inclusivity plan.
 
"I have learned that part of my responsibility as an owner/booker at TARG is to listen to the voices in our community and ALWAYS work on helping/improving our space in anyway possible," he wrote before outlining the eight steps.
 
They include hosting a monthly workshop to discuss topics like censorship, racism, decolonization and community accountability; creating a space for customers to bring concerns forth anonymously; posting a mission statement outlining TARG's core values around the venue space; moderating social media to comply with the business's values; being more "thorough and intentional" in future bookings; actively seeking out and supporting POC artists; offering safe space training to employees; and contributing space, time and fundraising to charitable efforts in the community.

You can read the full post here.