Dutch 'gay village' a hoax
A ‘gay village’ for lesbian, gay, and transgender people in the Dutch town of Tilburg has proved to be an elaborate marketing hoax.
Plans for a ‘gay village' to be built in the Netherlands town of Tilburg were announced earlier this week.
The initiative was supported by slick marketing material and a feature-packed website which included promotional videos.
The brains behind the stunt were the Pink Monday Foundation – a group that organises a gay festival during the Tilburg summer festival.
Pink Monday Foundation had even gathered endorsements from the local mayor and a property developer to give the project and website more authenticity.
The hoax was so well-planned many media outlets fell for the ruse, including The Independent and Huffington Post.
According to the website, the ‘gay village’ was supposed to provide a protected community for the LGBTI community.
Thousands of Dutch people took to Twitter to denounce the planned development, describing it as a 'gay ghetto' and saying there was no need for a special area to protect LGBTI people.
Pink Monday broke the news that the village was a hoax on Thursday, saying the community reaction was just as they had expected and they wanted to highlight community attitudes to LGBTI people.
"The negative reactions we got are positive for Pink Monday. We are happy that people think a gay village is a crazy idea."
Dutch media have condemned the stunt, and in particular, the local mayor’s involvement in the scam.
"We are extremely annoyed by the way the Tilburg council handled the matter," NOS and Amsterdam-based NRC wrote in a joint letter.
"The Tilburg municipality deliberately misled the press and allowed them to publish incorrect information,".
The Tilburg Mayor, Peter Noordanus, responded by saying he had underestimated the impact of his quote, and suggested he was involved as he wanted to draw attention to gay rights, not deceive the media.
"I did this with the aim of drawing attention to gay rights and not to trick the media and society... That's what happened and that's annoying."