St John’s: Group denies homophobia after billboard sparks outrage

Opera on the Avalon’s billboard promoting its upcoming production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was removed Wednesday, after some complained it had a homophobic message.

The opera company has been criticized for a billboard advertising its coming production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” featuring the tagline, “Filled with more fairies than St. John’s on Pride Day.” The sign, which was located on Bonaventure Avenue, across from the Re/Max Centre, was taken down Wednesday afternoon.

“It wasn’t meant to be hurtful or harmful,” explained Opera on the Avalon artistic director Cheryl Hickman. “It was supposed to be witty. We are horrified, because it was never our intention to offend anyone, and we apologize to anyone we may have offended.”

Hickman said the organization made the decision to remove the billboard, no matter what the cost, as soon as it received the first complaint about it. She told The Telegram she feels the offence taken at the billboard was likely due to a misunderstanding of the opera art form, which celebrates life and people in big themes, much like pride parades…