The E-Day Concert that Wasn’t: The Canadian Association for Equality turns a PR disaster into a PR catastrophe


MRAs seem to think that they can spin their way out of pretty much anything. And on the internet, particularly in their own little echo chamber, they can kind of get away with it. It’s when they venture out into the real world that they run into some trouble.

Take, for example, the mad spinning that accompanied the implosion of the Canadian Association for Equality’s “E Day” concert scheduled for last weekend. CAFE, you may recall, is a Canadian Men’s Rights group that’s probably most famous for organizing a series of talks by Men’s Rights-friendly folks on Canadian campuses that, well, caused a tiny bit of a stir.

Oh, sorry. The group says that even though its “focus is currently on men and boys … [W]e do not consider ourselves a Men’s Rights Group.”

Anyway, so this non-Men’s Rights group decided to hold a concert on Toronto Island celebrating “Equality Day,” a holiday they made up just for the occasion. They found a venue, got some sponsors and even managed to convince a bunch of bands to sign on.

Everything was ready to go until a few days before the concert was scheduled to happen, when some of the people who had been roped into the event discovered just what they had gotten themselves involved with.

A headline from the Huffington Post sums up what happened next with admirable succinctness:

Men's Rights Concert In Toronto Cancelled Upon Discovery It Was A Men's Rights Concert

The exodus from E-Day kicked off after a post appeared on the lefty Canadian news site pointing out what CAFE was really about. Musicians and sponsors quickly distanced themselves from the event, and CAFE lost its venue as well.

CAFE’s response to all this? A press release stating:

CAFE received overwhelming support from musicians, sponsors and the general public for Equality Day. After several months of productive collaboration, the original venue Artscape Gibralter-Point cancelled the use of their location after receiving a small number of misinformed complaints.

That’s a rather … odd way to describe what happened. According to a good number of those who had originally signed on for the concert, it was CAFE that was actively spreading misinformation about their own event and hiding its Men’s Rights agenda.

The musical group Giraffe posted a statement on Facebook saying:

We feel that we were not fully informed about what it was that is being supported here, and also that calling it a festival that celebrates “equality” as opposed to “men’s equality” was intentionally misleading to us in it’s effort to entice us to play this show.

Hogtown Brewers, one of the sponsors, offered a similar explanation for why they pulled out. “We’re kinda surprised that an event that built itself on being for equality turned out to be anything but that,” the president of the company told the The Star. “The minute that it came to our attention that it wasn’t a concert in line with our values, we moved to remove our support. We regret any involvement.”

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Artscape, the venue that was to have originally held the event, told The Globe and Mail that

[t]he premise of the event as it was given to us was a fair and equitable event that was family-friendly and a lovely music festival. It has since turned political and we anticipated that there could be health and safety concerns as well.

Perhaps the most amazing revelation: Jagermeister, which had been listed as a sponsor on CAFE’s publicity materials, said it had never agreed to be part of the event in the first place:

CAFE’s creative, er, spinning continued in an interview the group’s outreach director Denise Fong gave to NowToronto. I’m not even going to summarize this one. Go read it.

A scaled down E-Day celebration of sorts did go ahead last weekend. It consisted of some CAFE volunteers standing on a corner handing out pamphlets and talking to passersby about their support of “boys, men and families.” (That’s a strangely limited notion of equality, huh?)

In their press release last week, CAFE announced that

Equality Day musical activities will be postponed to next Sunday, June 8. Details to be announced.

So far no details have been announced. But, hey, they’ve still got a couple of days to go.

On a totally unrelated note, I will be holding “E-Kwalitee Day” in my apartment sometime this afternoon. I am proud to announce that I have managed to book some outstanding musical acts for this extravaganza. They don’t know it yet, but I have written their names down in my appointment book.

Here’s the headliner:

I support kittens, cats and families. Ask me why!


About David Futrelle

I run the blog We Hunted the Mammoth, which tracks (and mocks) online misogyny. My writing has appeared in a wide variety of places, including Salon,, the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review and Money magazine. I like cats.

Posted on June 5, 2014, in antifeminism, antifeminist women, gross incompetence, lying liars, MRA, oppressed men and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 368 Comments.

  1. Kitteh — he enjoys his partners reactions, particularly if they’re caused by a few painful (but not dangerous) things that the partner enjoys him doing to them. So really, it’s a bit like enjoying how your partner reacts to [insert non-painful sex act here]

    Argenti, I’m looooooost, which bit is this responding to? I has lackafood brain.

  2. Argenti Aertheri

    We had, months upon months ago, discussed ethical sadists. With you questioning how that wasn’t an oxymoron. Seeing how I’m now dating one and remembered that convo and asked him, that last comment I made reminded me, and here we are.

  3. @emilygoddess:

    Is there value to examining our preferences, not to determine whether they are “right” or “wrong,” but just to question some of the attitudes behind them?

    The thing is, I’m pretty sure most of us who are involved in social justice work already strive to do that. I’ve unpacked a lot of my younger disgust with fat bodies, and I know there are several of us who are both kinky and kink-critical, so.

    I’m not sure why you’re pointing this out. Did it seem as if I was arguing the opposite? That wasn’t my intention.

  4. Regarding the race-preference-thread, I might misremember it, since it was a long time ago. But according to my memory, it went down like this: For some reason (don’t remember the beginning of the whole thing at all) a discussion started about people having sexual preferences tied to race. I and certain other people said that you can’t blame someone for their sexual preferences per se, since you don’t really control what turns you on, although you can obviously blame someone for being a racist. I, and others who have said the same thing, got loads of shit thrown at us, because we were supposedly defending people’s right to be racist or something. We were told that if you find yourself having a “racist boner”, than you really ought to try and change that, by, for instance, consciously exposing yourself to media where people of the racial group that you do not now find attractive are presented in an attractive light. Eventually I was like “okay, guess that might be a good idea”, which in hindsight seems like a weird concession, but all these “if that’s the way you are, you’re a RACIST and there’s no defense for that!” or (since I kept repeating that I was speaking hypothetically, not about myself, I don’t have any racial sexual preferences AFAIK) “you’re defending racists!” kept wearing me down.
    I do think, however, that some of the people most heavily involved in that discussion aren’t active on the site anymore. I remember Cassandra was in that thread and kept writing pretty much what she writes in this one, but I seem to remember a gang of people (but possibly my memory plays tricks on me, and they were just a few individuals who kept doing lots and lots of angry posting) who thought that the standpoint that your sexual preferences are not under your direct control and therefore you can’t be obligated to adjust them in a more politically correct direction was a horrible one.

  5. ::lightbulb::

    Oh, I remember! Yes, I hadn’t got past the definition of a sadist as taking pleasure in the other person’s unwillingness/distress as much or more than their physical pain.

  6. Dvarg – my memory’s fuzzy too, but I remember it as one person, who was drunk posting – zir nym was something about time travel, I think? – doing all the “you’re racist/defending racists!” rubbish, at length.

    Strikes me that the other bizarre thing about both the threads is the apparent assumption that everyone’s running around looking for sex with new people. Or am I reading that wrong?

  7. RubyRubyRuby: Ha ha ha, no, I’m not. I’m a woman and feminist.

    I realise this may come as a surprise but being a woman, being a feminist, or even both, doesn’t prevent one from being an asshole; you offer a marvelous proof of it.

    I’m no expert on Janice Raymond but even if people object to some of her problematic criticisms that still doesn’t make her a bad feminist since she has done plenty of good things for women. That’s like saying Edgar Allen Poe is a ‘bad writer’ because of his creepy personal life.

    No, that would be like saying was a bad writer because some of his writing was bad.

  8. Ally: I know how you feel. There was a chunk of time I was thinking of just walking away (and had it not been for those people who were willing to share their concerns with me, I probably would have).

    IF you need distance, take it. If you decide it’s time to go… that’s fine. It’s one of those things none of us can decide for you; and I am not asking you to stay for my part (though I enjoy your presence).

    I just wanted to let you know this isn’t a feeling unique to you, nor that it is a failing.

  9. enhancedvibes

    I found this conversation about examining our physical/sexual attractions to others interesting. I agree with much of what was said. From my own perspective I am actually not interested in dating people who only want to date their race, and don’t really see any problem with that perspective but I wondered what everyone else thinks about that. Im on okc and you can answer a question that asks exactly that and its a yes or no answer choice, “I strongly prefer to date someone of my own race” and the other clincher for me “if I have a child I prefer it be with someone of my own race.” It shouldnt be a surprise that its mostly white men who answer these questions in the affirmative and its a turn off for me.

  10. Haven’t read the other comments yet – had to first express my horror at JohnTheOtter and Straughn invading the comments section at my beloved free weekly paper (NOW). *shudders* Must shower.

  11. Tracy, ewwww!

    ::gives packet of extra-strength Scented Fucking Soap::

  12. Too bad OK Cupid doesn’t have the question “Are you OK with vehicular homicide? Y/N?

  13. Did you get the impression braking wasn’t happening in that scenario? I did.

  14. (Sorry in advance if you weren’t asking me.) While I did not get that impression, braking was indeed not mentioned in the original comment. So it certainly seems to be a reasonable impression.

    Too bad OK Cupid doesn’t have the question “Are you OK with vehicular homicide? Y/N?

    I know this is a mockery site, but enhancedvibes did not state or imply ze would be okay with causing death. If you already knew that, I apologize.

  15. Scott, I was asking hellkell, but thanks for the answer, ‘cos I wondered if it was just me.

  16. cool–no problem

    Oh, I want to say I really enjoy the stories about your cats–they remind me a lot of my cat. :D

  17. Thank you! :)

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