I heard from Ian Johnson of OutNow again last week and he clued me in on the identity of the "low level" SCPRT who had supposedly resigned. When I hear it from the mouth of the employee in question, Rand Romaine, that he has indeed left his job (and not been reassigned somewhere else, promoted or demoted in the SCPRT), then I'll believe it.
And by the by, everybody in England got paid...in full...except SC's middleman for this kind of thing TTM World. And the posters are still hanging in their display cases in the London Tube.
From the friendly folks at UK Gay News and Q-Notes, you'll find more details about this nonsense:
South Carolina ‘So Gay’ Campaign: Who Really Did What?
Employee forced to resign was not ‘low level’
By UK Gay News | Article Date: 7/26/2008 6:00 AM
There was further intrigue in the ongoing saga over the ‘So Gay’ poster campaign on two London Underground stations that the South Carolina Parks Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT) Department has been involved in during the past two weeks, it has emerged.
And there is considerable doubt over some statements that were made in South Carolina regarding the controversy.
According to Out Now, the agency that created the ‘So Gay’ advertising campaign for gay travel specialist, Amro Worldwide, there have been incorrect statements made by the office headed by Chad Prosser of the SCPRT.
“The employee forced to resign is by no means a ‘low level’ employee, as was very widely reported last week by official SCPRT spokespeople,” said Ian Johnson, chief executive officer of Out Now.
“That person who approved the ‘So Gay’ advertising campaign, and was later forced to resign by SCPRT, is the International Sales Manager, responsible for the UK, a person with more than a decade of management experience and an immense amount of respect within the global tourism marketing community,” Johnson revealed.
[While Johnson declined to name the employee, Q-Notes names him as Randolph Romaine, an international sales manager responsible for the U.K. market and others, “a class three economic development manager according to other state documents”, according to Q-Notes.]
“To hear reports that a ‘low level’ employee resigned gives the public the wrong impression that this campaign did not get approved by proper decision making channels,” he added.
“That is not the case. The correct decision maker made a business decision to proceed with the campaign. There is no way this person can be described as ‘low level’.
“At all times everyone involved in the process—Out Now, Amro Worldwide, the SCPRT London reps and the International Sales Manager at SCPRT made decisions based on what is best for increasing revenues for the South Carolina tourism industry.
“What changed two weeks ago is that politicians decided to involve themselves, and it was then that a resignation was forced with the ‘official’ reports emanating from the office headed by Chad Prosser being that this employee was a ‘low level’ one,” he said.
According to the chief executive of Amro Worldwide, Andrew Roberts, his company have been paid in full for the campaign. Last week, both politicians and official in the State capital Columbia publicly said that the bill of just under $5,000 would not be paid.
“Amro Worldwide has received full payment from the London representatives of SCPRT, a company called Travel and Tourism Marketing—TTM World—who have acted in the utmost good faith at every stage in the advertising approval process,” said Roberts.
“Amro Worldwide is currently considering reimbursing TTM World for their loss, but we think it quite disgraceful that an official State government body would behave in this manner.
“Not paying representatives and forcing a senior manager to resign seems out of all proportion with our simple but effective gay travel marketing campaign.
“On top of all that, it saddens me that the hard working folk in the SC tourism industry, who this campaign was designed to help, look set to suffer loss for years to come due to the homophobic reaction of their elected representatives,” Roberts added.
Johnson said the saga looked like “a clear case of political interference, pure and simple.
“In an election year, in a ‘red’ [Republican] State, you have politicians thinking there might be a few votes in a bit of gay bashing.
“Not a good look for the majority of South Carolinians who, judging from the many supportive messages received by both Out Now and Amro Worldwide, are appalled by the conduct of their elected representatives.”
Last week, the organisers of South Carolina Gay Pride launched a fundraising campaign to raise the $5,000 that the State is refusing to pay as, according to Ray Wilson “the ‘word’ of South Carolina can’t be trusted—we believe it is the right thing to do, to repay this debt.”
In five days, the appeal has raised just over $1,000.
The fundraising will continue, said Pride spokesperson Ryan Wilson. “The London representative of SCPRT has paid Amro, but the State Treasurer’s Office has not paid Travel and Tourism Marketing—TTM World,” he pointed out.