Several artists have canceled their performances at Houston’s Whatever Fest following a transphobic Facebook post made by its founder Jason Price, the Houston Press reports. The performers that have dropped out include local bands Giant Kitty, Rose Ette, and Roky Moon and BOLT!, as well as the celebrated stand-up comic Hari Kondabolu.
A handful of artists have pulled out of Houston Whatever Fest following a Facebook post by its founder Jason Price that many people have interpreted as disparaging to the transgender community.
Houston’s Roologic Records announced on Facebook that local punk act Giant Kitty will be cancelling their appearance at the festival, which is scheduled for April 1 and 2 around 8th Wonder Brewery. Two more of the label’s acts, Genesis BLU and SoBe Lash, are also dropping out in solidarity.
“The transphobic comments at the center of the controversy was hateful and heartbreaking,” said the statement.
Rose Ette, and Roky Moon and BOLT!, as well as the celebrated stand-up comic Hari Kondabolu have also dropped out due to Price’s comments. “We definitely looked to [Giant Kitty] because they are sort of at the front lines of the community that’s affected by the situation,” Roologic head Ruben Jiminez told the Press. Kondabolu announced his cancellation on Twitter Tuesday evening, linking to the Press’ coverage of the controversy.
Whatever Fest will be held on April 1 and 2, featuring performances from AWOLNation, Ghostface Killah, Cold War Kids, American Football, and others. Last week, co-founder Jason Price posted to Facebook a photo of an apparently transgender woman standing in an airport security line, with the caption “I mean, I know it’s Vegas and anything can happen here and does, but he should really be wearing some more clothes going through security at the airport. Yes, I did say HE.”
Price’s post has since been deleted, but not before being shared multiple times and provoking dozens of incensed comments. Late Friday night, he posted the following apology:
Before he even posted his apology on Facebook Friday evening, Price said he attended a meeting at the offices of HATCH Youth, an offshoot of the nonprofit Montrose Center that is dedicated to empowering and creating a safe social environment for LGBTQ young people between the ages of 13 and 20.
There, Price says, “I apologized, and then, you know, what I told them is, ‘I want something out of this crappy, negative situation; I want something positive to come out of it.’”
Price says some people at the meeting, which included members of Giant Kitty, were more receptive to his apology than others, and admits there was a fair amount of heated discussion. Some possible methods of making amends, such as making a donation or setting up an information booth at the festival, met with a lukewarm reception, the feeling being they came across as somewhat insincere, he adds. However, when someone else floated the idea of having some HATCH regulars volunteer at the event, Price says the room lit up in agreement.
“So those were basically the action items that we left the room [with], [that] we’re gonna put out there and push,” he says.