The Taboo Naughty But Nice Show is being cancelled in Abbotsford due to restrictive liquor laws and flack from the fundamentalist Christian community, the event producer announced on Friday.
The successful Taboo sex show was scheduled to take place at Tradex in Abbotsford starting March 29 but was pulled by Canwest Production on Thursday morning.
It would have been the fifth year the adult-only event had come to Abbotsford, often described as the Lower Mainland's Bible Belt.
Canwest has been unable to get the event a roaming liquor licence, which allows patrons to move about the sex show with a drink in hand as they do at the event in seven other Canadian cities, said Sean Libin, Canwest marketing vice president.
The Taboo sex show also been subject to "push-back" from an increasingly vocal group of Christian fundamentalists, led in large part by former Abbotsford mayoral candidate Gerda Peachey, said Libin.
Canwest president Peter Kiddell said the Taboo show has been accused of harming the community's family values and that it could lead to an increase in crime.
Canwest had a responsibility to be a good community
partner and Taboo was just one of the shows it produces.
"But we also have an obligation to provide the best and most entertaining and educational experience for our guests and most positive business experience for our hundreds of exhibitors," said Kiddell.
Peachey's most recent call to the city to cancel the show took place at the Abbotsford council meeting on Feb. 6.
She noted the city has made moral decisions in the past, such denying additional slot machine to Chances Community Gaming Centre, and should vet events at Tradex based on "standards of decency."
Peachey said the show's cancellation was a complete surprise.
"I expected this to be a long and dreary endeavour. I got off the phone [after hearing the news] and cried because it was so unexpected."
After recovering from the shock, Peachy questioned Canwest's explanation the show had been canned due to her efforts and those of an increasing vocal group of Christian fundamentalists.
"I know I am not that significant. Yes, I was fighting this, but who am I?" asked Peachey.
"My following? The only one following me is my cat Jennifer. There's no way I brought that show down."
Peachey isn't aware of any other Christian group that was actively and publicly opposing the Taboo show.
She suspects the cancellation has more to do with the desired liquor licence and that the market for the sex show, recently held in Vancouver, is saturated.
"It has everything to do with the probability that the show wasn't going to be financially viable," said Peachey.
Abbotsford city manager Frank Pizzuto said council has empowered the operators of Tradex and the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre to make the decisions about what events are booked at the venues.
"Tradex is an independent facility with its own board, and they make decisions about what shows they want to bring in," said Pizzuto.
"We believe these facilities can be run independently and they should be. If you believe you've got good governing bodies in place to run these facilities, you should not intervene."
Dan Stefanson, executive director of Tourism Abbotsford, which runs Tradex, said the show's cancellation will cost the venue $38,000 in lost revenue and generate a significant financial hole. The cancellation of the show will also mean lost employment and revenue spent at area businesses.
"There will be a gap in our budget now by all accounts," said Stefanson, adding Canwest gave no reasons for why it was cancelling the show.
"The minute they pulled the contract we immediately started selling those dates but it's a very short period of time to replace such a high yield show."
He hadn't been aware of Canwest's concerns regarding the liquor restrictions and community opposition.
"It appeared to be something internal with the show and it doesn't appear to be a criticism of our venue."
According to Canwest, Tradex has repeatedly asked for a roaming liquor licence from the City of Abbotsford but has been refused. Stefanson said Tradex has been working on some modifications to its liquor licences, but hadn't yet made any requests to the city.
Canwest lost its deposit for the show but cancelled the event within the contract's required timeframe, he said.
Canwest plans to work with city council and Peachey to address concerns and address the feasibility of bringing the Taboo show back in the future, said Kiddell.
Canwest lost its deposit for booking the show but cancelled the event within the required timeframe.