Colours of Ostrava sparks controversy by allegedly banning rainbow items

The festival denies that it has a policy against showing support for the LGBTQ+ community. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 21.07.2023 10:00:00 (updated on 21.07.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Colours of Ostrava music festival is under scrutiny after reports of discrimination against visitors wearing rainbow-colored items. According to several witnesses, festival security refused entry to some individuals based on their rainbow-themed clothing or objects.

Festival management has denied the allegations, but news site Deník N, which first reported the story, claims to have an audio recording confirming the policy. In the recording, a security guard can be heard telling a visitor that he cannot enter with his visibly tied rainbow belt due to a ban against promotional materials.

Security guard compares rainbow to swastika

The security guard justifies the decision by stating, "We don't allow anything like that. If you had a swastika here, I won't let you in there either. It promotes something, some idea." The guard added that he was following instructions and "just doing [his] job.”

When a supervisor was summoned to address the situation, they questioned the meaning of the rainbow belt and whether it represented a political opinion. After the visitor refused to comply with this line of questioning, they were eventually allowed entry provided that they kept the rainbow belt hidden from view.

Another festivalgoer shared a similar experience, claiming that security prevented her from bringing in a rainbow gymnastics ribbon, categorizing it as LGBTQ+ promotion. She later decided to flaunt the ribbon within the festival premises and received support from a stranger who had faced a similar situation the previous year with a rainbow flag.

Festival says there is no anti-rainbow policy

The festival management denies any policy banning rainbow objects. "Of course, we have no such regulation banning rainbow objects and we are not aware of the case you write about," Colours of Ostrava spokesman Jiří Sedlák said. The festival does ban objects with symbols prohibited by law, including racist and defamatory symbols, as well as the promotion of non-official partners and political parties without prior agreement, he said.

The Deník N story has had a large response on social media."Colours without colors this year. To compare the swastika with the rainbow flag, which is a symbol of equality and respect, is truly outrageous," Danuše Nerudová, an economist and former presidential candidate, tweeted. Parliament member Michaela Šebelová tweeted that LGBTQ+ isn't an ideology.

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