Yvonne Barker, the chair of Brighton Pride, has announced she is stepping down from her post and resigning from the board of trustees with immediate effect.
In a statement sent to PinkNews.co.uk, she said she accepted responsibility for the relationship breakdown between Pride and some community groups and local businesses but added that she stood by the board’s position that the event should “refocus” on the needs of the LGBT community.
Brighton Pride has been in turmoil for some time with issues around finance and how the festival should be run. Earlier this year, it announced a £50,000 budget deficit.
Barker accused some “aggressive individuals” of trying to profit from the event and called for “open and transparent” processes for accounting and tendering.
She said: “The aggressive and bullying approach to the Pride trustees and staff adopted by a small number of business and press representatives that are being used on social networking sites and in some of the gay press, and that were displayed at the Pride open meeting on Tuesday evening, is shameful.
“If this is the way that such individuals and organisations behave then they are certainly not the right people to either save Pride or to run the park event.
“I hope that in securing the future of Pride in 2010 and beyond Pride as a charity is able to work with those who genuinely care about all of the LGBT community, and not the small number of aggressive individuals who oppose positive change and that have a vested interest in making money and taking it down a commercial route.”
Robert Clothier, currently vice chair of Pride, is to step in as acting chair.
The Pride board has a scheduled meeting this evening and says it will make an announcement on the next steps in the consultation process.