The organisers of the British LGBT Awards have denied that they invited Katie Hopkins to the event, despite the fact that she received a VIP invitation.
The controversial columnist appeared at the so-called ‘British LGBT Awards’, organised by Square Peg Media, which took place on Friday 24 April at London’s Landmark Hotel.
Square Peg Media, the organisers of the event have denied that Hopkins was invited, said she either gatecrashed, bought a ticket, or was brought along by another guest.
Their denial came in the wake of comments made by Hopkins in her column for the Sun, in which she said she was unmoved by the plight of hundreds of migrants injured and killed while crossing the Mediterranean.
She wrote: “No, I don’t care. Show me pictures of coffins, show me bodies floating in water, play violins and show me skinny people looking sad. I still don’t care.”
OK let’s get the Gay Oscars on the road. pic.twitter.com/IDWJkLIxXj
— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) April 24, 2015
However Hopkins, who tweeted photos throughout the night, confirmed to PinkNews that she was an invited guest, and provided a copy of her invitation sent by PRD Associates.
In the email she was also offered transport to and from the event. Hopkins confirmed that she and her plus one both took up the offer of transport.
The invitation sent to Katie Hopkins on 13 April PRD was the company which handled PR for the event. The invite was sent on 13 April, and was not cancelled.
Hopkins also wrote in her column in the Sun the day before the event that she planned to attend.
Sarah Garrett, owner of Square Peg Media, wrote on Facebook that Hopkins “was a plus one. no one mentioned to us that she was coming, not from reading the Sun or directly or it would have been dealt with.
“She was not invited by us. And asked to leave. I was furious and am gutted. I’m mostly furious that this woman is getting more attention than all the deserved winners, some of who have dedicated their lives to helping others. I believe she came to stir up attention and publicity and that is what people have helped fuel. Sad times! I’d rather not mention her name again as I don’t want to give her any more undeserved publicity.”
Garrett also said she was unaware of Hopkins’ Sun Column, which is read by 4 million people, because she does not read the paper.
LBC Broadcaster Iain Dale told PinkNews that he was invited as a plus one to the event several days before, and that he was told that Hopkins would be sat on their table.
Speaking to PinkNews, Katie Hopkins said of Square Peg’s denial that she was invited: “I think it is a great pity a group advocating support and tolerance – is so intolerant.
“I went along as an invited guest, and worked hard to engage with supporters, detractors and sponsors of the event.
“I had a lovely evening – and encourage British LGBT Awards to focus on their achievements. I was there as part of the crowd, not the talking point”.
The British LGBT Awards website, in an article about the event, said: “Celebrations were marred by the attendance of Katie Hopkins, who was not invited by Square Peg Media and was asked to leave by the organisers during the ceremony.”
Peter Tatchell, who also attended the event, and said he confronted Hopkins over her comments in the Sun, said: “A member of the audience came up to me to express his outrage at her presence. When I asked, this person said the organisers told him that they had not invited her. He said she must have bought a ticket or been someone’s else’s guest. I assumed this person knew what he was talking about.
“Later, I asked someone who seemed to be one of the organising team. They said Katie was not invited and that she must have either bought her own ticket or been someone’s plus-one. They said they were ‘horrified’ by her presence.”
Coronation Street actor Anthony Cotton, took to Twitter to express his dismay at being invited, then told there was no room for him to attend.
— Antony Cotton (@antonycotton) April 25, 2015
Despite the fact Square Peg Media states that readers of Out in the City and G3 vote in the LGBT awards, the magazines haven’t been published since 2014.
The awards were sponsored by RBS, Royal Air Force, Societe Generale, BNP Paribas, GLAAD, Lush cosmetics, Telegraph Media Group, Unite and The Fertility Center of Las Vegas.
Despite suggestions that Tom Daley, Sir Ian McKellen, Annie Lennox, Joan Collins, Dustin Lance-Black, Alan Carr, Paul O’Grady, Sam Smith, Kylie Minogue and Boy George might attend, it is unclear how many, if any, did.
Last year Coca Cola appeared to be uninvited as a nominee for Brand of the Year at the awards, then called the G3 and Out in the City Readers’ Awards, after the company declined to withdraw its sponsorship of the Sochi Winter Olympics over Russia’s human rights violations.
Square Peg also uninvited Boris Johnson from their World Pride Powerlist dinner over comments he made about the London Arcelor in the Olympic Park, although the Mayor’s spokesman told PinkNews at the time that he had never had any intention of attending.
After PinkNews published this article, organisers Square Peg Media released a statement: “As organisers of the British LGBT awards we would like to apologise to all for allowing Katie Hopkins to enter our awards.
“Once inside there were complaints so we asked her to leave but she refused stating she was there as she supported the LGBT community – we made a decision that it would cause too much fuss to have her forcibly evicted as she was already seated.
“We did state that we had not invited Katie Hopkins as our PR company assured us that she had not personally been invited and came along as a plus one – it was not our intention to mislead anyone and we abhor Katie Hopkins views.”