Rupert Everett to lead Sydney Mardi Gras
Gay actor Rupert Everett will be this year’s Chief of Parade at the Sydney Gay Lesbian Mardi Gras.
The parade kicks off on Saturday, and will be broadcast live on the internet.
This year’s Mardi Gras, the 29th, has been accused of being too commercial.
As well as the parade, there is a month-long cultural festival, a Fair Day and a several dance parties.
Everett will be promoting his kiss-and-tell book Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins, in which he reveals his sexual relationships with female stars such as Susan Sarandon.
Earlier this year a dating website for lesbians accused the organisers of Mardi Gras of pandering to commercial interests at the expense of community spirit.
The Pink Sofa says its members have been refused permission to participate in the Fair day and parade events because the festival is sponsored by dating site Gaydar.
Mardi Gras organisers hit back, saying that the lesbian site is a commercial operation in direct competition with their sponsor, and not a community group.
The tourist boards of Queensland and Tasmania had been refused entry to the Fair Day event because it was being financially backed by the New South Wales tourist board.
Mardi Gras organisers backed down and allowed all three organisations to attend the event.
In 2002, Mardi Gras was almost bankrupt, and the community-based management of the board became more commercially savvy to ensure the survival of the festival.
Mardi Gras chairman Marcus Bourget told the Sydney Morning Herald. that with a turnover of AU$3m (£1.18m) the festival needed serious commercial sponsors like Gaydar.