Calgary

Twisted Element owners ordered to remove giant pride flag

The owners of a gay nightclub in Calgary are crying foul after being ordered by their landlord to remove a giant pride flag hung outside the building to support victims of the Orlando mass shooting.

Flag was put up Sunday to honour victims of Orlando gay nightclub shooting

Twisted Element was ordered to remove a giant pride flag that hung outside the nightclub to honour victims of the Orlando mass shooting. (John Gibson/CBC)

The owners of a gay nightclub in Calgary are crying foul after being ordered by their landlord to remove a giant pride flag hung outside the building to support victims of the Orlando mass shooting.

"It's truly sad and I'm extremely, extremely angry about this," Twisted Element owner RayJean Fafard said in a video posted to social media of the flag being taken down.

"Sorry to all my gay community."

But the lawyer representing the building's owner said the flag was ordered down because the nightclub owners didn't seek proper permission before putting it up.

"It has been our pleasure to have Twisted Element bar as our tenant for almost 10 years," reads a statement from Jonathan Denis on behalf of building owner Trevor Tomanik.


"The building has another tenant on the second floor and the lease requires that any exterior signage be approved. In this case, the flag that Twisted Element put up covered windows on the second floor.

"We are willing to work with Twisted Element and the LGBTQ community to develop a compromise where they can display their pride flag without covering windows of other tenants."

Fafard said he also wants to see the flag go back up.

"I'm at a loss right now, to me, I was doing a good thing in support and solidarity of the gay community around the world and for Orlando," he said.

"I would love to put it back up. I'm a very reasonable person ... it's up to him to contact me."

Denis issued a statement Wednesday afternoon saying Tomanik had spoken to Fafard and "we're working together on a permanent solution whereby more pride flags can be displayed on the building."

Another tenant is renting space on the upper floor of the building, said Denis, however ongoing renovations mean they are not occupying it. 

Twisted Element owner RayJean Fafard says many people in Calgary's LGBT community have been affected by the tragedy in Orlando. (CBC)

"Had there been tenants, I'm not that stupid to have done that," Fafard said. "I would have gone and asked them at the very least, or I would not have put it up on that side of the building. There are no tenants upstairs — there hasn't been for over two years."

Measuring several metres across, the flag was put up Sunday in support victims of the Orlando shooting that saw 49 people killed and 53 injured when a gunman attacked a gay nightclub there.

The tragedy may have unfolded thousands of kilometres from Calgary but it hit close to home for the LGBT community here, said Fafard.

"I have a lot of my clientele who have been to that nightclub," he said.

"One of my customers' best friend's boyfriend is actually one of the guys who got shot and killed, so it's not like it's a distance where we don't know anybody. We know people there."

The flag was removed Tuesday evening.

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