The managers of an LGBTQ club in Providence, R.I. are “very disappointed” with the last-minute cancellation of a fund-raiser for the openly gay presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg.

The event, which was scheduled for Friday evening at the Dark Lady, had been widely promoted on social media. It was supposed to feature Buttigieg’s husband, Chasten, as its headliner.

But after representatives for the Buttigieg campaign arrived at the bar “20 minutes before our staff was scheduled to arrive, they came in and asked us to remove the dancer pole,” Buck Asprinio, the bar’s general manager told local news station WPRI 12.

The Dark Lady refused to do so. The poll has been part of the bar since it opened its doors, and “it’s not going anywhere,” he said.

The Buttigieg campaign felt they didn’t want to be connected to it, and decided to move the event over to the Hotel Providence, a non-LGBTQ bar across the street.

That’s a great venue, according to Asprinio. “But it’s a straight venue, versus an LGBTQ+ venue where everybody is welcome,” he added. “To be an openly gay candidate for president, I would think they would want to show support for their own community.

Buttigieg’s campaign didn’t deny the Dark Lady’s account of events, but didn’t provide any reasons for the venue change.

“Unfortunately we had to relocate this evening’s event,” a statement shared with media outlets read. “We are grateful to the enthusiastic and dedicated supporters that joined us tonight in Providence.”

Asprinio added that he had sent pictures of the club to the campaign, and “they knew exactly what the place looked like,” he said. “We thought the fund-raiser was going forward at full force.”

The former mayor of South Bend, Ind., has been one of the favorites in the polls to win the ever-important contests of Iowa and New Hampshire.

The incident could cost the mayor some much needed voting love, just 17 days before the Iowa caucus officially opens the race.

“It was kind of bizarre,” Asprinio said. “We were confused and angry.”


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