Remarks From Festival Organiser Spark Outrage

2.5.2011
Words by Paul Fontaine
The organiser of the popular national bank holiday festival held at the Westman Islands made remarks about the sexual assault crisis centre Stígamót that many have found patently offensive. While he has since apologised for his remarks, he added that Stígamót was "not above criticism".

The controversy began when Stígamót said they wanted to be present at this year's festival. Reports of sexual assaults at the festival have drawn a lot of attention in the past. Páll Scheving Ingvarsson, organiser of this year's festival, DV reports, said at a town council meeting in the Westman Islands that Stígamót looks for trouble, creating more problems than they solve, and that if Stígamót wanted to come to the festival, they could pay their way in.

In response, Þórunn Þórarinsdóttir, a councillor at Stígamót, said, "This is like saying that when a doctor is on the scene, there are more accidents, and that the doctor somehow causes people to be hurt."

The remarks also launched the creation of a Facebook group, Stígamót á Þjóðhátíð (Stígamót at the national festival), which at the time of this writing already has over 600 members.

Páll has since issued a classic non-apology, Eyjan reports, saying that he was sorry if people were offended by his remarks, and added that while he respects the work Stígamót does, they are not above criticism. He added that he does not believe sexual assaults are a problem at the festival.

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