Several-dozen people protested outside of ICandy Thursday night, hours after a video surfaced of the club's owner using racist language.
Earlier in the day, a YouTube user called Gay by Gay posted a video of Darryl DePiano, owner of ICandy, using a racial slur multiple times, when talking about patrons who request drink passes. DePiano confirmed to PGN he made the comments and issued an apology on his personal Facebook page.
At Thursday's demonstration, protestors passed out "Anti-Black Drink Tickets," which contained DePiano's quotes from the video.
The action was organized by the Black and Brown Workers Collective, a representative of which was not immediately available for comment.
The hashtag #BoycottICandy began circulating on social media shortly after the video was posted. Event producer Josh Schonewolf announced Thursday he was pulling all of his events from ICandy and rescheduling them at other venues.
The board of directors of Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club issued a statement Thursday night announcing an “organizational boycott” of ICandy. The venue will be removed from the club’s upcoming get-out-the-vote bar crawl, and the organization will not host or participate in any events at ICandy, the statement said.
“The comments made by the owner of ICandy, an establishment that presents itself as a safe space for a vulnerable community, are only a symptom of a much deeper problem in our community,” the board wrote, adding its members plan to use the club’s platform to “call out racism we see in our community, and we plan to do as much as we can do to make space at our table for communities of color.”
Philly Pride Presents also took action. At the Oct. 9 OutFest, ICandy will not have its usual outdoor presence and will not be promoted as a sponsor on the event's website; printed materials listings OutFest sponsors have already been finalized, Philly Pride Presents executive director Franny Price wrote on social media.
The reaction comes after BBWC's protest last week outside of ICandy, which was part of a wider demonstration against racism in the Gayborhood. At that protest, BBWC members left Timberland boots outside the club, in reference to a complaint earlier this year that ICandy enacted a dress-code policy preventing such shoes; management denied it had a brand-specific dress-code policy.
BBWC has called for an official response from the Office of LGBT Affairs to reports of racism at ICandy and Woody's. On Thursday, the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, which investigates potential violations of the city's LGBT-inclusive anti-bias law, announced it will host a public hearing next month to address racism and discrimination in the LGBT community.
The public meeting will be held 6 p.m. Oct. 25 at Liberty Resources, 112 N. Eighth St., Suite 600. According to a press release about the meeting, the Office of LGBT Affairs will reach out to stakeholders and community groups to inform them of the meeting and encourage written testimony.
"My office is committed to combatting systems of oppression based on racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, transphobia and all forms of bias and discrimination," Office of LGBT Affairs director Nellie Fitzpatrick said in a statement.
PCHR executive director Rue Landau called the recent events in the Gayborhood and South Philadelphia — in which a gay couple was reportedly the target of homophobia language and harassment by a neighbor — "offensive and appalling."