I’ve been doing some more research on Vancouver’s W2 media centre. When I wrote my first article about them back in May, I discovered that they were hosting a sadomasochist party in their basement. The party featured ‘kissing booths’ where partiers engaged in sexual activities and drug consumption. I got a lot of flack for that article- Irwin Oostinde, the W2’s director, went as far as to suggest I was mentally ill. Obviously I’d hit a nerve.
I forgot about the story until last week when I discovered that W2 (whose space was taxpayer subsidized) had made a significant donation to the mayor’s political party by purchasing a table at one of their fundraisers. W2 has been losing money and were not paying their bills, it’s time for Vision Vancouver to give the money back. Not only was the donation a conflict of interest, but it seems wrong for a political party to be taking money that was earned through hosting BDSM clubs…
The screenshot at the top of this article came from an advertisement W2 placed in Xtra!. I was quite shocked when I found it last night- if you read through, you will notice that they actually promoted themselves as a space for BDSM (Bondage, Domination & Sadomasochism) club. Wow- who would have thought that Oostinde would have been so dumb as to let this happen. Particularly considering the W2 also ran summer kids camps.
The people at W2 took another tactic to defend these parties- denying that sex and sadomasochism never occurred on the premises. I had confirmed with someone who was there that sex (and drug use) occurred in the ‘kissing booths’- but, this didn’t seem to be enough for some people. Georgia Straight writer Kevin Dale McKeown chimed-in on this a couple of days ago.
Well, today, I have some more solid evidence that sex and sadomasochist acts did occur on W2’s premises- and I have the screenshots to prove it. Let’s start with this one:
You can find some more detail about what happened during William’s use of W2 on this link. The courses appear to be more discussion based, and there’s no evidence of actual sex and sadomasochism though. This next event, however, seems to be a lot less ‘innocent’.
As you can see, the person who posted this on W2’s website was a bit less careful about what they wrote. The party features “BDSM play”, “Sex play”, and “even dancing!”. So, obviously, sex and sadomasochistic acts have taken place on W2’s premise- there’s no confusion now.
Not that there’s anything wrong with it…
And, there isn’t- like many people, I have no objections to what adults decide to do with each other in private. As long as it is consensual- what two (or fifty) people decide to do between themselves is none of anyone’s business. That said, things change when they’re doing what they do in a city-funded space that was supposed to be used for the city’s poor.
Jamie Lee Hamilton (who was a witness in Vancouver’s Missing Women’s Inquiry) made a very important point on a Facebook posting on Saturday:
Yes, indeed, running a ‘torture party’ at a city-owned space in the same neighbourhood where women have been routinely kidnapped and tortured is – at best – tacky. It’s also a major scandal. I informed mayor Gregor Robertson about this situation back in May, and it wasn’t until the W2 ran out of money that he took any action. It appears that poor management of funds is a more important issue to the mayor than the misuse of the space for torture parties.
I learned a few more things about the W2 since my last article. First, W2’s management had neglected to pay their condo/strata fees for the building- the rent was free, but they were responsible to pay this $85,000 charge. Even more interesting is that, while Gregor Robertson was talking at the W2 on Friday- Sid Tan, the director of W2’s board, was in a meeting with someone from the Canadian Revenue Agency (talking about political donations?). And, last, while Robertson was speaking on Friday, the Vancouver Police had sent in an undercover police officer to protect him.
I’ll leave you with a screenshot of a poster for one of the W2’s sex parties. It’s quite relevant considering Hamilton’s comments on the Pickton carnage…