W2Gate: An Update On Vancouver’s City Funded DTES Sadomasochist Club…

They actually promoted it…

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…

Permanent link to this article: http://www.genuinewitty.com/2012/12/10/w2gate-an-update-on-vancouvers-city-funded-dtes-sadomasochist-club-feat-gregor-robertson-jamie-lee-hamilton/

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    • sheray on December 11, 2012 at 13:30
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    This reminds me of a personal situation I recently experienced while working for a non profit organization as an outreach support worker for sex workers in my community. I was dumbfounded and sickened to learn one of my fellow coworkers/support workers was happily promoting herself on a fetish website that depicted herself as a little girl who liked getting bound and beaten. Her words under one of her pictures was the harder you beat me, the harder I ****. This woman was on the same website that the detective Jim Brown was also on. I have heard of the worst kinds of violence on sex workers, we have lost several sex workers in the city I live, and many have gone missing over the years that know one really pieces together as part of a larger picture. I no longer work for the organization as the situation was not dealt with in an ethical, professional or empathetic manner. People need to put aside their selfish need to indulge in entertainment that depict violence especially while attempting to support/fundraise for the safety of sex workers or marginalized peoples.

  1. What is your evidence linking what Jamie Lee Hamilton has said (also without evidence) to the Dead Sexy Queered party that happened two years ago? [Spoiler: Oh wait, there isn’t any.]

    I ask as someone who attended the annual DSQ party once, when it was at another venue. This is after attending fetish/BDSM parties on a regular basis from when I first arrived in this province until approximately two years ago. The people who attend these events were/are like family to me.

    I ask as someone whose heart fell to the pit of their stomach when the last major media story linking Pickton to local BDSM aired this past Summer, as I knew/know almost everyone involved, and myself am involved in it as a former acquaintance of nearly everyone whose privacy was stripped away during investigations (some of whom, honestly, had it coming to them).

    I ask as someone who is a former sex worker.

    I ask as someone who lived in a homeless shelter with at least one of the serial murder victims of a second serial murderer whose suspected spree took the lives of 70 women (most of whom were Aboriginal), over the identical timeline as Pickton’s, though because he denies his involvement, no one seems to care so much about that story.

    You are making some very serious accusations without any basis on which to found them.

    Are there parties happening at W2? Yes.

    Are some of these parties considered tacky or unsavoury? Yes. BDSM is hardly considered a normative sexual appetite. Throw in words like “any gender”, and organizations like REAL Women of Canada will begin suggesting that there are pedophiles running around in there, with absolutely no evidence on which to base this accusation (their position is that transsexuals are pedophiles, and I’m not even exaggerating).

    Are some of these parties happening under the conditions Jamie Lee Hamilton has described? I don’t know, but if there are, they need to be taken seriously. If there are, why aren’t the police investigating these claims? We all found out this Summer just how seriously they take these claims, when at least THREE separate RCMP and police detachments were pooled together to deal with the accusations that reached a national platform in the evening news in at least three media outlets. I didn’t even go to police because I didn’t know if what I had to say was important enough for them to hear — they came to me.

    Are they the same events as the publicly advertised events you have posted screenshots of? No. I can promise you with certainty that they aren’t.

    1. From what I read in Jamie Lee’s posting here, I don’t think she connected volunteers with the parties- they are two separate issues. That said, I can’t speak for her, and perhaps she believes they are connected. You will have to ask her…

      I’m assuming that the story you’re referring to is the RCMP Jim Brown one? Personally, I believe that case makes the case of what happened at the W2 that more relevant.

      Let’s put this situation through the ‘Harper Test’. If PM Harper held a BDSM night on government property, would that be a reasonable story to cover? What’s different in this case- only that we’re talking about city government and Irwin Oostinde. Everyone knows that it’s a scandal when someone uses government resources to host a BDSM party- don’t they?

      And, isn’t it about as perverse as needle play to know that some of these funds went to a Vision Vancouver fundraiser?

      1. Where is your evidence?

        You’re saying government resources were used to host a BDSM party — prove it.

        You want to know about Brown? Why don’t you take a few minutes, navigate that cursor over to my blog, and click on “#RCMP/VPD”. It’s located at the top of every page of my blog (even media). Aside from one other blog writer, or Brown himself, I sincerely don’t think you could find someone more intimately involved in that entire scandal.

        Again, I raised that as an example of how seriously authorities treat accusations like the ones contained in this blog post. What other relevance does it have? Can you demonstrate that relevance somehow?

        1. The parties described themselves as being BDSM parties. W2 has put up ads in Xtra! promoting themselves as a BDSM venue. The city provides the space to W2.

          What’s there not to understand about this?

          And, why is this a scandal? Because, anytime someone uses government resources for a BDSM sex party, it’s a scandal. It’s even more of a scandal when the government subsidized venue uses their earnings to donate to a political party- doesn’t it? Particularly if that party is responsible for approving the subsidy. This is just common sense- it’s a shame that the people behind this mess (on the W2 and government side) didn’t figure this out before it all happened.

          1. It’s a shame it took you two full years to figure it out, yet you think everyone else hasn’t.

          2. You’re not making sense- are you just upset and sulking? Anger problems perhaps?

    2. Just to clarify my intention in posting this article.Accusations have been made, because they are very serious we must have an independent investigation.

      1. Who are the sources? I don’t think it would or even should take an independent investigator to determine THAT much. If a conflict of interest should be discovered through that process, then by all means. Find and appoint an independent.

        1. My source for the conflict of interest came from a story Jeff Lee put out in the Vancouver Sun. His story was based on a list of donors to tables at a Vision Vancouver fundraiser. W2 bought a table- that’s quite expensive. It’s also a total scandal- if, to use the words of W2 board member Sid Tan, they “aren’t making money”, how could they afford to spring for a table at a fancy ballroom? And, if they are receiving free space from the city, isn’t it unethical for them to be donating money to the mayor’s political party?

          1. I don’t think the words “not-for-profit” mean what you think they mean. Translink is not-for-profit too.

            Or did you not know that a not-for-profit organization can actually pull in excess revenue temporarily, to put back into itself, thus breaking even again?

          2. As far as I know (and as W2 describes themselves) they are a non-profit. There’s nothing wrong with them earning revenue- as a ‘social enterprise’ that’s a part of their remit. That said, using these earnings to give money to the political party who approved their lease is rather dodgy. And, once again, anyone who bills a government-funded space as a centre for BDSM should expect some people to be upset- that’s common sense…

  2. @HaifischGeweint There should be no Torture parties held at a government subsidized venue especially in the heart of the Killing Fields where marginalized women and First Nations women have been routinely tortured and brutalized. For Mr Oostindie to have allowed these events is disgusting. Mny mrginalizd and First Nations women volunteering at W2 were triggered knowing that W2 was promoting their space to be used for torture parties and this to me does not resemble a sex positive atmosphere. Further for one event to be called Dead Sexy especially after a serial pedator stalking the women in this area really showed an insensitivity beyond belief. And for Mr Oostindie to suggest that I’m trying to bring him down as a result of his opposition to sex trade safety is crazy thinking. But a person has to be crazy to call themself progressive yet calls for the abolition of prostitution as Mr Oostindie does. That right wing approach to sex trade safety I find alarming but I think Mr Oostindie cooks his own goose with that type of extremism.

      • Standing Water on December 14, 2012 at 17:48
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      Agree, 100%. There are several good issues to test so-called progressives with, to see if they really believe in progress and liberty, or if their bag is simply more totalitarianism, but the _right sort_, because many faux-progressives have this view that totalitarianism isn’t wrong, we just haven’t had the ‘right people’ manning the Central Committees yet. Legalization of prostitution is one such issue—nobody can really claim, in my view, to be progressive, yet support the de facto reduction of adult bodies to Government chattel, to be regulated such that natural occupations (like prostitution) are prohibited. The same goes, more or less, for compulsory education, which is nothing more than compulsory enslavement of children.

  3. I was at one of the fund raisers at the Friday event at W2 and got attitude from one of the members. All tickets had been sold out. My partner and I had been retained by the city since W2 is city-owned to ensure liquor act and smoking bylaws were enforced. they had in house security for ins and out, so our job was ensuring the number of party-goers was kept to 350. by the time the cops showed up around 1 AM, it was under 350, which also was below the fire by law limit.

    However, I noticed the kind of confrontational attitude from staff that led me to not question anything, and ignore anything out of the norm apart from indorr smoking and alcohol outside the venue.

    However, this money mismanagement has nothing to do with BDSM. It has to do with one person in charge of the money and not paying the strata fee.

    Mr: Oostindie screwed the W2 staff over and created a scene which only promotes more oppression for First Nations people, including exposing at-risk youth to drug use.

    Apart from that, the BDSM stuff in your article is smoke and mirrors of a fellow who screwed over the city.

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