Community leaders call for boycott of ICandy after racist video surfaces

Philadelphia LGBT community leaders are calling for a boycott of ICandy Nightclub after a disturbing video was leaked online, alleging to show owner Darryl DePiano repeatedly using the n word:

The recording – which a source who does not wish to be identified confirmed was filmed by someone in management at ICandy – was leaked online anonymously.

“The video that has surfaced confirms what people have said about this establishment for a while now,” said Amber Hikes in a Facebook post. “I assure you, you will never see me or my business in this space again and I urge others in the community who have any respect for black people (or basic human decency) to follow suit. People who speak like this do not deserve a single cent of your money or your patronage. Black folks and allies alike – STAND UP and shut this shit down!”

“It’s appalling, but I am not one bit surprised,” added Elicia Gonzales, community activist and former executive director of GALAEI. “They do not care about inclusivity, racial justice, nor about the LGBT community in Philly. They care only about making money which is why we all must hit them where it hurts.”

Gonzales and others are calling for a protest/boycott of the club during Outfest on Sunday, October 9.

UPDATE 1:50 p.m. – owner Darryl DePiano posted the following message on Facebook:

As everyone is aware, there is a video circulating that was recorded about 3 years ago of me using some very hurtful and racist language in a time of frustration! Although I acknowledge that this type of language and action are NEVER acceptable, it truly does not NOT reflect my true feelings. It is NEVER ever ever OK to refer to anyone in this manner, but I did make this comment, and I have grown since then to be understanding and respectful to each and every individual. As many of you know me and know that I am always striving for diversity, and always willing to listen, learn, and grow myself, my business, and my team. Again, this was an EXTREMELY Poor Choice I made on my own many years ago and I definitely learned and continue to learn each day. I SINCERELY and truthfully apologize to all my friends, valued customers, and everyone that I hurt and offended. It was NEVER my intention to do so. I truly am SORRY, and PROMISE to continue to do better at respecting everyone. I love our whole community, and will always do my part to make it a better place. I AM SOO SORRY FOR MY STUPID AND OFFENSIVE ACTIONS!!

UPDATE 3:08 p.m. – a protest is being planned tonight, Sept. 29, at 5 p.m. by the Black & Brown Workers Collective. More info here:

UPDATE 9/30 9:00 a.m. – The Office of LGBT Affairs along with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations Issue Statement in Response to Incidents of Racism and Homophobia within LGBT Community:

The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR) will host a public hearing on October 25 about racism and discrimination in the LGBTQ community, following reports of discriminatory practices by businesses in the Gayborhood, and the use of racist and homophobic slurs against members of the LGBT community in Philadelphia. The Office of LGBT Affairs will be reaching out to individuals, stakeholders, and community groups to ensure they’re aware of the meeting and encourage them to attend and submit testimony. The meeting will be held at 6pm, October 25 at Liberty Resources, 112 N. 8th Street, Suite 600. Contact PCHR for more information 215-686-4670.

The Office of LGBT Affairs and the PCHR work in tandem to address and combat racism and discrimination in Philadelphia. The Office of LGBT Affairs provides services and information to LGBT people through outreach and assistance in accessing government services, creating policy and legislation, and building systems of accountability throughout government. The PCHR enforces the City’s laws prohibiting discrimination, to promote equal rights and opportunities of all Philadelphians, and to advance community relations across differences such as race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

UPDATE 9/30 1:15 p.m.Philly Pride Presents drops ICandy as a sponsor of Outfest:

Given recent events, ICandy will have no OUTside presence during OutFest 2016. Philly Pride will not promote ICandy any further as a major sponsor. Unfortunately all printed matter has be printed. We will take any ICandy promotions off of our website.

UPDATE 9/30 2:00 p.m.Stonewall Sports Philadelphia ends relationship with ICandy:

In light of recent news and events, Stonewall Sports – Philadelphia is discontinuing its sponsorship relationship with Icandy Nightclub. Our league strives to provide inclusive safe spaces for LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Ally) individuals, regardless of race, to play intramural sports, enhance the social environment, and provide opportunities to contribute to the greater Philadelphia LGBTQIA community. The discriminatory language and actions that have come to light in recent days are extremely detrimental to the fabric of our community and not at all what Stonewall seeks to be associated with. Our organization looks forward to doing its part in working to address these challenges as we all work towards a more tolerant, inclusive future.

UPDATE 10/1 9:30 a.m. – ICandy issues official statement:

Icandy Nightclub has always and will always be an all-inclusive club for people of every race, gender or sexual orientation.  We pride ourselves in being a safe environment; free of judgement, free of ridicule and free of bias of any sort.  We are a family.

Unfortunately, recent regrettable and unacceptable comments were uncovered.   A Principal of ICandy, Darryl DePiano, used racial epithets during a conversation approximately three years ago.  These comments are appalling and in no way reflect the feelings of the staff of Icandy which is made up of a diverse group of men and women of many different ethnicities.

Mr. DePiano immediately took full responsibility for his actions and realizes that taking responsibility is just the beginning.  Granting an apology is a great start but, is far from reversing a mindset that is crippling our society and community.  Education in racial discrimination along with racial sensitivity training will start the healing process.

We ask for the opportunity to help us work together, and be a part of solving the problem of racial discrimination in the LGBT community.  We have all, in some way, suffered discrimination in our lives, and it is NEVER ok to discriminate against any person, for any reason.  We look forward to working with the community in addressing racial discrimination and creating equality for all.

Requests for comment from ICandy have not been answered at the time this was posted.

This is a breaking story and will be updated as more details emerge. 

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