One Central Coast group canceled an event after it received backlash from community members in Los Osos.
“In fact, in the ten-plus years we've been running events, never seen a response like the one we had. Not even close. I've never had an event protested. I've never had, you know, a huge uproar," said event manager, Cynthia Ardman.
The event that sparked such passionate dialogue was the "SLO Fetish Ball: The Future of Kink."
“This is not the first event that has been run like this in this area," said event education coordinator, Ally Bolotin.
It was a private event aimed at the members of the kink community.
“People read 50 Shades of Gray. People see stuff online and then they just go for it and that some of those things can be really dangerous, and so actually having classes and showing people how to do things correctly, how to negotiate, how to look for active consent, all of those things are really important," added Bolotin.
Attendees had to be 18 years or older and buy a ticket in advance. The organization said it had multiple layers of safety measures in place.
“We had maps of the South Bay Community Center and layouts of where we were putting pipe and drape. Obviously along all the windows so no one can see out, no one can see in. But also in an area in front of the door to where, like if you were just walking in or you were walking by the door, you couldn't see anything except a person at a table looking at IDs," explained Bolotin.
They also hired four security guards.
“No nudity, no sex, no alcohol. Like, we are an incredibly strict community when it comes to our own rules and our own safety," said Bolotin.
The group had been advertising since February with no issues until a few days ago.
Dozens of people took to social media to condemn the community center leaders and board members. No one really said why they were opposed, they called the situation appalling, inappropriate, and disgusting.
“The sad thing is, I don't think those community members really realized that this event is part of their community. Most of the attendees are from this area and so when those neighbors were speaking out on Nextdoor, they were really just bashing literally their neighbors," added Bolotin.
“Very quickly, the conversation turned into these freaks, these criminals, these pedophiles are going to come to our town. I really reacted to, wait a minute, this group is trying to create a safe space for education and connection and by saying that they could not have the event here, that small vocal minority was putting them in danger," said Los Osos resident, Rey Lady.
The Central Coast Kink Community decided to cancel the event due to threats of violence and threats made against The Gala Pride and Diversity Center.
“I just think if we’re going to say Los Osos is a loving community it needs to be a community for all people," stated Lady.
Lady told KSBY they plan to hold a rally at the South Bay Community Center on May 6th which is one of the days the event would have taken place on.