RE: Hazell Dean Statement
You may have seen a statement from Hazell Dean earlier today 16/09 on Social Media.
We had no idea the statement was being released, and at this time the matter is still being dealt with by our solicitor.
I know some of you may have seen the apology we posted on Facebook and the Energise website a few weeks ago, but if you didn’t, I want to tell the 100% entire truth.
On a Sunday, David, My partner and director of Energise, was making up some ideas for merchandising on a brand new Wix app to be sold on our website. There was drink involved, a lot of it and Dave made some hilariously stupid boxer shorts featuring Sean Smith and Matt Pop. Both were sent the images and were assured they were not for sale.
Dave then made some sports tops featuring Hazell, he added “Co-Pilot is watching you, which he made into a slogan on the back of the item. A photo of Hazell looking like she was pushing away something was made into a bag and a T-shirt.
ALL OF THESE ITEMS WERE DELETED FROM THE MERCHANDISING APP BEFORE IT WAS CLOSED.
However, unknown to us and verified later by Wix, the app added all of the items to our shop. We were 100% unaware of this until alerted by Hazell Dean a few days later.
We immediately removed the items and I tried to call Hazell to apologise but left a message and sent a text. An apology was issued immediately on our Facebook site and on the Webpage.
Team Dean decided that we needed to be punished for the mistake and issued a hate crime statement and got in touch with the police.
I would like to say that at no time was this malicious or a hate crime event, Dave & I have opened and run Gay venues for nearly 30 years and Energise has been around for over 25 years. In all of this time we have supported Gay and Lesbian people, helped a Trans Person to become who she wanted to be and made her our assistant manager, and raised money for many Gay charities, not the sort of thing that could be called homophobic.
Dave made a terrible mistake, and we have apologised many times. Dave volunteered to go into Grays Police Station for an interview, he was not arrested and there are no charges. We have not had the final outcome as of yet. 16/09
David has offered to resign from his post at the label, where he worked tirelessly to keep accounts and design the websites, and he hoped by doing this we could save the label and continue to support artists that have very limited options in this day and age.
I know that some of you will be saddened by what happened, and angry that we have let you down, and for that, we apologise.
I am saddened that someone who I have known for 10 years and who I considered a friend could think that we would ever do something hateful against them and anyone who knows us would also know that it is not in my nature or Dave’s to harbour any hatred towards anybody
I have just been targeted by Adam Dale, (?) as a racist on Hazell Deans social Media. Having worked with Rozalla and Sid Haywoode I am sure that they would clarify 100% that I am not in any way shape or form racist, I have a screenshot of this and it has been passed onto the police.
The tweet was about Black Pride and Dave asked: "What about White Pride?" He did not think of this as a racist comment but was being flippant. He is not a politician or activist and someone answered his tweet with a fierce reply, which he thought through, agreed with and decided to remove the tweet.
This is how it should be, different sides educating people, and hopefully moving forward with more understanding. But out of context, you can use any tweet to berate someone.
When Energise is forced to close, it will only hurt the artists that are on the label. We make very little financially out of Energise, it is a true labour of love for us, and we ask you to think about what would happen if you made a stupid silly drunk mistake like this.
David made the mistake and he owned up about it and apologised as soon as it was discovered. There was no maliciousness, this has been completely fabricated as I have all the emails where I wrote to ask for forgiveness and understanding.
As a company director, and as a person I am against Hate Crimes, but we have to be careful using the word hate too often as it takes away its meaning and power. As Gay Men we have had real hate directed at us, our car was trashed twice by the same guy, we have had windows smashed in our pubs and been physically threatened by a guy with a smashed glass ashtray. Hate is awful in all instances.
I am buoyed by the number of people who truly know us that have contacted us today and offered their support during this trial by social media.
I hope the Energise artists will get your full support at this time. You may recall we call them the Energise family, and we really are very close to them.
This is 100% the whole truth of the matter, I have not left anything out.
We have the evidence of the items which were deemed mildly offensive and bad taste, but not hateful in any way by the officer. If I was allowed I would share these with you, there's nothing homophobic or racist involved in the images.
At this time I feel that due to one horrible mistake we have no option but to close Energise. It is obvious that this was the intention of the statement today and them targeting me as a racist, and that there was no thought given to the artists who rely on the last independent Gay owned label for releases.
The reason for this is our wonderful friends and artists have already been asked to distance themselves from Energise by certain Pride events and we have to do what is best for them.
Our final release will be in October.
The website will remain and back catalogue items will be available. I am not wiping out 26 years of amazing music for one mistake.
Dave and I apologise to all of our artists for letting them down and I still offer an apology to Hazell Dean and her family.