Comedian Joel Creasey has described the cancellation of his Bendigo show as 'a bit of an all-around crappy situation'.
In a social media post, he thanked the venue, organisers and punters for understanding.
"I am so sorry to disappoint my audience in Bendigo and want to be clear that this threat wasn't entirely homophobic," he wrote.
"Furthermore I certainly don't think this reflects the Bendigo community in any way.
"I've never had to cancel a show before, love performing and love Bendigo - so it's a bit of an all-around crappy situation."
Creasey wrote that he was unable to discuss the matter further, given the circumstances.
"Because this [is] an ongoing matter and a safety issue, it requires an element of privacy," he said.
The comedian had been scheduled to headline the first Bendigo Vine Comedy show, tickets for which were believed to have sold out.
Headspace Bendigo HEY diversity worker Maree Dixon said young people occasionally sought support from the service for discrimination and abuse related to sexuality.
She urged those in the community that might be upset by the possibility the threat against the comedian involved an element of homophobia to reach out for help.
- Lifeline - 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800 - for young people between the ages of five and 25.
- Headspace Bendigo - 5434 5345 - For young people between the ages of 12 - 25. Open Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm.
- Switchboard - Specialist LGBTI peer-driven support services. Contact 1800 184 527 from 3pm - 12am daily.
- In an emergency, phone 000.
COMEDIAN Joel Creasey's Bendigo performance has been cancelled, with organisers citing safety concerns.
Creasey - of Australia's Got Talent and I'm a Celebrity ..Get me out of here - was scheduled to perform as part of Golden Vine Comedy on November 14.
"Unfortunately, Joel has received threats if the show goes ahead and his management has prevented him from doing the show because of safety concerns," organisers today posted on the event's Facebook page.
They cited homophobia as a contributing factor.
Tickets for the show are being refunded.
"We're really sorry about this, for everyone's sake," organisers wrote.
Creasey faced verbal abuse and threats of violence from a pack of young men after addressing an anti-discrimination forum in Colac in 2011.
He later returned to the town for his documentary Gaycrashers, to find out what life was really like for LGBTI people growing up in regional Australia.
Watch the documentary here:
In the 2017 marriage equality postal survey, 68.7 per cent of Bendigo voters said yes, while 31.3 per cent said no.
Leaders of central Victorian LGBTI advocacy organisation LOUD said they were surprised and saddened by the threats to Creasey's safety.
"I think it's a loss for Bendigo," LOUD chair Suellen Pepperell said
"People would have loved to have gone to see him."
Creasey sold out shows in Ballarat earlier this year, performing twice in a night due to high demand.
Reflecting on the popularity of the Tram Queens at Bendigo's first White Night, the LOUD chair said she was surprised by the reaction to one man's comedy show.
She was concerned those responsible for Creasey's safety concerns would consider the show's cancellation a victory.
"I think it's really sad the vocal few would have such an appalling impact," Ms Pepperell said.
Harry McAnulty said Bendigo had come so far in the last few years.
"It's really sad a [LGBTI] community member doesn't feel safe to come to the Bendigo region," he said.
He said the Bendigo community needed to have a conversation about how it combated such attitudes.
"These views are really a minority in the Bendigo region," Mr McAnulty said.
"We know we have a diverse, multicultural community that is accepting."
One of the leaders of the Bendigo Says Yes movement, Natasha Joyce, said she would like to see Bendigo invite Creasey to perform at a venue where he felt safe and to get a really good welcome.
"Long-term, there need to be leaders coming out and saying this is not OK, we support the LGBTI community in Bendigo," Ms Joyce said.
She said she would like to see stronger consequences for online harassment and that police took such threats seriously.
Ms Joyce said it was really sad a comedian of Creasey's calibre did not feel safe to perform in Bendigo.
"The majority of Bendigo would be disappointed this has happened," she said.
"It's terrible Joel has been put in that position."
She credited non-inclusive rhetoric, such as that of the 'no' campaign, with emboldening people who were 'basically homophobic'.
"Violent threats are not the way to deal with differences of opinions," Ms Joyce said.
I'd like to see us invite Joel to a venue where he feels safe and get a really good welcome.Natasha Joyce, Bendigo Says Yes co-chair
Bendigo mayor Margaret O'Rourke said she was really surprised and found reports Creasey's management had cancelled the show due to safety concerns hard to reconcile with the city she knew.
"It's not Bendigo. I don't believe this is Bendigo," she said.
"Bendigo is a welcoming city."
Cr O'Rourke said Bendigo was a city that strongly supported marriage equality, that had pride events, that had its own Human Rights Charter, and that had recently hosted its first religious gay marriage.
She said there were lots of things happening in the city that indicated its support for LGBTI people.
"There are varying views in our community, we know that," she said.
The mayor said that vocal minority would speak out on a range of issues, but "that's not what we know and that's not what we experience" of everyday life in Bendigo.
Both the venue and Creasey's manager have been contacted for comment.
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