The Pink Dollar network of gay-friendly businesses, a long-time supporter of the six-year-old contest, has pulled out of a planned HK$40,000 (US$5,160) sponsorship arrangement just weeks before the annual pageant, according to scmp.com.
Pink Dollar founder Paul Ramscar said he took that decision after being misled by organizers over whether or not Mr Gay Hong Kong had been registered as a trademark but contest co-founder James Gannaban charged that Ramscar failed to honor a previous sponsorship deal.
The Mr Gay Hong Kong scheduled for October will go ahead with new sponsors, said organizers.
Ramscar maintains that he was repeatedly assured the name Mr Gay Hong Kong was being registered as a trademark when it was not, he says,
“I just felt we’d been duped. I felt we’d been led astray,” he told scmp.com adding that it was “upsetting” because is business had put quite a bit of money it over the past years.
Ramscar’s company had launched an app to promote gay-friendly businesses and Pink Dollar had been promised the rights to use the Mr Gay Hong Kong contest’s name in promotional material.
“If I was to use it and put it on our materials or branding and it’s not actually registered at all … it puts us in the bit of a position,” he said. “As a business we only want to deal with named brands and legitimate concerns.”
He said he was told on numerous occasions it was registered or that it was going through the process but when he got his lawyer to do a trademark search in Hong Kong and internationally this was not so.
“We won’t get involved with this ever again which is a shame because it does provide some benefit to the community … I am deeply disappointed with it.”
According to scmp.com, Gannaban has declined to say whether the contest name had been trademarked but was quoted as saying “We could have chosen to pursue Pink Dollar’s pledged sponsorship through our dependable legal channels” but instead that the 2014 contest would be partially sponsored by a London-based financial services company called Discretion.
Gannaban said Mr Gay Hong Kong was a “community title” and that despite pageants being in decline everywhere he was putting “solid effort” behind finding inspiring gay man in Hong Kong.
His contest was responsible for sending expat teacher Michael Morrill as Mr Gay Hong Kong for the annual Mr Gay World international competition for gay and human rights which this year will take place in Rome Aug 25 – 31