Jamie Love, a model who was recently named Mr Gay Scotland, has reportedly been stripped of his title after opting to attend a local Pride event rather than enter a European competition in Sweden.
Love objected to having to personally fund the £1,000 trip to the event in Stockholm, and decided that his time would be better spent attending the West Lothian Pride event instead.
This prompted the organisers of Mr Gay Europe to respond by taking away the Scotsman’s title and requesting him to return his sash.
Ross Gunning, who is Love’s manager, explained that he was “shocked” by the decision, especially as he believed the Mr Gay Europe organisers would have supported Love’s choice to attend the Pride event in his capacity as Mr Gay Scotland. However, Mr Gay Europe has affirmed that the award of the Scottish title was dependent upon the winner putting themselves forward to the European competition, of which the national awards are an essential part. National representatives are selected from various European countries with a view to declaring an overall winner.
Stuart Hatton, Managing Director for Mr Gay Europe, said: “Jamie’s title of Mr Gay Scotland was tied in to him representing his country in the competition. Jamie did not win the title of Mr Gay Scotland 2016, he applied online alongside other candidates from the UK and he was chosen as the Mr Gay Europe representative for Scotland and was therefore our Scottish delegate.
“If Jamie or indeed anyone else would like to call themselves Mr Gay Scotland that is up to them, but it cannot be associated with Mr Gay Europe.”
In relation to the costs of travelling to the event, Mr Hatton stated that participants were made fully aware of the need to pay for this themselves. He said: “Contestants were told that they would have to pay for their travel to the competition, but once within the care of Mr Gay Europe all accommodation, food, expenses and travel throughout the competition stay would be paid for by The Mr Gay Europe company.”
Mr Gunning said: “I was shocked that Mr Gay Europe didn’t fund the trip. I would have thought if they wanted Jamie to come they would pay for it. Mr Gay Europe weren’t giving Jamie any promotion on their social media, they weren’t promoting us. He was asked to do West Lothian Pride event, and he thought, ‘I’d rather do that’.”
Love said: “I was asked to support young LGBTI people in Scotland at a voluntary event called West Lothian Pride this weekend, when Mr Gay Europe is taking place. I expected Mr Gay Europe to support me in attending this. When I told them that I would not be attending the competition they basically said, ‘cool, give back your sash’.”
Mr Gay Europe begins tomorrow and coincides with Stockholm Pride.