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Promoter's controversial Facebook post puts Toronto indie concert in jeopardy

Last Updated Mar 1, 2016 at 8:29 pm EDT

A controversial online post about pop star Kesha has put the brakes on the future of a Toronto music festival.

Hi-Fi Musical Adventure was scheduled to take place March 10-12, featuring 60 indie artists performing at five venues in the Kensington Market area. However, online comments made by co-founder Anthony Dell’Orso caused a chain reaction of negative response, ultimately leading to the cancellation of the event and a whittled-down version of the musical showcase.

“[Expletive] Kesha,” the post on Dell’Orso’s personal Facebook account reportedly read. “Talentless hack with a penchant for drama.”

Dell’Orso, who confirms he made the comment online, says it stems from the ongoing legal battle between the pop star and her mentor at Sony Music, producer Dr. Luke. Kesha alleges she was sexually assaulted by Dr. Luke in the past, and last month went to court to terminate her contract with Sony. A New York judge denied her appeal to free herself from the contractual obligations.

“I believe it was taken more personal than intended. I regret it in the sense where maybe I worded it wrong,” Dell’Orso told Citynews today in a phone interview. “It’s a very scary situation for any artist to find themselves in. And I never meant to make light of any of the allegations surrounding her and Dr. Luke.”

He also says he has since backed away from the festival in its entirety.


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Despite the apologies, it appears the damage has already been done. A number of attending artists and venues have backed out of the festival, resulting in the essential cancellation of the event. Some bands publicly posted their disapproval with the comments on social media.

On Facebook, the band Specifics posted “We’ve been made aware of a (now deleted) comment posted by one of the organizers earlier this week that reflected an opinion of rape culture, women in music and the awful situation Kesha finds herself in that we do not agree with.”

Fans of some of the bands may still have a chance to enjoy some of the artists though, according to co-founder Amanda Langton.

In a statement to CityNews she said, “Hi-Fi Musical Adventure as it was is no longer happening. Old Laurel, Silver Dollar and Supermarket have said they are keeping the shows – I’m not sure what they will look like in the end for Hi-Fi bands.” She adds Dell’Orso is no longer associated with the event.

This controversy boils over on the same day a report was released by Toronto’s Interval House, which reports nearly half of Ontario men believe victims of abuse are to blame if they choose to continue their relationship with their abuser. In light of Kesha’s court battle and the highly-publicized Jian Ghomeshi case, CityNews asked Dell’Orso if his comment perpetuated the issue of victims’ hesitancy in coming forward.

“I’m sorry to anybody I may have offended,” he says. “What Kesha is going through is horrible and the deal that she signed is a form of slavery.”