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Published:July 16th, 2008 09:35 EST
Palmetto State poo-poos 'So Gay' promo

Palmetto State poo-poos 'So Gay' promo

By SOP newswire

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina`s state tourism agency has dropped out of an effort to attract gay tourists.

The State newspaper of Columbia reported Monday the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department had joined a campaign tied to gay pride week celebrations in London that included ads saying "South Carolina is so gay."

The newspaper says Atlanta, Boston and New Orleans were also part of the campaign.

The state agency said Thursday it would not pay a fee of nearly $5,000 to participate in the ad campaign.

Director Chad Prosser says an agency advertising manager had signed off on the contract proposed by the state`s London advertising coordinator.

Prosser says the agency will require more review of future overseas advertising.

Greenville Sen. David Thomas called for an audit, after learning of the matter.

SCPRT Statement Regarding Amro Worldwide Promotion in London

Last week, management at the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation &Tourism (SCPRT) learned that a United Kingdom-based tour operator, Amro Worldwide, is conducting a promotion with a specific social agenda. The promotion includes South Carolina as one of six destinations to visit in the United States. The tour operator`s press release included a quote attributed to Kirsty Dillury, who was identified as a "spokesperson for South Carolina Tourism." Ms. Dillury is not, nor has she ever been, an employee of SCPRT. She is employed by a United Kingdom-based independent tourism marketing firm with which SCPRT contracts. Through an internal investigation, SCPRT management has learned that the independent contractor in London authorized the project after speaking to a lower-level SCPRT employee. The contractor and the employee exercised extremely poor judgment in acting without consulting SCPRT management. SCPRT has informed the contractor that it will not be reimbursed by the state for any expenses associated with the program. The expense of the program is 2,500 pounds, which equates to $4,942.50 in U.S. currency based on current exchange rates. "No state dollars will be expended to support this program," says Chad Prosser, director of SCPRT. Immediately upon learning of the tour operator`s promotion, SCPRT management began an internal review and will take any further contractual or personnel action that it deems appropriate to make sure something like this does not happen again. "I do not believe that it is appropriate to use state tourism marketing funds to support any specific social agenda, nor would we ever knowingly do so," Prosser said.

See July 11, 208 SOPnewswire, South Carolina joins `So Gay` campaign.  Also see, http://www.wach.com/news/news_story.aspx?id=158397, http://www.thestate.com/local/story/458063.html