BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
About a dozen men – far fewer than the 70 hoped for – stood outside Opium Group’s Mansion nightclub on Washington Avenue Sunday night to protest DJ Peter Rauhofer’s performance during Winter Party Festival.
The protesters, led by Care Resource Executive Director Rick Siclari, told Mansion patrons that for a second consecutive year Rauhofer competed for gay tourist dollars by counterprogramming against a Winter Party event that raises money for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and gay nonprofits throughout South Florida.
In January, 24 gay civic leaders and activists led by Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey sent an open letter to Rauhofer and Opium Group asking them to stop programming for-profit parties with fundraisers for gay charities.
Rauhofer and Mansion workers at the club door declined to comment about the picketers wearing “StopPeter.com” T-shirts.
Siclari said despite the light turnout of protesters he was confident his group got its message out.
“The word was spread enough so everyone heard it,” Siclari said.
Still, most patrons on line couldn’t be swayed from attending the Rauhofer show.
“You’re dealing with the resilient ones, the ones who don’t get it,” Siclari said. “I had two [partygoers] say, ‘I don’t care, I don’t live here.’’’
Among the protesters who stayed from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.: Robert Loupo, executive director of Safe Schools South Florida, a nonprofit that received $15,000 last year in funds raised by the Task Force at Winter Party Festival and Miami’s annual awards Recognition Dinner.
“So many people work hard to raise funds for so many worthwhile organizations,” Loupo said. “It’s not right for someone to tap into those funds without giving back to the community.”
PHOTOS BY STEVE ROTHAUS / MIAMI HERALD STAFF