WSFA TV 12 - Montgomery, Alabama
Latino Concert Canceled
Aug 26, 2006
Some twenty thousand flyers have papered small towns between Montgomery and Birmingham and East to Union springs.
They are promoting an event called Latin La Noche, however, when people show up Friday night at the Alcazar Shrine Temple for music and dancing, they'll likely find the doors closed. The promoter for the event, Chris Miles, says the Shriners suddenly pulled the plug.
Miles said "they basically tell me that the latino community is not wanted there at the alcazar shrine...and the could not necessarily give me a definitive answer they weren't wanted there."
The event was to feature music of Latin Hip Hop artists Daddy Yankee and Don Omar. Tickets sold in advance cost $25 a person.
Mr. Miles claims the Shriners' last minute change is a clear case of discrimination. He says it's "racism."
WSFA 12 News tried to get the Shriners side of the story. The Potentate, Larry Simms, tells WSFA 12 News he did not want the Latino community, but refused to go on camera. He denies allegations that the decision was racially motivated, but wouldn't talk about the reason. A worker here tells WSFA 12 News the Shriners didn't have insurance to cover the event. Mr. Miles says that isn't true, and he does have insurance, although having insurance was never mentioned in his contract.
Mr. Miles claims the Shriners have gun shows and the insurance covers that event, which has left him wondering why "they have gun shows here and insurance covers gun shows and they can't covers the latino community coming in here to indulge with their own kind to have a good time?"
Mr. Miles says everyone who has purchased a ticket will receive a full refund.