Whitehorse Daily Star

Bullying, harassment prompt candidate’s departure

There won’t be a Rendezvous King this year, after the Yukon’s only male candidate dropped out of the race due to an onslaught of bullying and harassment.

By Gabrielle Plonka on February 10, 2020

There won’t be a Rendezvous King this year, after the Yukon’s only male candidate dropped out of the race due to an onslaught of bullying and harassment.

Cameron Penner, Mr. Bra Boutique in the 2020 Quest for the Crown, bowed out of the event over the weekend.

“They did not make this decision lightly but came to this conclusion after no longer feeling welcome or happy participating in the events due to a few members of our community,” Saskrita Shrestha, the executive director of Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Society, said in a statement.

“These individuals have bullied and harassed our candidates because they hold the belief that men should not be running in the Quest for the Crown contest.”

Shrestha said the adverse reactions negate the hard work of the Rendezvous team to be inclusive to all Yukoners.

The Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Society has “zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind,” the press release stated. Despite having roots in tradition, Shrestha told the Star today the festival has spent several years developing a mandate of inclusivity.

“It’s been part of our mission for a while, but we’re definitely making more of an effort in recent years,” Shrestha said.

This is Shrestha’s fifth year working for the Rendezvous festival, and her first year as executive director.

Shrestha said the society outlined a new strategic plan last year, with inclusivity to be a major aspect of the festival’s future.

“I think there’s so many different cultures and beliefs in the Yukon now, to celebrate Rendezvous like we celebrated in 1960 wouldn’t do our community justice,” she said.

The society was disappointed, and surprised, by the community’s reaction to a man running in the Quest for the Crown, she said.

“When we first announced it, we heard a little bit of chatter, but we never thought it would amount to something like this,” Shrestha said.

“I don’t necessarily think there’s a large number of people who have these views, but just a small number is enough to deter someone from a really public volunteer position.”

This isn’t the first time a man has competed for the Rendezvous crown, Shrestha noted; the last time was in the 1990s.

That was before the era of social media, which renders candidates dramatically more accessible to naysayers.

A CBC article announcing that men were invited to compete for the crown last October attracted a barrage of Facebook comments from both sides of the issue.

“Well the Rendezvous is not like it used to be at all, we are losing all the traditional values with it,” one commenter wrote.

“Wow so this is garbage now too… guess I’ll stay home this year,” another commenter said.

An equal number of commenters posted in support of the gender-inclusive mandate, thanking the society for its progressive efforts.

Josie’s Old Crow Adventures, a Quest for the Crown sponsor, announced their disappointment in the situation over the weekend.

The company, which annually donates a trip to Old Crow as an award to the Crown winner, promised a second trip to Penner.

“We were so sad to hear that a candidate dropped out of the competition because they were a victim of discrimination,” the company said in a social media post.

“This year we would like to double our donation and offer a trip to this candidate who doesn’t have a chance to win as well as a trip to the winning candidate.

“Old Crow will welcome you with open arms.”

Comments (39)

Up 4 Down 0

David Anderson on Feb 19, 2020 at 2:56 pm

Dear "Logicallus Simplicitus",

That is true. The article does not mention anything about a disagreement. It also doesn't define how the person was bullied or harassed, which is why I question the article.

I do not minimize harassment. The problem I have with the article is that it gives no examples of the harassment. I would consider nasty texts and name calling to be harassment, but the article doesn't indicate that any of this happened. The article just isn't clear.

People use the word "harassment" loosely, which is why I question the articles definition of the word. Maybe the writer equates a respectfully voiced disagreement with harassment? I don't know... clarity is needed.

Up 2 Down 4

Logicallus Simplicitus on Feb 18, 2020 at 8:10 pm

Dear Mr. Anderson - The article does not mention anything about a “disagreement”. That is your word based on your bias. There is no respect in minimizing someone’s harassment - Own up, repair it and move on. It’s ideas like the one you are advancing that give harassment, discrimination and bullying its value.

Up 5 Down 2

David Anderson on Feb 17, 2020 at 9:25 am

Dear "Logicallus Simplicitus",
You just aren't getting it. The article is not clear that he was bullied and harassed because it does not indicate how he was bullied or harassed. It is okay for someone to believe he shouldn't run. In our society it is okay to disagree. How one acts on that disagreement is another story. So then, did somebody respectfully disagree with him? Or did they act on that disagreement by bullying and harassing the guy? I actually don't know, because I don't know how the writer of the article defines "bullying and harassment". Perhaps to the writer a disagreement is equivalent with harassment. I don't know.

What I wrote and how you understood what I wrote are two very different things, which is why I clarified. And yet, you still hold your misinterpretations against me. That's good and simply logic right there...
Yes, "conduct that is discriminatory" is a violation of the law. Again, a respectful disagreement is not equated with "conduct that is discriminatory".

Up 1 Down 1

tnk on Feb 16, 2020 at 10:29 pm

I am going to just make a couple point's:
I fully do agree that rendezvous is not as good as it use to be, and was totally way more fun when they had it at Main st, but I am also totally shocked with all the ridiculous comments about men are men, and that the contest is for women. Really who cares? As a female, I have always thought it was a boring contest with tea socials, pageantry, selling tickets, and being proper is not my cup of tea vs the guys who just go out and have a fun time with the Sam contest so frankly I don't care if a king enters for the crown. And I'm surprised so many of you think that's what's going to start ruining rendezvous that's just ridiculous.
Lastly did anyone even read the guys bio on the bra boutique facebook page? He legitimately seems like a nice Yukon guy who was trying to bring awareness to men's breast cancer which never gets much spotlight, and has a higher mortality rate plus a fund to help Yukoners who are dealing with breast cancer.
I really think all the dumb negative comments like these about a guy joining the contest is why he quit when the real answer should be who cares if a guy does it? Rendezvous is supposed to be quirky anyway. We literally have a contest where someone measures peoples legs and arm pit hair with tape measure and magnifying glass, and this whole thing should have nothing to do with political opinions .

Up 2 Down 4

Thomas A. Anderson on Feb 16, 2020 at 9:18 pm

Wow! David Anderson - You equate thumbs up with a finding of argumentative soundness? That’s crazy! We are in a great deal of trouble as a society if this is the new foundation of reason. But then this does appear to be the current direction that society has taken... Despite what you have been sold there is no intelligence in emotion whether by symbol or through human expression.

Up 9 Down 19

Logicallus Simplicitus on Feb 14, 2020 at 4:19 pm

Dear David - Absolutely - duped! The article was very clear that “he” was “bullied” and “harassed” based on his status as a “male” is very clear. That is the prejudice independent of any other action or word.

For you and your 41 strong fellowship
of aspiring Rocket Scientists your assertion of physical violence and harassment as equivalent was apparent in your submission. Perhaps it is not what you intended but it is what you wrote.

Further, conduct that is discriminatory in its effect is discriminatory conduct regardless of the “intent” of the communicator or the actor - That is the law and the Rendezvous Society was obligated to comply with it whether you, Mr. Anderson or your 41 strong choose to or not or for that matter recognize the law as legitimate - SMH!!!

Up 21 Down 13

David Anderson on Feb 14, 2020 at 9:47 am

Dear and “Neo followed the white rabbit…”,
The article claims an “onslaught” of bullying but gives no examples, which makes me question whether or not he was truly being bullied, or if somebody respectfully disagreed with him. The writer should have given us facts.

Dear “A. Morel-Hassard”
You wrongfully assume that I don’t consider “stalking, repeated texts/phone calls/emails, name calling, etc…” as harassment. I do, in fact. However, the writer of the article does not give any examples of how this person harassed, and therefore how do we know he was actually harassed? Like I said, someone may have respectfully disagreed with him, which he misinterpreted as harassment. Or, someone may have called him names. The writer doesn’t clarify, which was the point of my last post. Let the writer gives examples, and then I may be won over.
The current 41 people (against 8) that have supported previous my comment have not been “duped”, as you put it. They have rightly found my case to be sound.

Up 22 Down 5

Yukon Justice on Feb 14, 2020 at 8:17 am

The days when the flour packing was 500 pounds off the tailgate of a pickup with no other support are long gone. Blown knees and all. That's when men were men and if you don't believe me or like it I'll show you the stitches running up my leg.

Up 15 Down 31

Jonathan Colby on Feb 13, 2020 at 10:21 am

He tried to have fun. It's called The Quest For The Crown. He tried to have fun to participate in that Quest.
And people chose to be dogsh*t about it, enough so that it wasn't fun anymore.

Your opinion, once again, is garbage

Up 40 Down 6

Juniper Jackson on Feb 13, 2020 at 1:43 am

Why do we have to accommodate anybody? Throw the event and if you like it sign up and go. Personally, in the old days Rendezvous queen could go on to run for Miss Canada. So, a male wouldn't have gotten my support. But, as a fun, non serious event, it could have been a cute addition. Diversity has done nothing good for any of us. Political correctness has been out and out harmful.

I came here in 1965, the Canucks, as they were then, played in the Gold Nugget Lounge, we partied on the board walks.. and the trappers and miners came into town.. Everyone ate at a Chinese Food place in the middle of the Yukon Inn parking lot, Herbie ran it, and had a drink after the bars closed at Mimi's all night restaurant.. you saw people you hadn't seen all winter and caught up on the news.. the flour packing contest was huge and after, we went to the Capital Theater where Hougens is now.. the boardwalks were pretty high, and it was so much fun. It all went down hill when the southerners took it out of main street.. I also skip Renezvous, just stay home and watch movies till its all over. Memories.. We always stayed on the second floor of the Whitehorse Inn.. just my two bits too. Not fun any more.

Up 13 Down 23

A. Morel-Hassard on Feb 12, 2020 at 11:10 pm

Dear David - Your post: David Anderson on Feb 12, 2020 at 10:43 am is phenomenally erroneous and at this point you have been able to dupe 31 people into supporting your error in reasoning and in law.

You contradict yourself by saying that harassment can be any number of things and then suggest that harassment and assault are one and the same or have some equivalence. This confuses your argument and suggests that any lower form of harassment is not real harassment. For example, stalking, repeated texts/phone calls/emails, name calling, unwanted sexual commentary or advances etc.

Up 10 Down 28

Neo followed the white rabbit... on Feb 12, 2020 at 7:04 pm

Dear Mr. Anderson - I wonder if you are deliberately muddying the waters in the service of your own agenda. The article was quite clear that the “onslaught” of bullying and harassment was due to the participant’s status as a male.
There is no mistake and no misunderstanding. Further, it is this sort of thinking that prevents people who are victimized from coming forward whether they are male, female or other gender pronoun.

There will be no Rendezvous King because:
“These individuals have bullied and harassed our candidates because THEY HOLD THE BELIEF THAT MEN should not be running in the Quest for the Crown contest.”
This is not a disagreement. It is an asserted prejudice against another that has deprived them of the opportunity for enjoyment of life.

Up 31 Down 6

Miles Epanhauser on Feb 12, 2020 at 5:05 pm

Yes Rendezvous died 2 decades ago and it lost the simple and fun events that got people out.
Whitehorse died about 10 years ago and it's a haven now for entitled people and the drug culture and drinks.
It's sad to see and the queen contestant should be renamed and be gender neutral.

Up 71 Down 6

My Opinion on Feb 12, 2020 at 3:23 pm

I have been here for 47 years. Rendezvous died two decades ago if you ask me.
We used to have fun. The one dog pull pitted St. Bernards against lap dogs. How discriminatory can you get? We had Fun.

The Queen Contest was not about winning it was about raising money for the self funded event. When more money was needed we formed the Snowshoe Shufflers. We had Fun. When yet more money was needed we started the Sourdough Sam’s. We had Fun.

These Cheechako’s that are running this now have no idea of the history of the event. No idea of the history of the Yukon.

As for the guy who wanted to be Queen. Lighten up. Just have Fun.
Good Lord. It’s not all about you.

Up 53 Down 14

David Anderson on Feb 12, 2020 at 10:43 am

It seems that writer of this article wants us to assume this guy was truly "bullied and harassed". As we all should know, being "bullied and harassed" can mean a number of things.

Was someone assaulting the guy? That would be harassment. Or did someone say they wouldn't support Mr. Bra Boutique? That would be a respectful disagreement...

Perhaps the writer of this article should have clarified this before hitting the "submit" button.
It's hard to live in a society where disagreement is equated with hatred.

Up 33 Down 10

YukonMax on Feb 12, 2020 at 7:14 am

It's a long, cold winter that have brought us loads of snow and longer cold snaps.
Lighten up, cheer up and have fun! If you are not in the running for a crown, then it won't hurt you a bit. If you are, just deal with it. This is 2020.

Up 24 Down 7

I. B. Bach-Aggen on Feb 11, 2020 at 11:50 pm

Jonathan Colby - Wow! Did you just refer to Yukoners as diseased? I would agree with you that the shenanigans employed by many self-ascribed Liberals in the form of identity politics is a pathological aberration akin to Hobbes’ depiction of life as something that is nasty, brutish and short - Although this shorthand Hobbesian dictum is somewhat misleading in its common usage - aka - misapprehended.

But, that is perhaps the crux of the problem we are currently wrestling with at all levels of society. The “absolute” failure to appreciate, understand, or comprehend what we are engaged with.

Modern conservatives left Liberalism behind because it was chaos generative and had no actual form and no grounding. Modern conservatives understood the value and the necessity of knowledge construction, evidence based practices, and the utility of reasoned deliberation in setting one’s feelings aside in judgement of the other’s actions.

Modern conservatism and classical Liberalism differ in other significant ways. Perhaps we can play at this another time?
Perhaps U. Strange-Knutt was being self-derogating with his/her nom de plume?

Up 17 Down 42

Jonathan Colby on Feb 11, 2020 at 4:16 pm

Also, LOL forever at "impose a hellish social tyranny just to make a small minority feel better."

The anti-PC crowd are the real snowflakes. Hellish indeed. What a fkn whiner

Up 72 Down 12

North_of_60 on Feb 11, 2020 at 3:44 pm

I can remember when Rendezvous was all about the Yukon and sourdough traditions that make this Territory a great place to live. Now it's become just another vehicle for spreading politically correct moose nuggets.
With all the complaints about bullying and harassment, I'm surprised they didn't include 'racism' like they usually do.

Up 18 Down 35

Jonathan Colby on Feb 11, 2020 at 3:40 pm

I was born here almost four decades ago, not that it matters, nor is it a metric of what I said
"Classically liberal" indeed.

Maybe if you had the education that you claim I lack, you would know that modern conservatism fits firmly within the overall Liberal ideology. Private property rights, supremacy of law, etc, etc. Liberalism is a disease, conservatives included.

As to the resilience comment, all this article does is describe how someone attempted to participate in something, and other people had to s**t on it until it wasn't fun anymore. You can run your mouth about the causes and traditions till you're blue in the face, but that's the reality: people are shi**y, and they like it that way.

Up 62 Down 14

Thing? on Feb 11, 2020 at 3:15 pm

Sourdough Rendezvous QUEEN Contest!
So now we no longer get a Miss or a Mrs instead we get a They, it, what, half Queen/half King farce....
Take me anytime Lord, I've had it with the world as it is today.

Up 49 Down 2

Max Mack on Feb 11, 2020 at 3:06 pm

What bullying and harassment? Statements - like those provided as examples in this story - that disagree with the Rendezvous Society's decision do not, in and of themselves, qualify as "bullying and harassment." And refusing to support a Queen candidate does not qualify as "bullying and harassment."

Up 56 Down 4

When you try too hard to appeal to everyone on Feb 11, 2020 at 1:58 pm

It becomes so watered down and worthless that it appeals to no one.

Up 58 Down 10

SheepChaser on Feb 11, 2020 at 9:14 am

Discrimination is when you lose out on what should be an equal opportunity due to a protected personal attribute. Employment, legal rights, etc...
There are categories in life. There are disappointments in life. This is a fun, but ultimately meaningless competition. Deal with it.

Our society has lost all emotional resilience. What used to be a small bother in life is now a reason to use the collective weight of unemployed self-designated wastebook whiners... sorry, *advocates*... to impose a hellish social tyranny just to make a small minority feel better.

The reaction to this issue is very symbolic. There is a silent majority. When this whining fad has passed, the rest of us will still be here working hard, keeping frugal and pursuing our modest happiness without bothering anyone.

Up 25 Down 69

Yukon Cornelius on Feb 11, 2020 at 8:52 am

Perhaps a boycott by the world's LGBTQ community of the Yukon as a tourist destination would bring the Yukon's Neanderthals to their senses? It's the 21 century. If Yukoners want prosperity through participating in a global economy, then inclusiveness is a basic requirement.

Up 29 Down 29

Moose101 on Feb 11, 2020 at 6:14 am

Wow first prize trip to Old Crow what’s 2nd prize 2 trips to Old Crow ?

Up 43 Down 14

U. Strange-Knutt on Feb 10, 2020 at 11:12 pm

Jonathan Colby - Conservative Territory? Wow? Did you just get here? The Yukon is more aptly described as classically liberal. But hey, people are no longer required to be educated they only need have an opinion in this Brave New World... Where ignorance is knowledge and fantasy the new reality!

Up 45 Down 8

JC on Feb 10, 2020 at 8:36 pm

Diversity may be the Liberal's strength, but there are some of us still alive who respect our history and traditions. Since they - history and traditions - are gone, so am I from the, whatever the future name of this festival will be.

Up 17 Down 2

JC on Feb 10, 2020 at 8:32 pm

Groucho, I think we all know.

Up 60 Down 5

Ginger Johnson on Feb 10, 2020 at 7:27 pm

Rendezvous used to to be fun because it was like getting a free trip to WESTWORLD - a great place to visit even though you knew you wouldn't want to live there.
It has become so bland that most of us are ignoring it.

Up 51 Down 10

Mike on Feb 10, 2020 at 5:55 pm

This is not the fault of anyone but the rendezvous organization. They have allowed rendezvous to become a thing of the past. It no longer a holds a light to what it used to be. Get the hoity toities out of the organizing rendezvous and allow someone with character to take over and bring back rendezvous. This sham we've been dealing with is a bad joke everyone is sick of not laughing to.

Up 39 Down 7

When you remove tradition and "Modernize" on Feb 10, 2020 at 5:40 pm

events, you get a bastardization of the original. This is why people stopped participating.
The Yukon wasn't a called the "non cussedest land that I know, land that you know."

Up 71 Down 9

Grocho d'North on Feb 10, 2020 at 5:28 pm

The article neglects to inform which gender the complaints were coming from, hmmm.

Up 93 Down 46

Born yukoner on Feb 10, 2020 at 4:58 pm

Some things need to be left alone. The Queen race is .....a Queen race. They can include the Sams competition instead for men? If not enough interest welcome to the club of bygone clubs and activities. It's life.

Up 103 Down 11

Dave on Feb 10, 2020 at 4:56 pm

Not talking about the inclusivity, but I think the board for Rendezvous has lost their way a number of years ago. It hasn’t been the same for a long time and it’s been losing interest from the public. Fresh blood and all new members with new ideas for Yukon history and Yukon related themes is what it needs. What we should be celebrating is Yukon culture and history. The Yukon has a lot to be proud of and it’s failed to showcase that to the rest of the world.

Up 88 Down 14

Rob on Feb 10, 2020 at 4:31 pm

This is just sad! Rendezvous Sure isn’t what it used to be.

Up 100 Down 28

Dentist on Feb 10, 2020 at 4:30 pm

I arrived in the Yukon in the summer of ‘73 so my first rendezvous was in ‘74 and it sure was fun. All the events occurred on Main Street. The river froze so lots of events were held there. No sourdough king. Lots of high stepping gals were queen candidates. The whole damn thing has changed now and that is too bad.

Up 83 Down 41

Darrell Drugstore's smartest neighbour on Feb 10, 2020 at 4:26 pm

"I think there’s so many different cultures and beliefs in the Yukon now, to celebrate Rendezvous like we celebrated in 1960 wouldn’t do our community justice,” she said."
100% WRONG
And organizers keep wondering why most of us no longer interested in what has become PCvous

Up 66 Down 45

Jonathan Colby on Feb 10, 2020 at 4:12 pm

If anybody was surprised by the community reaction, then I offer the suggestion that they need to pay closer attention to this deeply (and hilariously hypocritical) conservative territory. The Yukon is a safe place for rainbows, just as long as no one "has to" see them. See how quickly the sun darkens around them.

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