SC “So Gay” Scandal Takes New Twist

South Carolina’s “So Gay” ad scandal continues to stink.

State tourism officials claim the ad, which they refused to fund, was approved by a “low-level employee.” Advertising agents in the know, however, tell a very different tale:

Pursuing a deal to advertise South Carolina as “so gay,” tourism officials in the state hosted a visit to showcase gay-friendly hotels, bars, and beaches, two European executives told Q-Notes.

“A three-day visit was arranged for me,” said Andrew Roberts, CEO of the gay travel agency Amro Worldwide. The visit included free hotel stays and escorting by tourism representatives, at least one of whom was reimbursed for mileage.

Impressed by what he experienced during his April trip, Roberts gave the go-ahead to Out Now Consulting, the gay marketing agency selected to execute the ads.

South Carolina’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT) initiated and approved the campaign at every step, according to Roberts and Out Now CEO Ian Johnson.

What’s more, tourism officials saw the ad in May and apparently didn’t have any problem. It wasn’t until a conservative blog went wild that the advert become an international political issue.

Johnson goes on to say that the man who approved the ad was more than “low-level,”

That person who approved the ‘So Gay’ advertising campaign, and was later forced to resign by SCPRT, is the International Sales Manager, responsible for the UK — a person with more than a decade of management experience and an immense amount of respect within the global tourism marketing community.

Johnson and company also debunk South Carolina’s claims that they don’t do niche marketing.

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    Where’s the rest of the post?

  • leon4youall

    Is it too big to fit here?


    I don’t understand what it is the big deal with these ads. They know gays spend money.I think it is the way should be.

  • greybat

    I certainly hope that boy’s father with the baseball bat doesn’t show up and try to “beat the Gay out of” the tourism board!

  • Francis McButterpants

    It’s an elegant ad. What’s the big deal?

  • Andrew Roberts

    Andrew Roberts, chief executive of Amro Worldwide here.

    I appreciate you covering this story.

    Amro Worldwide thinks it is long past time when “so gay” should be considered acceptable as an insult, so we decided to reclaim it as meaning “so good.”

    We are a small boutique gay-owned business based just north of London. If any of your readers have travel plans, from hotels, tours and cruises or flights out of the United Kingdom right up to complicated worldwide travel itineraries — we’d love to help.

    You can browser ideas and buy online in USD, GBP or Euros at and pay using your local credit card. Alternatively, contact us directly via the link in the top right hand corner of our web pages.

    Thanks very much for your support and we look forward to sending you off on your travels.

    Andrew Roberts
    CEO, Amro Worldwide

Comments are closed.