A man died Sunday morning after attending an unofficial party to celebrate Atlanta Pride. WXIA TV in Atlanta reported the unidentified man suffered a medical emergency at the BJ Roosters nightclub which played host to Xion, a gay circuit party organized by Ga Boy Events. He was taken to Piedmont Hospital where he was pronounced dead around 8:00 a.m. An anonymous source told The Advocate the event was overcrowded and without proper ventilation or medical personnel on scene. These reports were supported by video footage that has since gone viral online.
“It was tragic,” the witness told The Advocate. “I’ve been to parties all over the world, I have never been to one without EMTs. In my opinion, this could have been avoided.”
The source described a disorganized and overcrowded scene at the BJ Rooster night club in Atlanta which is known for its male go-go dancers. They described the victim as a Black man in his mid to late 30s who appeared in good health until he suddenly went into a medical emergency around 6:30 a.m. According to the witness, there were no EMTs on scene in case of an emergency, and the staff “seemed unprepared to handle anything of the sort.” Most parties of that size and nature would have EMTs nearby. They said an onlooker had to provide CPR while waiting for paramedics.
“It was a minimum of 30 minutes before an ambulance arrived,” they said, “and I’m being generous.”
WXIA TV reported the victim's partner told authorities the man had taken ecstacy pills.
The parties were controversial even before Sunday’s deadly turn of events. Some people took to social media to express their anger at the organizers and attendees.
Andy Herren, winner of Big Brother season 15 posted video on Twitter describing the event as “appallingly gross” and calling attendees “selfish” for their flaunting of health guidelines. The video showed a wild scene with shirtless men packed close together dancing and cavorting with little heed paid to social distancing. Herren had pulld the video from an attendee's Instagram Story. It was reposted by the likes of Kameron Michaels — who has since deleted, — Tyler Oakley, Daniel Preda, and more.
Some have objected to the posting of these videos. Activists like Jason Rosenberg have ponted out that such posts only invite shaming of attendees, which has been proven as an ineffective and even harmful response to public health crises.
None of the Ga Boys Events parties held over the weekend were officially sanctioned by Atlanta Pride, which went entirely virtual this year in response to the global pandemic. The group issued a statement reminding the public they have no connection with the Ga Boy Events parties, and urging everyone to “stay home and stay safe!”
Georgia has permitted bars to open in the state, but only with reduced capacity and as long as other safety measures are observed.