Update: This email went out on July 22 from the Festival of Eugene email account:
“Racism cannot be tolerated. The 2016 Festival of Eugene is canceled. Our sincere apologies for those hurt and affected.”
Allegations of racism have arisen against Festival of Eugene organizer Krysta Albert.
Many of the allegations center on a comment of “U r exactly why we call u people niggers” made to Jamie Clark on a Facebook thread belonging to Nancy Berge that has been screen captured.
Albert’s Facebook page has been removed and the Festival of Eugene event page has comments from sponsors saying they are pulling their support.
In response to EW‘s request for comment, Albert writes:
The Festival has consulted an attorney and we are in the process of issuing a Press Release. Suffice to say these allegations are untrue.
The Festival of Eugene, ran by a dedicated team of volunteers, does not in the past, present nor future discriminate against anyone for any reason; neither race, color, creed, national origin, religious, sexual preference or orientation or political. Nor has it participated in racism, bigotry or any other type of discrimination or hate. The Festival is about celebrating diversity, social tolerance and inclusion of all. For those who have participated in this event in years past know this to be true.
Recent FaceBook posts have subjected our event to speculation and allegations. The recent posts are under review by FaceBook and our FaceBook administrators.
It is always good to keep in mind social media is fertile ground for drama and speculation. The Festival its’ reputation to be based on its history, mission and good will to the community at large.
Albert also posted on the Festival of Eugene page (a different page from the event page) saying she didn’t write or endorse the comment.
Kelly Asay, publisher of the news website Eugene Daily News has weighed in in Albert’s defense, writing that her Facebook page was hacked and Facebook is looking into it.
In response to Assay, the Facebook page Diverse Eugene writes,
“Regarding Eugene Daily News’s statement that racism would be ‘completely out of character’ for Festival of Eugene organizer Krysta Albert, we offer this quote from the Register-Guard, May 4, 2016: Reader comment about Donald Trump’s visit to Eugene. ‘I, for one, and absolutely voting for this man! And I would love to hear him speak! — Krysta Albert’ We’re not sure how Ms. Albert expressing avid support for a racist politician translates to ‘racism would be completely out of character for Krysta Albert’.”
Others have argued that Albert has made similar posts, including longtime Eugene activist Alley Valkyrie who is now in Portland. Valkyrie writes in a public post that “I blocked her after she made very similar racist comments as well as anti-homeless comments on the thread of a mutual friend.”
In one Facebook message conversation Albert says it was photoshopped and elsewhere she has posted she was hacked.