Malmö orders external probe into Pride group

Malmö has ordered an external probe of the gay rights organization Malmö Pride after its chairman Filip Filipek arranged a contract for himself which gives him a cut of all funding secured.

Malmö orders external probe into Pride group
Filip Filipek marches alongside culture minister Alice Bah Kuhnke during Malmö's 2017 celebrations. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Malmö mayor Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh announced on Thursday that the city's executive committee had appointed the accounting firm PWC to look into the organization's affairs, before the city will transfer the 40 million kronor ($4.4m) in funding it has agreed to provide for the 2021 World Pride celebrations, which are being held in Copenhagen and Malmö. 
“My feeling, and in this we are agreed across political divides, is that it is extremely inappropriate,” Stjernfeldt Jammeh told the Sydsvenskan newspaper of the controversial arrangement. “The idea is not that the money should go to individuals. What is problematic is that he is both employed and employer.” 
Filipek is both the Chairman of Malmö Pride, a voluntary group, and employed by it as the Pride General organizing the 2021 event.
According to the newspaper, the employment contract he agreed with the board he chairs gives him one percent of all funding secured for Malmö Pride. 
“It was a decision which was taken in 2016 when I was employed, because it is my responsibility to hunt down sponsors and income for the organization,” Filipek told Sydsvenskan when the story first broke last week.
The trigger was the resignation of Edith Escobar, the group's vice chair, which followed four other members of the group's board, all of whom have left since the group's annual meeting in March. 
Filipek initially denied that the one percent commission on funding included grants from public bodies. 
But Sydsvenskan provided him with an email he had sent to his colleagues in which he listed grants from Malmö Tourism, Region Skåne and Malmö Stad, all of which he said would go towards the 13,515 kronor bonus he received as a bonus in January. 
The bonus came on top of a monthly salary of 35,000 kronor.

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Stockholm Pride is a little different this year: here’s what you need to know 

This week marks the beginning of Pride festivities in the Swedish capital. The tickets sold out immediately, for the partly in-person, partly digital events. 

Pride parade 2019
There won't be a Pride parade like the one in 2019 on the streets of Stockholm this year. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT

You might have noticed rainbow flags popping up on major buildings in Stockholm, and on buses and trams. Sweden has more Pride festivals per capita than any other country and is the largest Pride celebration in the Nordic region, but the Stockholm event is by far the biggest.  

The Pride Parade, which usually attracts around 50,000 participants in a normal year, will be broadcast digitally from Södra Teatern on August 7th on Stockholm Pride’s website and social media. The two-hour broadcast will be led by tenor and debater Rickard Söderberg.

The two major venues of the festival are Pride House, located this year at the Clarion Hotel Stockholm at Skanstull in Södermalm, and Pride Stage, which is at Södra Teatern near Slussen.

“We are super happy with the layout and think it feels good for us as an organisation to slowly return to normal. There are so many who have longed for it,” chairperson of Stockholm Pride, Vix Herjeryd, told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

Tickets are required for all indoor events at Södra Teatern to limit the number of people indoors according to pandemic restrictions. But the entire stage programme will also be streamed on a big screen open air on Mosebacketerassen, which doesn’t require a ticket.  

You can read more about this year’s Pride programme on the Stockholm Pride website (in Swedish).