An American LGBTQ travel company has admitted defeat after receiving extreme death threats ahead of a gay tour of Ethiopia in October.
Toto Tours, from Chicago, came under fire from politicians and religious leaders last month after it started promoting a 16-day ‘Treasures Of Ethiopia’ package.
Despite the potential that the tourists could face violence, Dan Ware, the president of Toto Tours, was initially defiant and insisted the trip would go ahead “with only the greatest respect and humility.”
Following nationwide protests and major religious organisations, as well as the mayor of Addis Ababa, condemning the trip, on June 10 Ware, wrote to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Prime Minister asking for their support. Neither has answered.
He has now conceded that the venture may be too dangerous to go through with. “It seems that most of the country has risen up against us,” he said in a statement.
Ware revealed that he’d received an avalanche of hate mail and death threats describing “a menu of gruesome ways any gay person would be killed if he or she dared to set foot on Ethiopian soil.”
He told NBC Chicago: “We had descriptions of [bring] buried alive, burned alive; I had an ISIS-type video with a guy with a mask on his head, brandishing his sword saying we are going to cut your throat. It was not something to ignore.”