Days after a Hilton hotel in Houston backed out of its contract to hold the Texxxas adult entertainment expo next month, a second venue reneged on a deal with convention promoters.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation announced the Holiday Inn Southwest, on U.S. 59, had canceled its agreement to host Texxxas. The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit had previously lobbied the Hilton to pull the plug.
“InterContinental Hotels Group and the independently owned and operated Holiday Inn Southwest hotel took an important stand against sexual exploitation by refusing to host this pornography expo,” said Dawn Hawkins, the group's executive director.
The Holiday Inn confirmed it had backed out of an agreement with Texxxas, but Assistant Manager
Ashley Williams declined to say why.
"I'm not at liberty to give any statements at this moment," she said.
Texxxas, which had been scheduled to run August 17-20, is a four-day convention featuring adult-themed vendors, parties at Houston strip clubs and appearances by several dozen pornographic actors.
Hawkins told the Houston Press last week that the center on sexual exploitation believes adult entertainment events depict women poorly and cause increases in sex trafficking and prostitution in a host city. Hawkins was unable to provide any research to back that claim, but said she has spoken with former pornographic actors who said they "have been prostituted at and after these events.”
John Gray, the organizer of Texxxas, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. A man who answered the convention's phone line declined to confirm or deny whether the Holiday Inn had backed out. Gray told the Houston Press last week he was frustrated the Hilton pulled out of its agreement, and said he had never had a venue cancel in his more than two decades of hosting adult entertainment conventions.
Gray denies that events like Texxxas exploit women, and denied a link between adult-themed conventions and increases in sex crimes. He said Texxxas and Houston-area strip clubs work to prevent sex trafficking in and around their venues.
The future of Texxxas remains unclear. We'll update this story if John Gray calls us back.
UPDATE July 28, 11:05 a.m.: A buoyant and undeterred Gray says the show must go on. He told the Press on Thursday morning that a number of venues have contacted him about hosting Texxxas.
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“The third time is the charm,” Gray said. “We just need to find a [venue] that's best for us.”
As for Dawn Hawkins, Gray had nothing but kind words.
“I'm going to send them a nice vase of flowers and a thank-you note for the publicity,” Gray said. “She's done nothing but help us.”
Gray said he would likely announce a new location for Texxxas Friday or Monday.