MIAMI — Canadian far-right media group Rebel Media won’t be sailing out of Miami for a week-long conference aboard a Norwegian cruise ship scheduled for November.
After pressure from an anti-racism advocacy group in the United Kingdom, Norwegian on Wednesday canceled the Nov. 12 sailing aboard the 1,646-passenger Norwegian Getaway. The ship was set to leave from PortMiami for a western Caribbean itinerary that included stops in Roatan, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.
In a promotional video for the voyage, dubbed the “Rebel Cruise,” Canadian writer and co-founder of the magazine and website VICE, Gavin McInnes advertised the trip as a “week at sea with like-minded folks, hanging out, getting hammered, aye, smoking darts and talking about making Canada great again.” The event included panel discussions with Rebel personalities. (McInnes left VICE in 2008.)
UK-based HOPE not hate launched a campaign against the Rebel Cruise, asking for signatures on petitions to ask Norwegian to cancel the sailing. The group pointed to McInnes’ connections to the organizer of the Unite The Right Charlottesville demonstration, a white supremacist rally that turned violent Saturday when a car plowed into a group of counter-protesters, killing one person.
McInnes is a member of the Proud Boys, a far-right men’s organization, which counts among its new members Jason Kessler, who organized the Charlottesville rally. (McInnes distanced himself from the rally in advance of the demonstration).
“We believe Norwegian Cruise Line must take a stand against racism, homophobia, sexism, transphobia, and hatred of all kinds,” HOPE not hate’s petition read.
The uproar around the cruise reached the ears of Norwegian management, which on Wednesday wrote in a statement to HOPE not hate that the Rebel Cruise “espoused views that are inconsistent with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings core values. The company has therefore exercised its right to cancel this group’s reservation and provide a full refund.” The statement, posted on HOPE not hate’s website, was confirmed as accurate by the cruise line.
Now Rebel Media is setting up a petition of its own against Norwegian Cruise Line, asking the line to reverse its decision and “announce that they will not discriminate against conservatives on their cruise line.”
“We hope we can convince Norwegian to stop the blacklist, and change their mind, and let us have our cruise, as we have done so many years before on various cruise lines,” Levant wrote in an email. “Norwegian got this one wrong, it wasn’t fair, and they smeared our reputations too.”