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LGBT bill costs Fear Fete a headliner

COURTESY FEAR FETE 
 Sid Haig is one of the horror film stars helping tell South Mississippi's story.
COURTESY FEAR FETE Sid Haig is one of the horror film stars helping tell South Mississippi's story.

A South Mississippi film festival has lost one of its headliners because of the religious freedom law.

"I'm having a bit of an issue with the celebrity guest, vendors and people within the film industry," said Thomas Wills, promoter and owner for Fear Fete Horror Convention. "They don't like it too much. I've actually lost one of my headliners. That's kind of a big deal to me."

Wills said it takes at least a year to line up a headliner for the show, that includes a film festival, art and panel discussions. He said he's already lining up talent for the 2017 event.

He said he's also launching a gaming convention in Biloxi this year that will feature video games, PC games and table games.

"It's kind of a tough deal for them," he said. "A lot of these guys are out of Colorado or California, and New York City."

Fear Fete has published a statement opposing the new law on its web site.

"We want every person who joins our family and every customer attending our events to feel welcome," it says in part. "We believe in equality for everyone, and an inclusive environment, regardless of race, age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. We truly believe in a #FeteForAll that unites individuals who share the same passions, no exceptions."

Wills said he tries to tell people that the Coast isn't Jackson.

"Things are done differently down here," he said. "I've had a few of my headliners ... that do a lot of business with me are helping spread the word that we're no like that down here."

Discrimination, he said, hurts the bottom line.

"All money's green," he said. "I you want to come and spend money, the by all means, I'm not going to discriminate against that."

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