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S&M Convention Cancelled

OCEAN CITY, Maryland — Citing concern that the event could violate state liquor licensing codes, hotel officials announced Monday that they have canceled a sadism and masochism convention scheduled for next month.
Black Rose, a Washington D.C.-based group that teaches and promotes alternative sexual practices, had organized a national convention to be held from Nov. 14 to 16 at the Princess Royale Oceanfront Hotel and Conference Center in Ocean City.

More than 2,000 members were expected to attend the event and had booked every room at the facility.

The conference had drawn scorn from some resort residents and a threatened citizen protest. However, lawmakers said they were unable to do anything to restrict the group, which was to operate on private property out of public view.

But Princess Royale manager Jon Tremellen said Monday that he and the organizers decided to cancel the event after county liquor officials notified him of possible violations of state liquor codes.

Tremellen said the Worcester County Alcoholic Beverage License Board sent him a “friendly reminder” about Article 2, Section 10-405 of the Annotated Code of Maryland that ultimately convinced him to terminate the hotel’s contract with Black Rose.

The state code prohibits public nudity and simulated sex in places where liquor is sold.

“It’s basically a law to keep strip clubs out,” Tremellen said. “Here it may have a subjective application.”

The Worcester board didn’t threaten the Princess Royale with its letter, Tremellen said.

“They didn’t try to intimidate us,” he said. “They just said if any of these activities are going to occur, we’d be in violation and would lose our license.”

Tremellen said Black Rose representatives couldn’t guarantee that all of their members would adhere to the restrictions.

“I couldn’t let them put me in jeopardy, and they couldn’t guarantee that these things wouldn’t happen,” he said. “They respected me, the hotel and the law and weren’t going to do anything to put our business in jeopardy.”

Cathi Coates, attorney for the county license board, said the letter was sent as a courtesy.

“Based on the level of publicity the board had received regarding this event, we reminded the licensee that they had obligations regarding the actions on their premises that they shouldn’t forget,” she said.

Tremellen said the convention would have been a tremendous boost to the local economy on an otherwise slow weekend in November.

“They have a right to be here,” he said. “Most of what they do involves married couples just trying to spice up their relationships.”

The full effect of driving Black Rose away has yet to be felt, he said.

“These folks have been to Ocean City before with their families,” Tremellen said. “But, you can bet they won’t be coming back.”


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