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Kelowna queer bar ordered to pay drag performer for services, entertainment

Kelowna’s Freida Whales will be paid for their work at Friends of Dorothy after winning a civil suit
(Freida Whales/Facebook)

Kelowna’s Drag Queen of Controversy will be paid for their work after a recent small claims decision ruled in favour of the performer.

Tyson Cook, also known by their drag performer stage name Freida Whales, was awarded $1,100 in unpaid wages on Aug. 25, after Friends of Dorothy, a local LGBTQIA2S+ cocktail lounge and bar refused to pay for the entertainment services that they provided.

Cook filed the civil suit after a verbal contract for work and payment in the summer of 2022, was breached.

From July 14, until September 8, Cook hosted nine Canada’s Drag Race viewing parties followed by karaoke nights. Cook submits that the manager at Friends of Dorothy agreed to pay them $100 for the viewing party and $150 for the karaoke, totalling $250 for each of the nine nights worked. Cook said that they were not paid for eight of the viewing parties and two of the karaoke sessions, amounting to $1,100.

Friends of Dorothy submitted that they do not owe the drag performer any money. The lounge stated that they never agreed to pay Cook an additional fee for the viewing parties and that they had paid all invoices from the performer.

The small claims decision, which ruled in favour of Cook, said that Friends of Dorothy chose not to provide evidence for these claims, despite having the opportunity to do so.

Cook submitted multiple text exchanges, bank statements and invoices as evidence.

In one text exchange with the manager of Friends of Dorothy Cook asks if they asked if they would be paid more for the viewing parties and the manager responded, “of course I’d pay you extra”.

Cook also submitted a text exchange where the manager said that the bar’s managing partner “didn’t approve the drag race viewing budget”.

Another message from the manager states that the managing partner of Friends of Dorothy would not pay the additional money because the bar “did not receive sufficient sales or revenue to justify the additional fee,” and because Cook allegedly did not work extra time on the nights they hosted.

Additionally, Friends of Dorothy said that Cook failed to sufficiently perform their duties but provided no explanation or evidence to support this statement, according to the civil court document.

The small claims decision states that there is no evidence that the payment was contingent on the bar receiving a certain amount of sales or revenue on the viewing party nights.

The LBTQ+ bar has been ordered to pay Cook $1,100 for hosting the karaoke nights and viewing parties, in addition to $38.52 in interest and $125 in court fees.

READ MORE: Kelowna’s Drag Queen of Controversy turns hate into funding for queer youth


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Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

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