The above photo surfaced Friday of a Palm Springs couple having sex on the balcony of their cabin aboard the Celebrity Summit cruise ship while it was docked in Dominica recently. As you’ve undoubtedly heard, the couple was arrested and charged with sodomy.
However, a gay Dallas couple who were on the same cruise provided their own photos to Instant Tea which suggest the image of the couple having sex had to be captured with a telephoto lens — possibly by Dominican officials looking for trouble. The Dallas couple asked to not be identified. Check out their photos after the jump.
As you can see above and below, the Dallas couple’s photos appear to confirm that the ship was docked at the end of a long pier, not along the shore.
“You would have needed binoculars to see the gritty details and determine the exact room,” one of the Dallas men said.
One of the photos, taken from the Dallas couple’s cabin, also shows there weren’t crowds on shore who would have noticed the Palm Springs couple on their balcony, but rather just some vehicles driving by or parked to pick up tour groups.
One of the gay Dallas men said that when Dominica authorities boarded the ship, “Celebrity and Atlantis handed them [the couple] over.”
The anti-gay sentiment went beyond police arresting the couple who made “stupid decisions,” according to the Dallas couple. Before learning about the incident, people on the ship who had taken shore excursions were taunted by islanders.
“There were Atlantis guests that had gone ashore for excursions that were insulted and threatened by angry groups of locals, without knowing what was happening,” one of the men said.
Despite that, Atlantis Events President Rich Campbell claimed the arrest had nothing to do with the sexual orientationof the couple.
“Atlantis put a lot of people in a very dangerous situation without many of them realizing it,” one of the Dallas men said.
Campbell claimed the cruise company offered to leave someone behind until the situation was resolved, but the two arrested men declined assistance. The Dallas couple said that other passengers on the ship were told only that the couple had been arrested and were being left behind.
After the ship left the island, he said there was a lot of anger among passengers about leaving the couple behind, despite the fact they had made some stupid choices.
“When Rich Campbell stepped on stage the last night, half the guests walked out on him,” he said.
Atlantis officials said that they will continue to stop in Dominica.
“I’m embarrassed my money went to these ports,” the Dallas man said. “The Dominican authorities were looking for trouble, and these two idiots gave it to them.”
The editor of the South Florida Gay News is so annoyed about the incident, he’s calling for a boycott of Atlantis Events.
The Dallas couple said that they wished Campbell wasn’t so dismissive of their customers, many of whom would prefer to dock in friendly ports.
In an exchange on the Atlantis Events alumni boards before the trip, the Dallas man asked the company, “Why are we going to so many Caribbean countries with anti-gay laws on their books and homophobic populations? I understand that personal contacts help to break down barriers but after our Atlantis excursion group ran into a hostile crowd in the Bahamas a few years back, I don’t intend to set foot or spend a dime in one of these countries. This is a vacation and a chance to relax, and we should not have to be concerned about our safety.”
Campbell answered, “We clearly differ on what is responsible tourism. The itinerary we created is a customized one that I designed to take you to beautiful places on vacation. Almost every country, including the USA, has some type of discriminatory laws on their books. If that was our criteria, we wouldn’t go anywhere, including the Caribbean, Asia, Mexico, or even several European countries. In practice, these laws are outdated relics that pose no relevance to either us as tourists or to the country’s population in general.”
However, Campbell doesn’t seem to understand the difference between laws in Mexico, with marriage equality in Mexico City that is recognized throughout the country; and laws in Dominica, with a possible jail sentence of 10 years for homosexuality; and Barbados, where homosexuality carries a possible life sentence.
Meanwhile, Atlantis Events has a cruise scheduled for July 24-31 that is scheduled to dock in St. Petersburg, Russia where a severe anti-gay law was recently enacted.