Swish Embassy T-Shirt Commemorates COVID-Unsafe 'Gay Party Boat' Disaster

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday January 14, 2021

Swish Embassy T-Shirt Commemorates COVID-Unsafe 'Gay Party Boat' Disaster
  (Source:Swish Embassy/Facebook)

"Too soon?"

That was the Jan. 2 Facebook post from Swish Embassy that accompanied a photo of the LGBTQ clothing company's brand-new T-shirt design, "Abandon Ship PVR." The illustration commemorates - or mocks - the gay party boat that went down in the waters off Puerto Vallarta on New Year's Eve.

The T is available in a variety of colors and features a cartoon boat sliding into blue waves at a steep angle while several scarcely-clad male figures cavort on deck.

The head of Swish Embassy, Dean Malka, told GayCities that the T-shirt is of a piece with the company motto ("Wear a conversation piece"), and copped to "having a bit of fun calling out people behaving badly during a pandemic.

"Ultimately we all have a responsibility to be good global citizens and do our best not to worsen the current situation," Malka added.

And as for the Facebook response to the company's question? "Perfect," "perfection," "perfect timing," and "I need this in my life now" were among the responses.

As previously reported at EDGE, the catamaran, which was reportedly carrying 60 revelers - many, if not all, of them gay men from the United States - took on water while returning from a "clothing optional" beach party in Riviera Nayarit. About 60 people reportedly ended up in the waves, and local small craft came to the rescue, fishing the revelers out of the water.

The event, which was organized by Jeffrey Sanker, took place even as local hospitals were overwhelmed with COVID cases.

The local press complained about the party in advance, slamming "foreigners" who "come to our community and throw big parties and leave COVID while causing our businesses to close and people lose their jobs". Social media took aim at the event, also, calling the gathering a "super spreader event" and its attendees "Covidiots." The controversy prompted the event to be relocated from Puerto Vallarta to Riviera Nayarit.

Still, the party went on - and social media users pulled no punches in continuing to deliver their condemnation, with the catamaran's sinking in rough waters only intensifying scrutiny of the event and the negative response to it. The group GaysOverCovid led the way on Instagram, calling out the event and its attendees, as did many Twitter users.

Too soon? #PuertoVallarta #paintmelikeoneofyourfrenchgirls #delice #instagay #gaytshirtPosted by Swish Embassy on Saturday, January 2, 2021

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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