Following a 24-hour social media frenzy, HonFest organizers apologized to Planned Parenthood of Maryland on Saturday night for initially rejecting its vendor application and invited the nonprofit to participate in this year’s festival.

HonFest organizers asked the health care provider to forgive their “severe shortsightedness.”

“This year, our sincere intent was to remain politically neutral and avoid any type of conflict, and in doing so, we inadvertently created the controversy we were desperately hoping to avoid,” a post on the HonFest Facebook page said. “We are deeply sorry and apologize for our decision to exclude your organization.”

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Planned Parenthood of Maryland has not publicly responded to HonFest’s apology or indicated whether it would occupy a vendor table.

HonFest denies Planned Parenthood of Maryland a vendor table, sparking pushback

On Friday, Planned Parenthood of Maryland announced its HonFest ouster on several public platforms, kindling a social media firestorm that lasted well into the next day.

HonFest had originally decided to exclude the nonprofit that provides reproductive health care services, including abortions, because of long-held rules prohibiting “political, religious, and hot topic issues.”

“Since the overturning of the Roe V Wade decision, it has certainly become an issue which has led to some very unfortunate public incidences, and as such, it has become a ‘hot topic’.”

Planned Parenthood of Maryland had tabled previous editions of the festival, which celebrates the “historic working women of Baltimore.”

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The decision sparked anger-fueled responses on social media platforms and triggered talk of boycotts and protests.

Regular attendees threatened to boycott the event, local businesses and entertainers pulled out, and sponsors withdrew their participation. Even Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott weighed in on Twitter.

“PPM has stood up for families in Maryland for decades. Now it’s time for us to stand up for them. HonFest is a Baltimore tradition, and I hope they work to resolve this issue to include PPM,” the Democrat tweeted.

Following the response on social media, Planned Parenthood of Maryland tweeted, “We’re floored at the overwhelming outpouring of support from you guys regarding HONfest!”

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brenda.wintrode@thebaltimorebanner.com

Brenda Wintrode covers state government, agencies and politics. Before joining The Baltimore Banner, Wintrode wrote an award winning series of long form investigations for Wisconsin Watch. 

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