The committee behind this year’s Drag Industry Variety Awards (DIVA) has moved to distance itself from rumours that Pauline Hanson will present an award at this year’s event.

In a statement issued this morning, DIVA chairman Greg Steele said while the speculation had been good for broadening knowledge of the awards, Hanson had not been extended an official invitation.

“The DIVA Awards celebrate and promote tolerance towards the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, and are happy to do so even if it comes from unexpected quarters,” the statement read.

“Yesterday’s media attention has created hype, talk and debate. It has given people a platform to voice their opinions on views and political points that are important to them. A donation was made yesterday to the Jackie Mackay Breast Cancer Foundation to Celebrity Apprentice team, Team Unity.

“We would like to clarify that the DIVA Awards Australia is in no way aligning themselves with controversial ex-political figure Pauline Hanson who is one of the members of Celebrity Apprentice Team Unity, no official invitation has been made to Pauline Hanson by the DIVA Awards and she has in no way officially accepted any invitation.”

Social media sites went into overdrive last night after another website hinted that the former One Nation leader would be at the awards, to be held on October 24 at the Byron Kennedy Hall, Fox Studios.

“Isn’t it a bit like getting Hermann Goering to MC at a bar mitzvah?” one critic posted on Facebook.

“Unless she is there to apologise and tell people she has changed her ways she has no business being at the DIVA’s and I am surprised if the DIVA’s would even have her, are you sure the media did not mistake Pauline Pantsdown for the ‘real’ Pauline?,” another wrote.

In an interview with the Star Observer in April 2007 Hanson spoke out against gay marriage.

SSO: Do you support gay and lesbian equality?

PH: What I won’t support is gay marriages.

SSO: Do you support gay civil unions?

PH: I have to understand more about civil unions. I can’t accept same-sex marriage or a union between people. Then it will be okay to allow the other rights. Then the rights of adopting children or IVF must be accepted. If you accept one area you must accept another area.

READ THE FULL 2007 INTERVIEW

The gay community has a chequered history with Pauline Hanson after performer Simon Hunt’s alter ego Pauline Pantsdown satirised her in the 1997 chart hit I Don’t Like It.

Last night Hunt used Facebook to express his opinion on the possibility of Hanson appearing at the awards.

“Hello, the “other Pauline” here … this is what happens when someone spends 13 years as a B-grade dancing celeb after their political life finishes: people forget about the other three years in which she caused great pain with her marginalisation of non-white people in this country; that her racism epitomised the evil dark shit that to this day still bubbles under the surface here – be it on right-wing facebook groups or some Grindr profiles,” he wrote.

“So what drugs are the DIVA committee on? In my own brief B-grade celeb-hood in ‘97-99, it was paradoxically a comment made at a DIVA night that summed up Hanson’s effect: my DIVA performance was choregraphed by a 40-ish Malaysian guy who’d been here for 20 years. He told me that the Hanson time we were living in then had, for the first time, made him feel unwelcome in this country. So sorry to not be funny, but this is pretty disgusting.”

The annual DIVA Awards are held to recognise the successes of Sydney’s drag community.

The awards were launched at the Midnight Shift on Monday.

IN PICTURES: DIVA 2011 launch party

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