Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
The headquarters of Walltopia—the world’s leading climbing wall company—suffered an arson attack last weekend that appears to be a hate crime directed at the LGBTQIA+ community and the company’s public support for LGBTQIA+ causes.
A company press release from July 8 described the attack, which occured on Sunday, July 5, at approximately 3:00 a.m.:”The culprits used incendiary liquid to set fire to a temporary rainbow-colored flag installation on the facade of Walltopia’s building. The crime recorded by the security cameras can undoubtedly be defined as arson. The motive of the 4 attackers is clear—hatred of the Pride movement, the members of the LGBTQI community and their supporters in the face of Walltopia.”
The 21-meter long Pride flag became a seasonal addition to the Walltopia bulding’s facade in 2018, appearing each year since as part of the company’s support for an annual Pride parade organized by an organization called Sofia Pride. The company also helps support the annual parade financially.
Ivaylo Penchev, Walltopia’s founder and CEO, told Sofia Pride about his decision to first hang the Pride flag on the company’s headquarters: “I realized that they felt unaccepted and because of their difficult situation they are trying to find their own happiness. That’s why we decided to support Sofia Pride—people should not be afraid to be themselves no matter what.”
The Walltopia press release concluded by affirming the company’s support for LGBTQIA+ causes and issuing a plea for justice: “At Walltopia we believe in the right of every human being to be who they are and we firmly stand by their right to be free and happy, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity. That is why we see the crime committed against us as a crime against all those who identify with the same values. We remain hopeful that law officers will find the perpetrators and they will take responsibility for their actions.”
With well over 1,000 climbing-wall projects in various stages of development or construction at any given time—in 2018, they had 1,800 projects on the books—Walltopia is the largest climbing wall company in the world. In 2018, the company hosted the first ever World Indoor Climbing Summit in Sofia, Bulgaria, as a a forum to consider “the future of indoor climbing” and “how the Olympics will affect indoor climbing.”
Feature image courtesy of Walltopia.