Eternal members Vernie and Easther Bennett are planning to push on with the band’s reunion despite being ditched by two of their members, Louise Redknapp and Kelle Bryan.
In September last year, Louise, 49, and Kelle, 48, pulled out of an Eternal reunion tour because Vernie and her sister Easther had refused to play any of the LBGTQ+ gigs they had scheduled over claims the community is being ‘hijacked’ by the trans movement.
But Vernie, 52, and Easther, 51, are planning to take to the stage without the departed members – in a car park.
The duo will perform on a pop up stage in the car park of the NEC in Birmingham in May, with tickets costing £50, according to The Sun.
An advert for the gig reads: ‘This event will be hosted on our North 5 car park and the whole festival site is on concrete so no muddy boots.’
Eternal members Vernie and Easther Bennett are planning to push on with the band’s reunion despite being ditched by two of their members, Louise Redknapp and Kelle Bryan (L-R: Kelle, Easther, Louise and Vernie pictured in 1997)
Louise and Kelle pulled out of an Eternal reunion because Vernie and Easther had refused to play any LBGTQ+ gigs over claims the community is being ‘hijacked’ by the trans movement (Louise, left, and Kelle, right, pictured in September last year)
After planning an Eternal reunion last year to include all four members, Vernie and her sister Easther had refused to play any of the LBGTQ+ gigs they had scheduled over claims the community is being ‘hijacked’ by the trans movement.
Shortly afterwards Louise was accused of trying to get her former bandmates cancelled by ‘misrepresenting’ their views.
Yet in a telling statement, Louise said: ‘I would have always loved to have done a reunion with the girls. I have a lot of love for what we have done together and me and Kelle are still the best of friends.’
Standing by her friend, Kelle added of her time in the band: ‘It’s been life changing for me. Obviously the music and the fans are so important.’
Vernie broke her silence on the row, seemingly refuting the claims made by Louise’s team as she released a statement about how she has been ‘blessed to connect with so many diverse and wonderful people from all walks of life during my career’.
Singer Vernie released a statement which read: ‘I am “Eternally” grateful for the family, friends, and amazing fans who have and continue to support our incredible journey and artistry.
‘I’ve been blessed to connect with so many diverse and wonderful people from all walks of life during my career. You all have a piece of my heart.
‘Though it is impossible and counterproductive to respond to the overwhelming number of statements and allegations made online recently, I place this moment in God’s hands.
Vernie and Easther are planning to take to the stage without the departed members – in a car park (L-R: Easther, Louise, Vernie and Kelle pictured in 1995)
The duo will perform on a pop up stage in the car park of the NEC in Birmingham in May, with tickets costing £50 (Vernie pictured in 2022)
‘I truly appreciate all who continue to express love and support for my family and Eternal.’
Eternal’s original manager Denis Ingoldsby had furiously defended Easther and Vernie, who remain his clients, previously insisting they were ‘devastated’ and accusing Louise’s team of misrepresenting details of a private email.
He told Sky News: ‘Louise and her team have thrown them under the bus and everyone is totally appalled at their bullying behaviour by totally misrepresenting the situation to suit their own agenda.
‘The girls sent an email to Louise’s camp saying they loved playing Pride, and they loved the ethos of the event.
‘For her camp to go on the record suggesting they are homophobic is utterly outrageous. This is nothing about gay rights.’
Speaking to The Mirror, Denis also claimed there were no confirmed, or contracted dates, in place for the reunion. Louise’s team have denied this to the publication.
Denis added that the dispute is ‘nothing about gay rights,’ and that the sisters have played ‘numerous LGBTQ+ gigs’.
Louise (left) said last year: ‘I would have always loved to have done a reunion with the girls. I have a lot of love for what we have done together and me and Kelle are still the best of friends’
Last year, Louise addressed her decision to step down from the tour by sharing the Progress Pride Flag on her Instagram Stories, writing: ‘Always and forever’
He added: ‘Vernie said she had some concerns about the Pride movement being hijacked – and she is not alone – but this has now been weaponised against her, with Louise’s team trying to get her cancelled.’
Louise’s publicist Simon Jones has stated that they stand by their previous comments, telling the publication: ‘Denis Ingoldsby was not involved in the discussions about the Eternal reunion including all four members over the last two years. Easther and Vernie can try and dress this up however they wish.
‘The fact remains that the duo said they would only do the Eternal reunion if no Pride or LGBTQ+ festivals were included.
‘Louise would obviously not agree to excluding the LGBTQ+ community from their touring plans. We as a team absolutely do not agree with dividing the LGBTQ+ community or excluding trans people.’
He added: ‘Absolutely nothing has been misrepresented.
‘We have simply explained the reason why the Eternal reunion is not going ahead with Louise and Kelle.
‘It is a fact that an email was sent saying that Vernie and Easther would only do the Eternal reunion if no Pride or LGBTQ+ festivals were included in the plan.
‘Louise would obviously not agree to excluding the LGBTQ+ community from the band’s touring plans, and as such notified the duo that she would not be taking part.’
I’m out! Louise, who recently confirmed she is dating new boyfriend Drew Michael, has performed solo at many Pride events over the years (pictured at Brighton Pride in August)
Louise addressed her decision to step down from the tour by sharing the Progress Pride Flag on her Instagram Stories, writing: ‘Always and forever.’
The flag was created in 2018 by non-binary artist Daniel Quasar, and is largely based on the iconic 1978 rainbow flag.
The stripes of black and brown represent marginalised LGBTIQ+ people of colour and the triad of blue, pink, and white are from the trans flag.
Eternal, who shot to stardom in the nineties, were planning a huge reunion tour this year, with the highlights including performances at Pride and Mighty Hoopla.
Both festivals celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, however the tour dates apparently did not go down well with band members Easther and Vernie.
It was revealed that Louise and her team received a message from Vernie and Easther, stating they would not be involved in any Pride shows or LGBTQ+ festivals.
Louise’s publicist said: ‘A message was sent to the team putting together the Eternal reunion stating that if it was to go ahead, neither Vernie nor Easther would perform at Pride shows or LGBTQ+ festivals.
‘This was because the duo felt that the gay community was being hijacked by the trans community and they do not support this.
‘Louise is a huge supporter and ally of the LGBTQ+ community and both herself and Kelle told the duo they would not work with anyone who held these views, and as such the reunion as a four would not be going ahead.
‘The team behind the proposed Eternal reunion are gay including management, PR and tour promoter, and neither myself nor any of the team would work with artists who held such views about the trans community.’
Louise has performed as a solo artist at many Pride events over the years.
Last summer she took to the stage alone at Brighton Pride in August.
The Eternal tour was set to be the first time the original line-up had performed together since Louise quit in 1995 to pursue a solo career.