Protesters violently clash over drag queen storytime at Oregon pub

Protesters violently clash over drag queen storytime at Oregon pub

Posted For: Willie Wonka

Armed protesters and counter-protesters clashed outside a drag queen storytime event at an Oregon pub over the weekend.

More than 300 demonstrators hurled rocks and smoke grenades at each other outside Old Nick’s Pub in Eugene as a group gathered inside to read a story.

The pub was the latest target of LGBTQ+ hate after right-wing personalities complained about an 11-year-old drag performer called Vanellope who was expected to perform.

Authorities said the crowd lobbed rocks and some smoke bombs at one another before police shut the event down, according to the Register Guard.

Some protestors in the crowd came to the event for small children armed with semi-automatic rifles, officials added.

Drag queen storytime events have recently and increasingly become the target of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric across the country, though the events have been happening since 2015.

Opponents claim that the program in which flamboyant performers dressed in vibrant drag outfits read storybooks to children is detrimental to kids.

Drag performer Emma Lavin, center, attempts to find middle ground with protesters against a drag queen story time outside Old Nick's Pub in Eugene, Ore.
About 50 protestors and 250 supporters of the event faced off outside Old Nick’s Pub in Eugene as the story time went on inside for an audience of 50 without issue.
Supporters line the street in front of Old Nick's Pub in Eugene during a drag queen story time hosted by the pub.
Old Nick’s Pub said it spent $2,000 on private security for the Sunday event.
Drag Queen performers Elektra Starr, left, Sunshine Ray MacPherson and Princess Maliena visit with their fans after a performance at Old Nick's in Eugene.

Organizers, however, said the protests against the events have been terrifying and endangering the performers as well as children.

In a Facebook statement Friday, Old Nick’s Pub said the critics and protestors have “twisted what is a fun and innocent event for kids and families into something disgusting and vile.

The pub said it spent $2,000 on private security Sunday and expects to be “a target for violent extremists for a good while.”

Staff members have been receiving “racist and homophobic hate mail, physical threats of violence, and repeated attacks by right wing media outlets framing our Drag Queen Storytime as nefarious.”

Despite the threats, the pub — which frequently hosts LGBTQ-friendly events including the drag story time in the past — said it will continue its events.

“We love you all so much, and we will not ever back down to hate,” the pub said in its Monday post. “Thank you for standing with us against this growing trend of violence against queer youth and LGBTQ venues.”

The child drag queen did not perform at Sunday’s event and was instead celebrated as the event’s guest of honor.

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