Dozens of protesters in California shut down a scheduled drag queen story time reading event Wednesday at the San Fernando Library, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Protesters wearing black-and-white shirts reading, “Leave our kids alone” and chanting that slogan verbally confronted the scheduled guest reader and blocked his entrance into the library, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“What was meant to be a celebration of love and inclusion turned into the opposite,” the event’s host, Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, said in a statement Thursday. (RELATED: Oregon Residents Protest Local Pub’s Drag Performance That Was Set To Feature An 11-Year-Old)
A children’s drag event at the San Fernando Library featuring Pickle the drag queen was shut down at a peaceful protest on Oct. 25. Parents of color surrounded the front of the library, preventing Pickle the drag queen from coming inside to perform. The drag event was organized… https://t.co/5ZKvFcGEXE pic.twitter.com/8qLQ2UIMD1
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) October 26, 2023
Organizers said the scheduled 30-minute event designed to promote youth literacy never took place because demonstrators “blockaded” entrances — denying entry to both library patrons and drag queen Pickle, the guest reader, the outlet reported.
“Protesters claimed they want to keep children safe while pounding on walls, shouting obscenities and slurs toward my staff and library staff, and using strollers to blockade moving vehicles. The hypocrisy is astounding,” Horvath said.
Pickle said he anticipated some hostility and parked blocks away from the library “for safety reasons,” according to the outlet.
Video footage shows Pickle encircled by police officers as they attempted to enter the library’s rear entrance while protesters allegedly screamed, “pervert,” “pedophile” and “disgusting freak,” the outlet reported.
When Pickle tried to enter through the front, he was met by blaring car horns and tables placed to block the entryway, according to the outlet.
“At this point, the police weren’t making arrests, they weren’t stopping the mob,” Pickle said, according to the outlet. “Shame on the San Fernando police.”
San Fernando Police Lieutenant Pete Aguirre said the “primary objective [was] to ensure no one got assaulted, no one got injured. And in that end, we were successful.”
Pickle said he can’t believe how the situation played out, per the outlet.
“This goes beyond hurt feelings. This is about civil rights and they shouldn’t have invited me down if they weren’t going to stand up for them.”