Kimmel, Jarrett, Emanuel and Lorri Jean spotlight decency at LA LGBT Center gala
LGBT-straight coalition exemplifies humanity in Trump era
Something happened at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s 48th Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards Saturday night, Sept. 23. It was as if the sold out suit-and-gown crowd at the Beverly Hilton Hotel took a knee in solidarity with each other and the growing effort to resist Reality TV star President Donald Trump’s pursuit of hostile divisiveness. In addition to saluting honorees Valerie Jarrett, former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, and Hollywood super agent Ari Emanuel, TV host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel and Center CEO Lorri Jean underscored how pushing back against Trump is an imperative fight to preserve American democracy and simple human decency.
The gala skirted that shimmering elite frat party feel for a simple elegance more befitting the budding development of a new coalition for compassion, three decades after AIDS forced the fight for humanity into the public discourse. Now it’s the latest Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act with a plan that could eliminate Medicaid and protections for pre-existing conditions, a cause Kimmel has heroically taken on. (See the Center’s Action Alert here. )
Trump’s Huntsville, Alabama rally Friday night was also a jaw-dropping hot topic, with the president telling NFL owners to fire any player who takes a knee and “disrespects” the Flag during the national anthem. “You’re fired!” he said, reprising his “Apprentice” role to much applause. Trump later said his comments had nothing to do with race, even though the protest started one year ago, Aug. 26, 2016, precisely because of institutionalized racism and the fatal shootings of unarmed black men by white police officers who are rarely held accountable.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick told NFL Media. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Trump’s remarks sparked an intense backlash throughout the country. “It’s exhausting to have a president who gets angrier at outspoken black athletes than at Nazis,” writes The Nation’s sports editor Dave Zirin. “These athletes are doing a lot more than sitting or kneeling or raising a fist during the anthem. They are offering up an alternative model for unity, justice, and even manhood. They are showing that what makes an adult is whom you can help, not whom you can cuss, and certainly not whom you can destroy for shameless and divisive political gain.”
Center CEO Lorri Jean echoed that theme in her keynote address. “Tonight’s gathering is,” said Jean, “a reflection of the times. To put it in Tweet language, our country is now led by a lying sociopath. This has prompted an uprising by an unprecedented coalition of people who are concerned about the fate of our nation. People of every kind and every party who care deeply about building America’s well-being and fostering the human potential available to all of us, regardless of factors that should never be used to divide us, like sexual orientation and gender identity, race, immigration status.”
The Center has called Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program “un-American.” It’s no joke. While Trump talks to “Chuck and Nancy”—Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi—about support for the DREAM Act, the Washington Blade’s Michael K. Lavers reports that DREAMers are already being deported. Andrea Ayala, the executive director of Espacios de Mujeres Lesbianas por la Diversidad (ESMULES) in El Salvador confirms to Lavers that a legally married gay couple with a child from Bedford, Virginia, both DACA recipients, were deported to El Salvador. One of the men was brought to the U.S. when he was 6-months-old.
Jean, who usually stokes the Center gala crowd with righteous outrage, changed direction Saturday night. “Of course, it never hurts to get fired up so long as our anger is properly directed,” she said. “But getting fired up isn’t all we need. We need to be together at gatherings like this. We need to be reminded that we are part of a large majority and that despite what it may seem, this Administration and its policies are actually supported by the fewest Americans since political polling began. We need to enjoy and be grateful for and find strength in each other because we are among those still working hard to build a more inclusive, kinder, better future regardless of who may temporarily stand in our way.”
Three fundamental truths are at the heart of this coalition: 1) “We are a humane people,” Jean said. “That elemental character doesn’t change simply because a new Administration is focused on policies that are the antithesis of humanity and caring;” 2) “We are a moral people….We know that discrimination and hatred and selfishness are wrong. Love and equity and generosity of spirit are right… We must set and demand a different, more uplifting example,” especially from elected officials; 3) “We are a determined people. All of the LGBT people in the room, all of the women and people of color in the room, all of the Jews and Muslims and immigrants in the room, we are part of one or more communities that have suffered grave injustices throughout history and continuing to today. Yet, we have persevered. And increasingly we have prevailed.”
But change only happens when people make it happen, Jean said. “We must use our humanity, our morality and our determination not only to resist, but to continue actively building the well-being of our community and our nation.” And, she said, “for the next 3½ years it is our duty, our obligation, to do much more than simply hunker down and weather the storm. We must BE the storm!”
“Obviously this has been a very interesting week,” Kimmel said to much laughter after receiving a thunderous standing ovation.
“It seems very fitting that we are here tonight because you are committed to improving the health and safety and welfare of these teenagers at the LA LGBT Center,” Kimmel said after a video featuring an LGBT homeless African American youth. “Obviously they are relying on you for help because we don’t necessarily get it from out government.”
The gala raised more than $1 million for those Center services, says Chief Marketing Officer Jim Key, who is leaving in late October for another top marketing job after 17 years of service to the Center.
Kimmel became an accidental activist last May after a heart defect was found in his newborn son. His emotional remarks on his show, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, went viral. He cried, explaining the need for coverage for pre-existing conditions, as his son Billy now has. No parent should be faced with the heartbreak of not being able to afford help for their child, he said. Even Republicans trying to repeal Obamacare conceded that they had to pass the “Jimmy Kimmel test,” said GOP repeal bill co-author Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. After details of the bill were revealed, Kimmel said Cassidy “lied to my face.”
By Monday, the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill seemed dead, with Sens. Ron Paul, John McCain and Susan Collins pledging to vote no if the bill makes it to the Senate floor. “We are in your debt,” Kimmel tweeted to Collins.
Kimmel told a Center video crew that he actually “crashed” the gala because “I care more about other people than other people care about other people. You know, I care deeply so I go out and I do things, whether I’m invited or not.” He cares about the Center because of LGBT youth, who “need a little extra help.”
MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell told the crowd of Kimmel put his job at risk. “Jimmy Kimmel has done something he did not have to do,” O’Donnell said. “Traditionally, in Jimmy’s sector of show business, it’s considered very risky. I am sure there were—and maybe still are— millions of Trump voters who watch him. He gave those voters a difficult decision to make this week with their affections. He took that risk. And that is a brave act.”
Jarrett, recipient of the Rand Schrader Distinguished Achievement Award, was introduced by her close friend and television producing powerhouse, Shronda Rhimes. “I like to think that Valerie came with hope to the White House and she left us with change,” she said.
In an exclusive interview with the Los Angeles Blade, Jarrett talked about the blow being experienced by so many, especially millennials who had come to take all the Obama progress for granted. “Well, this is the challenge. You can never take equal rights for granted. You have to constantly reinforce their importance. And we can never afford to become complacent. It is a real blow, particularly to young people who grew up with President Obama fighting on their behalf,” Jarrett says. “But part of the lesson here is that we all have a responsibility, a collective and an individual responsibility, to fight for what is just and what is right.”
Jarrett had a chance to reunite briefly with Jeremy Bernard, a former member of ANGLE and Obama’s appointee as the first gay Social Secretary at the White House.
Jarrett took the stage with a breezy lightness that belies her powerful accomplishments.
“I accept this award on behalf of so many people in the Obama administration who fought and who pushed and who put their shoulder on that arc of the moral universe—with your help—towards justice,” she said. “And we know we’re not done. We know we’re in challenging times. I’m so happy to have Jimmy Kimmel here. Drop the mic for you!”
Jarrett also gave props to Lawrence O’Donnell, who has been weathering criticism for a temper tantrum. Her nod seemed to push the clouds away, in recognition for his tough job. “Lawrence goes on TV every night—the media is being attacked and it’s not easy to stand up,” she said. “Until you decide you know what, I’m standing up for what I believe in. And that’s what all of you are doing. And when you think about the young people, our future—the fact that you are touching those lives and helping them grow, to love themselves and to love each other means that love truly does trump hate.”
Vanguard Award recipient Ariel Emanuel, Co-CEO of WME | IMG, introduced by artist Mark Bradford (who ArtNet calls “our Jackson Pollock” ), shared how his family inculcated his values.
“My Mom’s the one who taught me—and my brothers—that there’s no excuses when it comes to working hard and doing the right thing. She’s the one who taught me that thinking differently is a virtue, not a problem. Those values led my Mom to march for civil rights,” he said, and his pediatrician father to get Chicago to deal with the lead paint poisoning kids.
“My parents taught me that when you look out at the world and you see something wrong… even if you think it doesn’t affect you, it does affect you. And you can—and you should—do something about it,” he said, a lesson that “took a while to sink in” as he struggled with dyslexia and ADHD.
When Emanuel was a teenager, his cousin Gary moved in with the family, not an unusual in their open house. Eventually, he realized his beloved cousin was gay. They lost touch when Gary moved to Boston.
“Then in the late 1980s, Gary got sick. Soon there were hospital visits. A lot of whispering and a lot of pills. Before long it was clear that he wasn’t going to make it,” said Emanuel to a hushed ballroom.
The last time they were in public together was at Bill Clinton’s 1993 Inauguration. “Gary dressed in a floor length golden-brown fur coat. He threw himself into everything at that inauguration—enjoying the shows and the dinners. But it was hard for him to summon the energy. It was coming
close to the end.
“When Gary was in hospice, I spent many nights there to say goodbye. You know, the cruelty of AIDS in those days wasn’t just the suffering and the few therapies. It was the silence. The feeling that you just couldn’t talk civilly and maturely about the disease, because it was a source of shame—an embarrassment. It was either yelling—demanding attention for AIDS—or whispers and winks.
“Thankfully we’re a long way from those days now,” Emanuel said. “Not just in terms of preventing AIDS, but with advances in treatments and ending the stigma around HIV. There is still more to do, but in most places in this country, gay people no longer have to hide. And for a lot of that progress, we have organizations like this Center to thank.”
But, laws can only do so much. True equality means unconditional love. It means inclusion instead of isolation. It means potential instead of powerlessness. Gary needed to be able to look out and see a culture that looked like him, like young people do today.”
Emanuel blasted Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, “hacks” who are trying “to take us back to the past—to roll back the progress we’ve made as a country” such as re-imposing the transgender military ban.
“So no matter how much things have changed, my Mom’s advice still matters a lot: If you see something wrong, even if it doesn’t affect you directly, your voice matters—and your actions matter even more. You’ve got to act to do the right thing. Be an example for others to do the same. That’s what I try to do in my own life,” he said.
“OK, so people don’t come to my office for unconditional love,” Emanuel said to much laughter. “But the work that we do in the entertainment industry gives us a unique responsibility” and ability to share stories.
“I appreciate the chance you’ve given me tonight to share my story of Gary with all of you—to share the story of our relationship, of his struggle, and to reflect on the social progress he would be so excited and proud to see. I want to use this award to honor his memory,” Emanuel said. “And with that in mind,
I leave you with a promise. A promise to use my role to tell true stories of this community and of every community…A promise to speak up where I see injustice…And to never wait to do the right thing.”
In the chatter after the awards ceremony, Jarrett told the LA Blade that her heterosexual sister-in-law had died of AIDS so Emanuel sharing Gary’s story was a shared experience among the straights, as well as among the hundreds of LGBT folks in the room.
“For so many of us, our commitment to fighting AIDS comes from the heart,” Jarrett shared in a July 24, 2012 blog for the Huffington Post. “Every day, I carry with me the pain of watching the excruciating death of my sister-in-law, Julie, eighteen years ago. Julie went for months without being properly diagnosed because it simply never occurred to her doctor to check for HIV. By the time she was diagnosed, it was too late. Julie left behind a devastated husband and a five-year-old daughter, Tracy.”
It is on the nest woven from these shared heartfelt stories that a new coalition for compassion rests and from which a new phoenix on the wings of decency and humanity will fly.
LAPD responds to anti-LGBTQ+ protest at valley elementary school
A spokesperson for the LAPD said that the protests were mostly peaceful although acknowledged there was heated rhetoric between the two groups
LOS ANGELES – Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department’s North Hollywood Community Station responded to an assistance request from the Los Angeles Unified School District’s School Police Department to keep dueling groups of protestors separate at Saticoy Elementary School early Friday morning.
LAPD is at Saticoy Elementary School this morning. We are here to support our LAUSD partners and facilitate a peaceful and lawful exercise of constitutional rights.— LAPD PIO (@LAPDPIO) June 2, 2023
Media staging at Ethel Avenue and Arminta Street. pic.twitter.com/X3iwDUmO1n
The two groups of protestors numbered approximately 120 people, many carrying signs and waving American national flags and LGBTQ+ Pride flags. One group of parents had taken to social media and distribute flyers to protest the scheduled June 2, LGBTQ+ Pride event at the school located at 7850 Ethel Avenue in North Hollywood.
Earlier this week, the LAPD announced that investigators were looking into an incident where a small LGBTQ+ Pride flag located outside of a classroom of a trans teacher at the elementary was destroyed in an act of arson.
At today’s protests, KTLA’s Kimberly Cheng spoke with people advocating for parents of LGBTQ+ kids and their allies as well as those opposed. Cheng also interviews LAUSD Board Member Kelly Gonez who told KTLA that there were only two sentences in a book read out loud at the Pride assembly and that the school district was standing by its LGBTQ students and faculty.
A spokesperson for the LA LGBT Center, Terra Russell-Slavin, said in a statement:
“I am beyond disappointed to read about the events unfolding at Saticoy Elementary School—and not just from where I sit as the Chief Impact Officer of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. To be completely frank, I am more so concerned as a lesbian mother who’s raising a child in Los Angeles County.
The rhetoric we’re seeing from ‘concerned parents’ at Saticoy Elementary mirrors the dangerous misinformation campaigns that have been lodged against our community by far-right activists and religious extremists. For the past few years, they’ve planted seeds in the public imagination that LGBTQ+ people are attempting to ‘indoctrinate’ or ‘sexualize’ children. These outrageous lies have, sadly, taken hold throughout our country; the backlash we’re facing is among the worst chapters in our movement’s history. There are more than 500 pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation on the books this year, accompanied by an increase in threats to LGBTQ service providers and schoolteachers, the banning of books that tell our stories and history, and the criminalization of our access to healthcare.
The Pride celebration scheduled at Saticoy Elementary School was meant to celebrate LGBTQ+ community members and families like mine. My wife and I are proudly raising our child to be accepting, welcoming, and loving to everyone—and hope that his education reflects those same values of basic human dignity and decency. The fact that this is somehow a controversial or ‘hot-button issue’ is not just alarming, it’s deeply saddening. Families like mine deserve to be included and represented in our classrooms and our school events. My child should not be educated to be ashamed of his mothers. I am not a threat to anyone by loving my family.
As the Chief Impact Officer of the Center, I know that if this kind of anti-LGBTQ+ demonstration is happening here in Los Angeles, this fight is only getting uglier in other parts of our country. That’s why we have to confront ignorance and hatred head-on, and make sure we don’t give it the oxygen to proliferate. We should be leaders of this movement and a safe haven for queer and trans people everywhere—and we should be using our example to help families across the country fight for their rights and their safety.
I hope LAUSD knows they can always rely on the Center to intervene in situations like these—and I hope the parents protesting Pride at Saticoy Elementary can come to an understanding that there is nothing dangerous about LGBTQ+ people. On the contrary: The real danger is the homophobia and transphobia that result in organizations like ours needing to house, feed, educate, and celebrate youth displaced by their families simply based on their identity. If we really care about our youth, we will nurture them with examples of radical love and acceptance—which is exactly what the spirit of Pride is all about.”
A spokesperson for the LAPD said that the protests were mostly peaceful although acknowledged there was heated rhetoric between the two groups.
Dueling protests separated by police ahead of Pride event at North Hollywood elementary school:
Pride flag burned at elementary school where protests continue
“We have a real concern over what is going on. We have three teachers who are LGBTQ at that campus. And two parents are LGBTQ”
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that a small LGBTQ+ Pride flag located outside of a classroom at Saticoy Elementary School was destroyed in an act of arson. The crime is now is being investigated as a possible hate crime, according to an LAPD spokesperson.
First reported by The Daily News, Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton of the LAPD’s Valley Bureau told journalist Steve Scauzillo: “The investigation is ongoing. It is a vandalism hate crime. The hate crime is still significant but it is a misdemeanor,” he said on May 27.
A group of parents have taken to social media and distribute flyers to protest a scheduled June 2, LGBTQ+ Pride event at the school located at 7850 Ethel Avenue in North Hollywood.
The group called for other parents to protest outside of the school on June 2 at the start of the school day. “We respect everyone, but some things are appropriate for children (of) that age, and some things are not,” George Dzhabroyan, who is among the Saticoy parents unhappy with the school, told KTLA 5 on May 24. “Hopefully the message gets across and people understand that parents should be the primary contact of what their children should be exposed to and shouldn’t be exposed to.”
The blackened planter and burned flag were discovered by school personnel on Monday, May 22, at 6:30 a.m., Hamilton said. He did not know when the planter and flag were burned and there are no suspects, he said.
According to The Daily News, a member of the group, Saticoy Elementary Parents, claims that no one from the group was responsible for the act of arson.
Ana, a parent in the group who asked that her last name not be published in the interest of her family’s safety, said she does not believe any member of the group is responsible for the possible hate crime, the Daily News reported.
“None of us parents are aware of who the person might have been who set the flag on fire,” she said. “None of us would jump the fence or set the flag on fire because we don’t want to bring that negativity to the school where our children are.”
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) confirmed that the event being protested by the group will include a book reading by faculty of British author Mary Hoffman titled ‘The Great Big Book of Families. The book covers families of different colors, single parents, grandparents, two mothers, two fathers, and adoptive families. It also addresses family sizes, different homes, different ways to go to school, different ways parents work, the holidays families take, the food people eat, clothes, pets, and hobbies.
The school also has an assembly planned for that day.
The executive director of the San Fernando Valley LGBTQ Center, Renato Lira, expressed concern over this latest incident: “We have a real concern over what is going on. We have three teachers who are LGBTQ at that campus. And two parents are LGBTQ who bring their kids to that school.”
Lira and the Center donated a full size Progress Pride flag for display and told the paper that volunteers from the Center will be present on the event this Friday. He added: “We raised that flag to let them know we are going to be stronger and united,” he said.
Lira pointed out that whoever burned the flag showed disrespect for LGBTQ parents, teachers and the community. “They should not be doing that, whoever they are,” he said.
The Los Angeles Unified School District did not respond to a request by the Blade for comment.
North Hollywood parents protest Pride event at elementary school
According to a statement released by the LAUSD, LGBTQ+ issues are an ongoing conversation within the district
LOS ANGELES – A group of parents have taken to social media and distribute flyers to protest a scheduled June 2 LGBTQ+ Pride event at Saticoy Elementary School on 7850 Ethel Avenue in North Hollywood.
The group called for other parents to protest outside of the school on June 2 at the start of the school day. “We respect everyone, but some things are appropriate for children (of) that age, and some things are not,” George Dzhabroyan, who is among the Saticoy parents unhappy with the school, told KTLA 5. “Hopefully the message gets across and people understand that parents should be the primary contact of what their children should be exposed to and shouldn’t be exposed to.”
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) confirmed that the event will include a book reading by faculty of British author Mary Hoffman titled ‘The Great Big Book of Families. The book covers families of different colors, single parents, grandparents, two mothers, two fathers, and adoptive families. It also addresses family sizes, different homes, different ways to go to school, different ways parents work, the holidays families take, the food people eat, clothes, pets, and hobbies.
The school also has an assembly planned for that day.
According to a statement released by the LAUSD, LGBTQ+ issues are an ongoing conversation within the district:
“As part of our engagement with school communities, our schools regularly discuss the diversity of the families that we serve and the importance of inclusion,” the LAUSD said in a statement. “This remains an active discussion with our school communities and we remain committed to continuing to engage with families about this important topic.”
Erik Adamian, the President of the Board of Directors of GALAS LGBTQ+ Armenian Society in an email to the Blade said:
“Identities are formed at a very young age. It is critical to have expansive and inclusive language within schools that depict how different our identities, family structures and lives can be and how that is okay. LGBTQ+ children face a disproportionate amount of challenges, with amplified feelings of isolation and loneliness during teenage years. The inclusion of LGBTQ+ voices is a matter of saving lives; it is a matter of presenting children with critical support, rather than barriers, toward flourishing into healthy adults.”
Out social media celebrity JoJo Siwa’s Valley home burglarized
Responding officers found a door open and after review of security footage are now looking for at least two burglary suspects
LOS ANGELES – Patrol officers from the LAPD’s West Valley Community Police Station responded to a call for service from an alarm company at around 2:40 a.m. Wednesday to a residence in Tarzana, which is home to 19-year-old dancer, singer, actress and YouTuber JoJo Siwa.
Responding officers found a door open and after review of security footage are now looking for at least two burglary suspects who are seen on the video wearing hooded sweatshirts and masks covering their faces.
Siwa, who is currently on a cruise with family members, shared a screenshot on her Instagram account:
In her Insta post she wrote:
“We were robbed last night at 2:40(ish)AM. It was an armed robbery which is very scary. It was a REALLLLY long night on the phone with my security, family, and LAPD.”
Siwa also noted there was “lots of materialistic damage” as a result of the break-in, but added that “that can all be fixed.”
“I’m just happy that my family and pups are safe. Most important thing to me,” Siwa said continuing: “Do me a favor and hug your people extra tight tonight. Life is SCARY. And you never know when anything could happen.”
An LAPD spokesperson said that the investigation is ongoing.
Rubio bashes LA Dodgers over honoring drag group, Dodgers fold
LA LGBT Center Removes Itself from the Dodgers’ ‘Pride Night,’ To our Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, we say: Thank you
WASHINGTON – Florida Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio issued a statement Monday that condemned the Los Angeles Dodgers Major League Baseball franchise for a scheduled “Community Hero Award” to be given to the LA Chapter of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence drag group during Pride month in June.
The Florida Republican alleges that honoring the group “mock(s) the faith with the motto with “Go forth and sin some more!” Rubio sent a letter to Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred stating that he is questioning whether the League is “inclusive and welcoming” to Christians.
Rubio cited the following:
- “The ‘sisters’ are men who dress in lewd imitation of Roman Catholic nuns. The group’s motto, ‘go and sin some more,’ is a perversion of Jesus’s command to ‘go, and sin no more.’ The group’s ‘Easter’ ceremony features children’s programming followed by a drag show where adult performers dress in blasphemous imitation of Jesus and Mary. The group hosts pub crawls mocking the Stations of the Cross and even the Eucharist, the sacrament that unites more than one billion Catholics around the world.”
- “Do you believe that the Los Angeles Dodgers are being ‘inclusive and welcoming to everyone’ by giving an award to a group of gay and transgender drag performers that intentionally mocks and degrades Christians—and not only Christians, but nuns, who devote their lives to serving others?”
The New York City-based anti-LGBTQ+ Catholic League, headed by Bill Donohue who has a years-long lengthy record of anti-LGBTQ+ animus tweeted:
The Los Angeles Dodgers have besmirched their legacy of combating bigotry by partnering with LA Pride in awarding this year’s Community Hero Award to an obscene anti-Catholic group, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.https://t.co/LoR3TtwRAJ pic.twitter.com/n0VQ3NFXAT— Catholic League (@CatholicLeague) May 16, 2023
In his letter to the MLB Commissioner, the Senator writes:
“On June 16, 2023, the Los Angeles Dodgers will host “LGBTQ+ Pride Night” at Dodgers Park. As part of the pre-game ceremony, the Dodgers will give its “Community Hero Award” to the Los Angeles chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a self-described “order of queer and trans nuns” that has mocked and degraded Christians, and especially Catholics, since its founding on Easter Sunday in 1979.
The “sisters” are men who dress in lewd imitation of Roman Catholic nuns. The group’s motto, “go and sin some more,” is a perversion of Jesus’s command to “go, and sin no more.” The group’s “Easter” ceremony features children’s programming followed by a drag show where adult performers dress in blasphemous imitation of Jesus and Mary. The group hosts pub crawls mocking the Stations of the Cross and even the Eucharist, the sacrament that unites more than one billion Catholics around the world.”
The Blade has reached out to the Dodgers for comment but as of time of publication the team hasn’t responded. However in a tweet issued by the Dodgers Wednesday, on the globally recognized International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia, (IDAHOBIT), the baseball franchise backed away from honoring the drag group.
Tony Hoang, the Executive Director of Equality California, issued a statement on the Dodgers backtracking and caving-in to anti-LGBTQ+ groups and Rubio:
“At a moment in time when drag performers are under attack across the country — including in stage legislatures and in some cases needing armed escorts to protect them from far-right extremists — the Dodgers’ actions are disappointing and let down thousands of LGBTQ+ fans that have supported them throughout the years.
“As longtime community leaders, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have raised millions of dollars for causes including HIV/AIDS healthcare, affordable housing, violence prevention, and drug abuse prevention in addition to offering grants to direct-service organizations and small businesses that support underrepresented communities.
“The anti-LGBTQ+ extremists who advocated for the removal of the Sisters from Pride Night are the very same people who are trying to erase the rights of trans kids and their families, criminalize drag performance and roll back equality for LGBTQ+ people across the country — we cannot and will not let them win.
“We call on the Dodgers to reinstate The Sisters as an honoree for Pride Night and works towards strengthening their commitment to unity.”
Out California State Senator Scott Wiener wrote on Twitter:
Really sad to see the Dodgers cave to pressure & kick drag queens out of a Pride celebration. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence do amazing, life-saving work in the community.— Senator Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) May 17, 2023
We expect more from our sports teams — even the Dodgers. https://t.co/TFsesI2C7F
Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath tweeted:
If they’re not invited, I’m not going. Celebrating Pride is about inclusion. Do better. https://t.co/Pc3ZRgZf0Y— Lindsey P. Horvath (@LindseyPHorvath) May 17, 2023
Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur (D-51) added his disappointment over the Dodgers decision on Twitter:
LGBTQ+ lives, families, love, & existence have long been characterized as offensive & controversial, but we do not give in to those calls. I urge the Dodgers to reverse this decision & ensure our home team reflects the true Los Angeles values of inclusion & acceptance. (2/2)— Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur (@AsmRickZbur) May 17, 2023
“I feel angry and disappointed that the @dodgers have caved into the rising hate and anti-lgbtq rhetoric happening across our Country but driven by an extremist minority in power. Having Pride night while at the same time removing @sfsisters @ladragnuns from the evening is a blatant slap in the face to our community at a time when we need true allies and not performative ones. Los Angeles County has the largest LGBTQ+ community in California and likely the nation and we deserve better. I call on Dodgers to do the right thing. Step up, apologize and reverse course,” City of West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne told the Blade.
The California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus released the following statement in response to the Los Angeles Dodgers decision to rescind an invitation to honor the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence with its Community Hero Award: pic.twitter.com/RSSq3ceQr2— California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus (@calgbt) May 19, 2023
The City of West Hollywood issued a statement:
“As the City of West Hollywood gets ready to kick-off WeHo Pride on Harvey Milk Day, we’re excitedly looking forward to the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence participating in the WeHo Pride Parade during WeHo Pride Weekend on the first weekend of June.
Pride is deeply rooted in West Hollywood’s history and culture. The City of West Hollywood has advocated for nearly four decades to support LGBTQ people. In our community’s ongoing fight for equality, the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have marched in unity at every step.
To those who draw lines that divide groups within our LGBTQ community, the City of West Hollywood emphatically says: this is not acceptable. We call on the Los Angeles Dodgers to reconsider its decision not to honor the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence as part of its Pride Night. Inclusion and acceptance are at the heart of Pride. Pride is for everyone.
We applaud the Sisters for their passionate dedication to the LGBTQ community, for tireless AIDS and HIV activism, for unequivocally crusading for the rights of all people, and for the love, laughter, and flair they inspire.
The City of West Hollywood looks forward to celebrating WeHo Pride with the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and with everyone who celebrates under the diverse and beautiful rainbow of Pride.”
In response to the Dodgers Foundation rescinding their invitation to recognize the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at next month’s Pride Night, Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Joe Hollendoner issued the following statement:
“We are deeply disappointed that the Dodgers, an organizational partner that has made significant strides towards dismantling anti-LGBTQ+ bias in sports and long-standing supporter of our mission, has decided to revoke their invitation to honor the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at their upcoming Pride Night.
Buckling to pressure from out-of-state, right-wing fundamentalists, the Dodgers caved to a religious minority that is perpetuating a false narrative about LGBTQ+ people. They have been fed lies about the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and have therefore contributed to the ongoing, anti-LGBTQ smear campaign happening in this country. In a year where over 400 pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation are on the books—many of them targeting freedom of speech, expression, and the bodily autonomy of our community—the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is as critical as ever, and unfortunately the Dodgers chose to bow to the religious right rather than stand with our LGBTQ community.
We at the Center know that the religious right—a minority aligned with white supremacy and attacks on reproductive justice—does not speak for all people of faith, including the many people of faith within the LGBTQ+ community. We know that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have reclaimed religious imagery, garb, and symbolism to advocate for LGBTQ+ equality; through their protests, they have exposed the hypocrisy of the churches that demonized gay people during the AIDS Crisis; challenged faith institutions to stand with queer and trans people; and raised valuable resources for our community as we were turned away from services elsewhere.
We call on the Dodgers to reconsider their decision, honor the Sisters, and bring the true spirit of Pride back to Dodgers Stadium. If the decision is not reversed, we strongly encourage the Dodgers to cancel Pride Night. Any organization that turns its back on LGBTQ+ people at this damning and dangerous inflection point in our nation’s history should not be hoisting a rainbow flag or hosting a ‘Pride Night.’ We want the Dodgers ally ship to be consistent with our experience partnering with them over the past many years. The people of Los Angeles County have consistently and overwhelmingly shown up for LGBTQ+ equality. If one of our most beloved institutions—the Dodgers—refuses to stand by us at this moment, we are terrified of what will come next. Los Angeles is a leader—not a follower. We call on the Dodgers to set an example.
To our Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, we say: Thank you. You will always have a place to be honored at the Los Angeles LGBT Center.”
RuPaul’s DragCon 2023 slays at L.A. Convention Center
There were the booths selling shoes, wigs, clap fans, makeup, jewelry, candles apparel and pretty much anything gay or draggy
By Paulo Murillo | LOS ANGELES – Drag performers and the LGBTQ+ community are facing threats across the country, but that didn’t hold back RuPaul’s DragCon 2023 from making a point that drag is here to slay.
The two-day event drew thousands of drag babies, drag legends and drag fans from all walks of life to the Los Angeles Convention Center on Friday and Saturday (with some special events on Thursday evening).
Presented by RuPaul and World of Wonder Productions, RuPaul’s DragCon returned in-person with a fan-clapping convention that brought charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent to celebrate drag culture from all over the world. The drag queen convention dates back to 2015 to give the art of drag, queer culture, and self-expression a platform and bring people together.
The Los Angeles Times reported that there were over 70 confirmed international queens coming from as far as the Philippines, Spain, the Netherlands, Canada, and France. Ts Madison hosted “Bring Back My Girls,” one of WoW‘s hit shows, live from the convention floor.
This year’s main convention hall featured live events with Bianca Del Rio, two DJ sets by RuPaul himself perched high above the main stage, and of course, countless performances by drag icons like Jaida Essence Hall, the Teletubbies, Baga Chipz, Shea Couleé, Pangina Heals, Alaska, Kylie Sonique Love, Sasha Colby and so more.
One of the biggest gags of the entire weekend was the opening of the pink carpet on Saturday morning. It’s a chance for the queens to make an entrance and work a runway for waiting fans who had to get up pretty early to secure a good space to see it all. The pink carpet runway is also a chance to see all the queens before the bigger names hide inside a booth and are only allowed to be seen for a charge upwards of $30 in merchandise in exchange for a meet and greet and a photo op.
Then there were the booths selling shoes, wigs, clap fans, makeup, jewelry, candles apparel and pretty much anything gay or draggy.
Micky’s WeHo was a main sponsor. They had a double booth near the main entrance offering makeup makeovers, photo ops, music by DJ Paulo, and of course, Go-Go Dancers. Micky’s also hosted drag queens on their booth for meet and greets throughout the event.
Let’s also not forget to mention the local West Hollywood queens that graced Dragcon 2023. We’re talking about Selinas Estities, Morgan McMichaels, Willam, Sasha Colby, Mayhem Miller, Ongina, Kalista Stage, Vivienne Vida, Jordan Jayro, Manila Luzon and Sabbyiana to name a few… in no particular order.
WeHo Times ran into Love Connie who was a guest on the most recent RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15. She was working the pink carpet in her usual Love Connie fashion to promote Cash App, which is one of the sponsors. “I love this event,” she told WEHO TIMES. “I believe I’m allergic to the pink carpet fibers. I have to keep using my prison warden hankie to wipe my sweat off. But I’ll survive.”
Connie said she was not a fan of the children at the convention and she hoped they were acting up and throwing a tantrum wrecking havoc. She also said she was impressed by the Andrew Christian boys where were throwing a beach ball around and twerking the entire day.
“There was one little girl that I really loved,” she added “This little girl looked at me and said, ‘you’re a boy. I can tell you’re a boy, but you’re dressing like a girl. And I know why. I’ve seen Rupaul’s Drag Race. She’s a producer’s daughter and she was so cute the way she was figuring it all out. I just smiled.”
RuPaul’s Drag Race, MTV, and World of Wonder partnered with the ACLU this year and were proud to donate to “The Drag Defense Fund” in support of the ACLU’s LGBTQ+ rights work. The Dragcon website had a page allowing fans to make a tax-deductible gift to this crucial fund.
To donate, visit:
Support The Drag Defense Fund | American Civil Liberties Union (aclu.org)
Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist.
The preceding article was previously published by WeHo Times and is republished with permission.
“Terminating Hate” Schwarzenegger leads panel on extremism
During the discussion, Schwarzenegger preached collectiveness in the fight against hate, echoing his message of hope
LOS ANGELES – Former Republican Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, led a discussion on ending the cycle of extremism Wednesday. The event was hosted by the University of Southern California Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy.
Students, journalists, and reporters filled the auditorium for the panel discussion meeting titled “Terminating Hate” – a nod to the actor’s former role as a cyborg assassin in Director James Cameron’s successful ‘Terminator’ film franchise.
The meeting came on the heels of a viral video posted by the former governor on YouTube, outlining his recent trip to Auschwitz. In the video, Schwarzenegger urged extremists to change hateful ways and offered a message of hope that there can, indeed, be a bright future for those who choose a better path.
Speakers and panelists included CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash, the Dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism Willow Bay, Erroll Southers, USC Associate Senior Vice President of Safety and Risk Assurance, USC Shoah Foundation Finci-Viterbi Executive Director, Dr. Robert Williams, Rabbi Sharon Brous, Founder and Senior Rabbi, IKAR, Chuck Leek, Exit Specialist, Life After Hate, John Turtletaub, renowned film director, and Myrieme Nadri-Churchill, Executive Director, Parents for Peace.
“Hate crimes have increased to record levels,” said Dean Bay, opening the discussion with some startling statistics.
Los Angeles reported a total of 643 hate crimes just last year, marking a 13% increase since the year before. Nationally, hate crimes rose 31%, while antisemitic hate crimes rose to their highest levels since the Anti-Defamation League started keeping track in 1979.
The league was founded in 1910 with the mission to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all.
“America is facing a level of extremism arguably unseen since World War II,” said Bay. “The difference between now and World War II is that this is a threat we are facing from within.”
During the discussion, Schwarzenegger preached collectiveness in the fight against hate, echoing his message of hope for those who wish to change the narrative of the hate they have been exposed to.
“I was born to a father who was a Nazi,” said Schwarzenegger, recounting the emotion he felt during his first visit to Auschwitz, the infamous concentration camp complex of over 40 concentration and extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland, “and look where we are one generation later. This is how we can change. I don’t have to copy my father. We can change.”
Leek is a proponent of this change. A former white supremacist for twenty years, he now assists ex-members of radical groups re-acclimate as positive members of society.
Leek’s work is mainly through Life After Hate, an organization committed to helping people leave the violent far-right to connect with humanity and lead compassionate lives. Armed with a team of experts and led by a licensed clinical psychologist, Life After Hate’s vision is a world that allows people to change and contribute to a society without violence Leek noted.
In a separate but related manner, Nadri-Churchill works to empower families, friends, and communities to prevent radicalization, violence, and extremism through the non-governmental public health nonprofit Parents for Peace. The nonprofit provided guidance and early intervention; to raise public awareness among parents who suspect their child is being radicalized.
“No one is going to call the cops on their kids,” said Nadri-Churchill. A psychotherapist with 30 years of experience, she works with families to coach them on the best steps to tackle this issue while maintaining safety as a priority for all involved.
Rabbi Brous later praised Schwarzenegger for his opening, saying, “Standing up here and saying, ‘I am the son of a Nazi,’ was incredibly powerful.” She stressed how shame and isolation were key factors that can lead to extremist mindsets and asked, “How can we own the truth and not be ashamed of it?”
Schwarzenegger has historically been very open about his past and origins. In addition to advocating against hate, the former Republican California Governor continues to be an advocate and activist for children’s education, arts, and societal betterment in general.
During the “Terminating Hate” discussion, he shared that as a celebrity, he feels it is his responsibility to use his platform for good: “I am very much into giving back and not just taking. I thought it was important to talk about this issue.”
Schwarzenegger also stressed the importance of movies for their reach and influence, calling on directors like Turtletaub to use his influence to spread messages against hate.
“Communication is the number one issue here,” said Schwarzenegger. “This is why it was so important for me not to attack the other side. Hate, in the end, never pays off. Often, those who were fueled by hate become the losers.”
Schwarzenegger recounted a story from the eighties when he asked his father-in-law, Sargent Shriver, how he was able to go into enemy Soviet Union territory and negotiate for oil, when the Russians considered him an enemy. Shriver replied telling him, “Well, you have to find some common ground.”
Shriver would spend a day eating and talking but never discussing negotiations or the real reason he was there. He would find common ground in everything from family to fishing so that by the second day of his trip, he was able to secure what he needed from people who hated him when he arrived.
This is the philosophy Schwarzenegger hopes more people adopt when trying to solve the problem of hate, striving to “solve this problem without just accusing the other side.”
Schwarzenegger also said he hoped that more scientists and researchers would get involved in studying the human brain and hate throughout history to get to the bottom of what causes hate in the first place.
“We know the human race has always had prejudice,” said Schwarzenegger. “How does the brain really work? Why is the brain functioning this way?”
Finally, Schwarzenegger reiterated his desire for all people to come together to end hate.
“Even though people say this can never be solved, I say, yes we can!”
The Blade attempted to ask the former governor about his stance on anti-LGBTQ+ hate and transgender rights but was, however, turned away by Schwarzenegger’s chief of staff.
In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger calls out hate speech:
Mayor Karen Bass delivers her first ‘State of the City’ address
The mayor highlighted key accomplishments made in her first 127 days & efforts to tackle homelessness, crime, & LAPD staffing crisis
LOS ANGELES – In her first State of the City speech, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass addressed her administration’s efforts to tackle homelessness, crime, and the staffing crisis within the ranks of the Los Angeles Police Department.
The mayor also highlighted key accomplishments made in her first 127 days in office.
Bass announced a proposed expansion of the city’s Inside Safe initiative, which moves residents off sidewalks and into hotel and motel rooms with a $250 million expenditure as part of a $1.3-billion investment in housing and homelessness programs. Her full spending plan, which still requires City Council approval, will be unveiled Tuesday morning.
Opening her remarks, she thanked Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Hahn, who had introduced her to the audience gathered in the L.A. City Council Chambers, which included other members of the Board of Supervisors, and also former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who served as the 41st Mayor of Los Angeles from 2005 to 2013.
Bass recognized Villaraigosa from the podium.
The mayor addressed her efforts to help SEIU Local 99 — the union representing service workers and support staff including bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and teaching assistants negotiate with the Los Angeles Unified School District to come to an agreement to reopen schools, the city’s approach repairing potholes and how the city plans to ensure record rainwater capture after this Spring’s record rainfall.
The staffing crisis at the Los Angeles Police Department prompted the mayor to allocate additional funding for the hiring of new police officers to bring the LAPD up to a force strength of 9,500 officers. The department has lost nearly 1,000 personnel in retirements and resignations, in part exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking with KTLA, Sgt. Jerretta Sandoz, Vice President of the Los Angeles Police Protective League said: “It’s a crisis. We definitely need to change. Something needs to change.”
Sandoz and LAPPL say they will support the mayor’s plans to hire more LAPD officers but say more needs to be done to retain officers who are already on the force.
“This needs to happen ASAP,” Sandoz said. “We cannot recruit our way out of this problem. We are losing officers too fast.”
In an interview prior to the mayor’s address, LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the Los Angeles Times, the department, which is currently at 9,130 officers, is expected to lose more throughout this next year as retirement and resignation demands are up 20% more than usual, the Chief said.
Mayor Karen Bass gives first State of the City address:
Vice President Kamala Harris joins abortion pill rights rally in DTLA
“We want scientific judgment to prevail, not to have any justice substitute their religious ideology or beliefs that are not scientific”
LOS ANGELES – As hundreds of Angelenos gathered in a rally Saturday at City Hall in downtown Los Angeles to protest a recent ruling by a federal judge in Texas that would ban the abortion medication mifepristone, those in attendance were joined by Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and Vice President Kamala Harris.
The Vice-President, who was in town for the event, spoke for six minutes telling the crowd:
“Around our country, supposed so-called extremist leaders, who would dare to silence the voice of the people, a United States Supreme Court, the highest court in our land, that took a constitutional right that had been recognized from the people of America — we have seen attacks on voting rights, attacks on fundamental rights to love and to marry the people that you love, attacks on the ability of people to be themselves and be proud of the people who they are. And so this is a moment that history will show required each of us, based on our collective love of our country to stand up for, and fight for, to protect our ideals. That’s what this moment is.”
Gloria Allred, a civil rights lawyer known for fighting to protect women’s rights, spoke with KABC 7’s Amy Powell on the importance of maintaining mifepristone, the abortion drug in trouble of being removed from the American market, as an option for women.
“We want scientific judgment to prevail and not to have any justice substitute their religious ideology, or their beliefs that are not scientific,” said Allred. “We don’t want these courts to limit access to women.”
KABC 7 also reported the reproductive rights march featured women – and some men – marching through the streets, chanting and holding signs, before ending at the rally in front of City Hall.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday temporarily suspended orders from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit that would have restricted the nationwide sale and distribution of the abortion medication mifepristone.
The move by conservative Justice Samuel Alito will give the High Court until Wednesday April 19 to decide whether those restrictions will be kept in place pending the outcome of litigation over the case, Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is now on appeal before the 5th Circuit.
Last week, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a stay of the FDA’s approval of mifepristone 23 years ago, effectively barring its sale and distribution nationwide.
Full transcript of the Vice-President’s remarks:
Mayor Bass! (Applause.) L.A.! (Applause.) So, I’m here to thank all the leaders who came out today and — for what you have done for years and years and years, understanding that we can never take anything for granted and that we must show up each and every day if we are to defend our fundamental rights.
Let us center on where we are. Let us center on where we are right now. This is a critical point in our nation’s history. We are seeing, around the country, in a myriad of ways, those who would dare to attack fundamental rights and, by extension, attack our democracy.
Around our country, supposed so-called extremist leaders who would dare to silence the voices of the people.
A United States Supreme Court, the highest court in our land, that took a constitutional right that had been recognized from the people of America.
We have seen attacks on voting rights; attacks on fundamental rights to love and marry the people that you love — (applause); attacks on the ability of people to be themselves and be proud of who they are. (Applause.)
And so, this is a moment that history will show required each of us, based on our collective love of our country, to stand up and fight for and protect our ideals. That’s what this moment is. (Applause.)
This moment, I believe, is the next phase of a movement. And we have all been called to help lead this movement to fight on behalf of all of the people who have so much at stake.
You know, I’ve been traveling around the world as your Vice President. (Applause.) And — thank you. And here’s the thing, though. Here’s the thing. When we, as Americans, walk in those rooms around the world, we have traditionally walked in those rooms, shoulders back, chin up, having some authority to talk about the importance of rule of law, human rights.
But here’s the thing we all know about what it means to be a role model: People watch what you do to see if it matches what you say. (Applause.)
So let us understand that what is happening in our nation right now, by extension, can impact people around the world who dare to say, “I want my country to be like the United States and protect rights.” And those autocrats and those dictators might look at those folks and say, “What are you pointing to as the example?”
There’s so much at stake right now. There is so much at stake right now.
And so, we have been called upon to be the next generation of the people who will help lead and fight in this movement for freedom and liberty based on our love of our country. (Applause.)
And I want to make another point. You know, in traveling around the world, I often — in fact, almost every time when I go to a new country — I’ll meet with women to talk with them about how they’re doing. Because I fundamentally believe that you can gauge the strength of a democracy based on the strength of women in that democracy. (Applause.)
So, when they dare attack the rights of women, understand, for all of you who are watching who walk around wearing those lapel pins, requiring that people look at you with some level of respect: When you attack the rights of women in America, you are attacking America. (Applause.)
All of this is at stake. So, to the young leaders here and around the world, and our men and everyone who is here: Let us know that we are strong when we are together. (Applause.) We are strong when we know the vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us. We are strong when we stand in unity. We are strong when we build our coalition.
We are strong when we understand that you got to know what you stand for to know what to fight for. And we stand for our democracy. And we stand for foundational and fundamental principles that have everything to do with freedom, liberty, and equality for all people. (Applause.)
Thank you, L.A. (Applause.)
Budweiser brewery in Van Nuys receives bomb threat over trans ad
Anheuser-Busch has faced massive backlash for the advertising partnership with Dylan Mulvaney from conservatives and far right extremists
LOS ANGELES – The fallout over a controversial sponsorship deal between Anheuser-Busch and transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney led to a bomb threat at Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser Van Nuys plant on Thursday.
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department has confirmed that units from the LAPD’s Van Nuys Station, the LAPD bomb squad and other units from the department’s Valley Division responded to the sprawling Anheuser-Busch facility located at 8250 Woodley Ave in Van Nuys.
According to the LAPD, an emailed bomb threat was received at approximately 9 a.m. and after clearing the perimeter then searching the facility, the location was cleared.
According to CBS News there were multiple nationwide bomb threats allegedly made to other Budweiser factories this week tied to the beer giant’s refusal to cut ties with Mulvaney. It was reported Thursday, that a Missouri based Budweiser distributor canceled all planned appearances of the iconic Clydesdale horses, citing threats to its employees. The Clydesdales have long been featured in Budweiser commercials
Anheuser-Busch has faced massive backlash for the advertising partnership with Mulvaney from conservatives and far right extremists. Fox News Channel and Fox has denounced the beer company for its decision to have Mulvaney make a promotional video for Bud Light.
Fox News and the rest of right-wing media have stoked many anti-LGBTQ panics over the years, and the fanatical obsession with Mulvaney is part of a broader campaign to eliminate transgender people from public life altogether that conservative Republicans and the far right are engaged in.
In a statement released Friday by Brendan Whitworth, the CEO of Anheuser-Busch addressing the continuing controversy, Whitworth didn’t mention Mulvaney nor did it include a specific example of the company causing division.
“As the CEO of a company founded in America’s heartland more than 165 years ago, I am responsible for ensuring every consumer feels proud of the beer we brew,” Whitworth wrote. “I care deeply about this country, this company, our brands and our partners.”
“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people,” he said. “We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.”
Whitworth said he was “focused on building and protecting our remarkable history and heritage.”
“Moving forward, I will continue to work tirelessly to bring great beers to consumers across our nation,” he said.
Anheuser-Busch did not respond to requests for comments regarding the series of violent threats.
Mulvaney, a University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music alumna, partnered with Bud Light for a promotional contest it ran last month. The transgender actor recently celebrated the 365th day of her “Days of Girlhood” series and said Bud Light sent her a personalized beer can to mark the milestone, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
The musical theater grad, who addressed general criticism while appearing on Tuesday’s episode of Rosie O’Donnell’s “Onward” podcast, also partnered with Nike last week for sponsored social media posts. Her partnerships have received positive and negative responses from various celebrities, including Kid Rock, Travis Tritt, Caitlyn Jenner, Paris Hilton and more.
Mulvaney did not specifically address the Bud Light backlash while on O’Donnell’s podcast the Enquirer added.
Musician Kid Rock had published a video showing him shooting two cases of Bud Light with an assault rifle and then turning to face the camera saying “Fuck Bud Light.”
From conservative far-right media outlet Daily Caller YouTube:
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