In an online statement shared via social media, the business in San Antonio's Deco District said it felt “unsafe” after being "bullied and threatened" on Twitter and in other online comments.
“For the safety of our queens, staff and patrons, we’re cancelling all of our drag evens for the remainder of the year,” a Dec. 4 Instagram post read. “This was a decision made between the queens and The Starlighter owners as a safety measure and nothing more.”
The post said a self-proclaimed "independent journalist" named Tayler Hansen filmed the child of an onsite food vendor during the show. Hansen then shared the video on Twitter, falsely claiming the girl was unattended.
The anti-LGBTQ+ organization Texas Family Project subsequently reshared the tweet, unleashing a torrent of online attacks.
The Starlighter’s statement explained that the child was never left unattended and was never in danger. Further, the girl is familiar to both the venue's staff and its performers, according to the post.
The vendor later posted a photo thanking the queens performing that evening for treating the child like "a niece," according to officials with The Starlighter.
Despite the venue’s statement, Hansen’s tweet continues to draw online vitriol, including comments calling for a law enforcement raid on The Starlighter. One tweet labeled the performers "demonic," pushing unsubstantiated claims that LGBTQ+ people have an agenda of "sexualizing children."
“This story is being twisted into something disgusting to fit a political narrative,” The Starlighter’s statement read. “It’s sad, frustrating and disappointing.”
The Starlighter’s decision to cancel the rest of its 2022 drag shows comes days before another extremist militia plans to protest a Christmas-themed drag event at the Aztec Theatre. And weeks after a mass shooting at LGBTQ+ club in Colorado left five people dead and 17 wounded.
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