Action of the campaign
As in Coeur d’Alene, the movement in Boise revolves around far-right smear tactics that claim the LGBTQ community targets children for sexual “grooming.” In particular, right-wing activists and politicians are focused on a drag show for children planned for Sunday morning, which they claim “sexualizes” children and promotes pedophilia.
Dorothy Moon, the far-right chair of the Idaho Republican Party, issued a statement Wednesday calling for Pride sponsors to drop out, saying the companies that fund the festival are “funding the sexualization of our children and this wrong idea. that children should engage in sexual performances. Adult entertainers.”
“I invite all concerned Idahoans—and the lobbying groups that represent many of these out-of-state businesses that seek tax breaks and subsidies from our legislators, including IACI—to the Idaho To reject this attack on children and invest their sponsorship dollars in Save the Boys, a mission that serves families, women fleeing abuse, and disadvantaged children. Children have a childhood free from violence, hunger, and the sexual appetite of adults. should be given a chance to live,” the statement said.
One of those sponsors — LDS Church-founded Zions Bank — announced it was pulling out of the festival that afternoon. This issued a statement It later retracted saying it was “unaware of incident activities involving children/minors”. However, it assured its customers that it still supports LGBTQ rights “for all our employees and communities.”
Two other participants with sponsored booths, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) and the Idaho Power Company, likewise withdrew. DHW claimed in a statement that there was “confusion about whether DHW supports specific event activities involving minors during this event,” so it was pulling back to “avoid any confusion” — but Then also claimed that “We value our cooperation. The LGBT+ community.
Facing far-right attacks and threats, the Pride festival announced Thursday it was postponing a children’s drag show.
“While the vast majority of our sponsors and supporters have voiced their support for the Boise Pride Festival and Drag Kids program, we have made the very difficult decision to postpone this performance due to safety concerns,” organizers wrote in a statement. has gone “The health and well-being of children, their parents and festival attendees is our priority. The children who were going to perform had the enthusiastic support of their community and the support and consent of their parents. We support children 1000% and support their choice to be themselves, stand in their truth, and express themselves. They are brave, beautiful and deserve their chance to be in the spotlight, and we want to give it to them at a later date. “
Boise Pride previously had replied Threats by explaining the purpose of the event. “Drag kids’ performance is a celebration of self-expression and confidence. The only distortion and sexualization of this performance is coming from bigots and people like Dorothy Moon, who are twisting it into something it’s not.” Its statement noted that minors have been participating in Pride for years, on and off the stage.
Boyce Pride concludes, “Accepting people for who they are is not a radical liberal agenda. It’s human.”
Extremists working to attack the festival, however, are feverishly crafting messages and narratives designed to dehumanize participants. The Twitter account that vowed to expose the Proud Boys, @primemeridian, called the incident “pedophilia in the park” and in a later tweet demanded to know if the Idaho State Patrol (ISP) “made any arrests at this pedophile convention. Will do. Boyce [which] Minors will be exposed to indecent displays and adult nudity.”
“If the state refuses to stop these incidents citizens will have no other option to stop and contain these crimes!” It concluded. An earlier tweet from the same account suggested they would be bringing guns to the event.
The Liberty Dogs, a local far-right patriotic group that often marches with the Proud Boys at Boise events — and Disturbing connections to ISP-Has been at the forefront of encouraging opponents to come out this weekend. The group has a record of violent confrontations and street fights, such as when they Attacked the anti-homelessness camp Earlier this year.
They shared a meme on Facebook (noting that “this is not our event”) announcing two protests – one on Friday, the other on Sunday – against “child abuse and perversion” and warning Posted: “If you are ok with this being sexualized kids, you will be banned from our page. You are not welcome here. #Groomer #Pedo.”
In comments to the meme, A Self-described “citizen journalist” Devin tells another respondent named Miller that he is the person organizing the protest. Miller has been a figure In many right-wing protestsDressed in Proud Boys Gear.
Much of the movement initially stemmed from a report in the right-wing Daily Caller headlined “Corporate America Sponsors Festival Featuring Child Drag Queens.” From there, claims of “nurturers” began to spread like wildfire, especially on social media.
The first major social media influencer to amplify the story was Christopher Ruffo, the right-wing provocateur who fueled much of the hysteria over “critical racial theory.” She tweeted a post Wednesday telling readers: “City of Boise is hosting a festival featuring child drag queens as young as 11.” A short time later, he posted another tweet: “NEW: @BoiseMayor Lauren McLean has launched a public defense of the city’s decision to host a festival featuring a children’s drag show, arguing that they are ‘every are age-positive, inclusive events.”
Ruffo’s first post was then retweeted by the infamous LibsofTikTok account, which previously fueled the white nationalist movement surrounding the Coeur d’Alene Pride event in June. The same account, which has 1.3 million followers, has recently been linked to extremist attacks on children’s hospitals for providing care to transgender children.
Another prominent right-wing influencer, YouTube podcaster Tim Poole, ran a segment on Thursday amplifying the claims, titled “Child Drag Show Backfires to Pull Sponsor Funding, Lefties Are Losing the Wake.” Poole’s YouTube account has over 1 million subscribers.
In Idaho, much of the organizing on the ground to create a counter-protest appears to revolve around white nationalist transplant Dave Reilly, a Pennsylvanian who showed up to support the alt-right at a violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. was August 2017, then moved to Post Falls in 2020 and immediately ran for local school board, narrowly losing due to strong support from the local Republican Party establishment.
The Idaho Dispatch, an online right-wing media site run by Reilly, responded to the protest memes with a story about the Boise Pride Festival facing criticism for having a planned ‘drag kids’ event as a major sponsor. Helped lead the attack on Boise Pride by preaching. out.” Along with Reilly’s efforts to end the “groomer” hysteria similar to the Coeur d’Alene event, his story was expanded on the radical Red Elephants account on Telegram, run by Vincent James Fox, a notorious white nationalist. .
Other white nationalists have gotten in on the act, including Nicholas Fuentes of America First. Fuentes retweeted an Idaho Tribune tweet about the Republican Party’s demand for businesses to withdraw their support. Fox then reposted it on Telegram, directing readers to an article he wrote in May warning that Boice was being “too liberal.”
All this activity largely tracks with the kind of movement that led to the Coeur d’Alene ugly in June. If the bigots have their way, it could easily get even uglier.
Pride festival officials announced that they would increase security around the event. “We have made a commitment to keep [security measures] “Stable and modest growth in some areas,” said festival vice president William Kibbe. The overall message that our organization does and strives for is to be involved in our community — to help drive that narrative around diversity and inclusion in Boise.
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