Protesters bloodied and arrested at NYC Drag Story Hour

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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 65
Gender: Male
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Location: Long Island, New York

20 Mar 2023, 3:44 pm

Protesters, some of whom appear to be Proud Boys members, clashed with counterprotesters at a Drag Story Hour hosted by N.Y. Attorney General Letitia James.

One man was arrested and another left bloodied as dozens protested a Drag Story Hour event in New York City on Sunday, according to videos shared on social media and in local news reports. At least some of the protesters appeared to be affiliated with the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group.

The protest took place outside the LGBTQ Community Center in Manhattan's West Village neighborhood, where New York Attorney General Letitia James was hosting a Drag Story Hour event, with drag performers reading children’s books to kids and their families. The Center is just a short walk away from the iconic Stonewall Inn, arguably the birthplace of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

A video posted on Twitter by a journalist affiliated with local media site shows a protester wearing a gold Anonymous mask being apprehended by police. A spokesperson for the NYPD confirmed in an email that the masked man, Robert Porco, 53, of Fishkill, New York, "was arrested and was charged with Assault" after "he approached a victim and struck him in the face." The victim suffered a "physical injury to his face" and "swelling to his nose" but was not hospitalized, the spokesperson said.

In a separate video shared by the same Twitter account, a different protester is seen walking away from the event with his face bloodied.

"I came here to help, not get the s--- beat out of me," he said, accompanied by a fellow protester in a Proud Boys sweatshirt and surrounded by a swath of local media.

Counterprotesters could be heard in the background shouting: “Go back to Long Island” and “F--- the Proud Boys.”

The debate over whether drag is appropriate for children has, as it did Sunday, prompted violence in recent months.

Last year, there were at least 141 incidents of protests and threats targeting drag events, according to LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD. In response to such incidents, several of the country’s top drag queens have previously told NBC News that they have increased security at their events, some by hiring armed guards.

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