A drag story hour event scheduled this weekend at Bookmans’ northwest location was postponed over safety concerns after a local Christian church used social media to organize a protest.
Bookmans’ president Sean Feeney announced Monday that the event scheduled for March 25th at the Ina and Thornydale location was to be postponed and moved.
“The decision to make any changes to this event was an extremely hard one for Bookmans,” Feeney said in a statement. “I am in disbelief that I am being forced to postpone and relocate, and I want to be absolutely clear as to the reason. Threats, protests, and bullying were not factors in making the call to move the event. We fully support and will continue to support Drag Story Hour-Az. The choice to relocate and postpone this Drag Story Hour event was based solely on ensuring the safety of the attendees, performers, and all members of our community.”
People are also reading…
In the statement, Feeney said the store had held many well-attended performances over the years. This time, however, he said a harassment campaign spearheaded by The Bridge Church and adopted by the local Proud Boys chapter had targeted the event, causing those on social media to encourage community members to attend the story hour and disrupt it.
Days before the event was postponed, The Bridge Church posted on their website about the story hour, saying that they hope people called Bookmans’ everyday in hopes to get the event canceled. The post also included the phone numbers for all of the state’s Bookmans’ locations, the names of the managers for each location and the coordinators’ emails from each location.
“We are hoping that many churches will decide to get involved and help stand for our community, city, and society. It is a time to stand for our children and their future. Stand for God and His Truth,” the post said.
After Bookmans’ postponed the event, a Tweet from the church’s Twitter account said that the protest would no longer take place and they “will continue to monitor and reschedule it if needed.”
Feeney said called having to postpone a popular children’s event due to threats of violence tragic. He said the goal is to return the event to what it is: “a celebration designed to foster a love of literacy in children.”
“We are enormously grateful for the outpouring of positive support that the Tucson community has shown to us and to Drag Story Hour-Az at this time and in times past,” Feeney said. “We appreciate everyone who took the time to extend support in person at our stores and with emails and phone calls. The volume of positive support we have received from the Tucson community in the last few days has been truly overwhelming.”
Jamie Donnelly covers breaking news for the Arizona Daily Star. Contact her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org