Counter-protesters at Drag Story Hour in WeHo turn violent

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Deputies were hesitant to respond to the attack as the crowd grew rowdy

An L.A. County Sheriff’s Department deputy witnessed a physical assault only feet away from his face but made no move to detain the suspect Saturday during a protest of West Hollywood’s Drag Story Hour at WeHo Park. The incident was captured on video by local journalist Sam Braslow, which he posted to his Twitter account.

In the video, a crowd of more than two dozen people gathered to counter a small protest against Drag Story Hour is swarming a lone male reported to be an activist with the opposing side. He is attempting to film the event through the library’s windows with his cell phone, but he soon finds himself boxed in by about 10 angry people. Then the suspect — clad in gloves and a full-face ski mask that completely obscures his identity —enters the frame, lunges toward the victim and punches him from above, landing a blunt, heavy blow to the videographer’s cheekbone.

All four deputies visible in the video appear to witness the moment of the attack, and three of them show no hint of a reaction. The deputy closest to the victim offers assistance that is, at best, half-hearted: “Please stop fighting” he tells the belligerent crowd.

The suspect then casually walks away from the chaos, confident he will not be pursued.

Moments later, the victim cries out, “Police, don’t leave me!” multiple times as the deputies adjust their standing positions away from him outside the front doors of the library. The activist/videographer eventually takes cover in the library’s lobby.

Some time later, a drag queen speaking on behalf of the program approaches the large group of counter-protesters and asks them, as gently as she can, to “de-escalate.”

“Even though it’s so great and so appreciated, and the love is so felt, ironically, by creating a ruckus, it’s actually going to distract from what the program is trying to do, which is to teach kids about their passion for reading and expressing themselves,” she said. “But if their core memories of the event are fights breaking out in the lobby, that’s what they’re going to remember, and they’re going to start to be afraid of stuff. So although I really believe all the effort and energy I know it takes to organize, if you could de-escalate this protest. This is actually going to bring a lot of negative media attention to the event, and then we’re not going to be able to move forward with the event because organizations are going to be scared to bring them in. They’re really trying to keep it community-oriented and not violent, and the priority is the safety of the children. So thank you so much for coming out, we really appreciate the support, but if we could clear this area and make sure that the kids are able to come in peacefully and enjoy the program.”

The counter-protesters began chanting mid-way through her speech, and by the end of it, her voice could not be heard over the sounds of the crowd.

As state legislatures across the country are currently seeking new restrictions on drag performers’ freedom of expression and ability to make a living, West Hollywood has taken the opposite stance, re-affirming its support for the Drag and Trans communities with weekly proclamations and by hosting last week’s LA Drag March.

The public’s support of the Drag Story Hour concept tends to fall neatly along party lines, with progressives in favor and conservatives against. Many who don’t like the idea fear that the R-rated ribaldry and sexualized content associated with comedic drag shows for adults will find its way into performances meant for kids. Some conservatives think it amounts to the government pushing a political agenda, while others take issue with government spending on it. A dwindling minority of conservatives carry objections to Drag as a whole.

While law enforcement agencies often have a role in protests that turn violent, there have been many notable incidents of protester-on-protester violence in American history, including the Greensboro Massacre of 1979, the Unite the Right Rally in 2017 and the ongoing civil unrest in Portland.

THE HISTORY OF DRAG QUEEN STORY HOUR

Drag Queen Story Hour started around 2015 in San Francisco and quickly spread to other cities, such as Los Angeles, New York, and London. The popularity of these events led to the establishment of the official Drag Queen Story Hour organization, which helps coordinate and promote these events internationally.

DQSH events typically involve drag queens or kings reading stories to children in libraries, schools, bookstores, and other public spaces. The primary goals of these events are to promote literacy, celebrate diversity, and encourage acceptance of gender variance. Some DQSH events also incorporate activities like singing, dancing, and arts and crafts.

While DQSH events have been well-received by many communities, they have proven to be a lightning-rod topic in the media, with TV stations on both sides of the aisle milking them for ratings and news websites using them as clickbait.

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Chris
Chris
9 months ago

If you can’t have a drag queen story hour in West Hollywood California then where can you have it?? This right wing paranoia and hatred is getting ridiculous.

mark feigin
mark feigin
10 months ago

jairo is right

mark feigin
mark feigin
10 months ago

is west hollywood a gay city or simply ground zero for everything deranged?

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
10 months ago

West Hollywood is a clown show.

Please Just Go Away
Please Just Go Away
10 months ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

It is a 24 hour Freak Show. They think they are the leaders in the country where most folks think they are pitiful.

Joseph Balogna
Joseph Balogna
10 months ago

We’re living in Bizarro World.

Harambe’s Vengeful Ghost
Harambe’s Vengeful Ghost
10 months ago

Just be clear that the counter protestors are pro-specializing children and the one line protestor was there to make sure it was above board and the government (the library staff) were being dicks to him. Keep drag in adult venues, not for kids. It’s inherently sexual in nature.

Michelle
Michelle
9 months ago

You’re ridiculous. No one is pro-specializing children. Kids are allowed to take a wide variety of classes and do not have to pick a major until their sophomore year of college.

Woke Gotham
Woke Gotham
10 months ago

These guys are thugs… enabled by a despotic CC that is regularly on the wrong side of affirming Free Speech in Weho. Notable that WehoTimes recently wrote about “gays against groomers” as terrorists and right wing militia-affiliated, despite warnings such slander enables this kind of political violence. Agree with Jairo or not, this sets a dangerously low precedent for an already eroded civil society. CC needs to act to affirm nonviolent Free Speech NOW

Harambe’s Vengeful Ghost
Harambe’s Vengeful Ghost
10 months ago
Reply to  Woke Gotham

WeHo Times is communist garbage

TomSmart
TomSmart
10 months ago

LOL

Benjamin Story
Benjamin Story
10 months ago

What’s the point of hiring deputies to keep the peace when they’re not going to keep the peace? If it had been one of the pro-drag queen guys getting punched, you can bet City Council would have heard about it. It is noteworthy that the pro crowd were wearing black-bloc attire, a tactic often employed by anarchists, along with use of black umbrellas to block cameras. These are not the good guys. These are not West Hollywood residents who organically show up. This is the same Antifa crowd that vandalized West Hollywood in 2020, spray painting graffiti all over town.… Read more »

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
10 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Story

I think both groups like to antagonize each other. The sucker punch was uncalled for.

But to your point of “These are not the good guys”:

The person getting punched is Jairo Rodriguez. He is a known anti-vax, anti-LGBT antagonizer in the LA area. The police know who he is. They have dealt with his antics since covid started. He is on video harassing grocery store employees, kicking journalists at protests, and getting trespassed at Target.

He uses nazi imagery for his protests and associates with other known nazi sympathizers (Ethan Schmidt)

Harambe’s Vengeful Ghost
Harambe’s Vengeful Ghost
10 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

You’re a communist and cannot be trusted.

Chris
Chris
9 months ago

You’re a fascist and cannot be trusted.

Joseph Balogna
Joseph Balogna
10 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

No one believes you. Regardless, this guy’s politics are irrelevant. You can’t assault people who disagree with you.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
10 months ago
Reply to  Joseph Balogna

If you don’t believe me, google his name and see what you get!

Chris
Chris
9 months ago
Reply to  Joseph Balogna

Right wingers love nazis, that’s why they support this guy.

Chris
Chris
9 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Story

As someone who is against fascism I am 100% ANTIFA. If you love fascism so much might I suggest you go live in russia or north korea. You definitely don’t belong in West Hollywood.

John Ryan
John Ryan
10 months ago

The deputies who witnessed the assault and did nothing should be fired immediately.

Harambe’s Vengeful Ghost
Harambe’s Vengeful Ghost
10 months ago
Reply to  John Ryan

Dare you suggest they do something? They might get charged by Gascón! Never mind that the Supreme Court said cops have no duty to intervene in a crime they witness. But we civilians must, if we are able, courtesy of Good Samaritan laws!

  • Deshaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services (1989)
  • The Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales (2005)
  • Lozito v. NYPD (NY 2011)
Josh Kurpies
Josh Kurpies
10 months ago

Setting aside the question of whether the Deputies responded correctly, it also serves as a reminder that the presence of armed law enforcement officers does not always prevent violent crime.

JF1
JF1
10 months ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

🙄

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
10 months ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

Particularly in an era of emboldened miscreants while hampering law enforcement’s ability to effectively engage with them. That one deputy failed miserably in his duty to protect, but I must question the briefing they all received prior to deployment. I only hope that I could be as restrained as the protester in the face of the human amoeba flailing about in his personal space.

LateralThinker
LateralThinker
10 months ago

When did we become this society ? How is this any different than someone getting kicked in the head during a riot ? Do you know this punch could have killed this person ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrAbYHjGRiM This is just one example or story or proof Google “one punch death” For those that grew up here do I have to remind you of Reginald Denny ? Are those of us in the “community” now becoming the aggressor to get our message across ? Sad ..truly sad ….and as for the Sheriff not arresting the assailant, I am curious Sheriff Luna Condones this… Read more »

This Society
This Society
10 months ago
Reply to  LateralThinker

WH as a people have become “this society”. This lack of self control based on lack of self worth has reached epidemic proportions and occurs at every level top to bottom. People’s lack of respect for themselves, others, the law and elements that represent civility have been consistently eroded until we display actions of the cave men. Be authentic, be responsible, be stoic.

Mick Remington
Mick Remington
10 months ago

There’s a huge push-back brewing in the country. The fact that grown men (compelled to dress as provocative women) are drawn to small children doesn’t sit well with most Americans.

Jason
Jason
10 months ago
Reply to  Mick Remington

The craziest part is that it is now considered “far-right” or “fascist” to even point this out.

JF1
JF1
10 months ago
Reply to  Jason

Yup. Sad but true and very disturbing.

Mick Remington
Mick Remington
10 months ago
Reply to  Jason

only on sites like this or social media. most people have tried to be tolerant but look where that has taken us.

Louise
Louise
10 months ago
Reply to  Mick Remington

Oh Mick. Why don’t you just move to Florida already? Like I have said, West Hollywood/California is only getting bluer.

Mick Remington
Mick Remington
10 months ago
Reply to  Louise

it’s not a matter on blue or red. it’s a matter of decency.

Louise
Louise
10 months ago
Reply to  Mick Remington

It’s actually a matter of hate and bigotry. California is not going to suddenly ban Drag Story Hour. You are in the minority when it comes your views.

Mick Remington
Mick Remington
10 months ago
Reply to  Louise

LOL

Louise
Louise
10 months ago
Reply to  Mick Remington

I agree. Your crazy views are funny. What’s next on your list? Book banning?

West
West
10 months ago
Reply to  Louise

Have you ever wondered why our tiny West Hollywood is such a magnet for National Democratic Party operstives? Why do the glitterati of the DNC come here to cut deals with the Wienstein/Bryan Singer/Ed Buck-their monsters that lurk among us?

It’s because WeHo has pledged blind allegiance to the intelligence apparatus and Corporate Party machine long ago, erecting a fortress of protection for out of reach human predators still useful to the Party.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
10 months ago
Reply to  West

You forgot conservative billionaire mega donor Peter Thiel who has a house in the hills where his live-in lover stayed.

It’s almost as if LA is the second biggest city in the U.S. and attracts corrupt people of all different ideologies.

Swamp things
Swamp things
10 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

While Tiel is an architect the digital panopticon, the biomedical surveillance state is ushered in under the unholy name of Geffen

C.R.
C.R.
10 months ago
Reply to  Swamp things

Is anyone not in need of medication supposed to know what you are referring to? Hopefully there’s a special right now on tin foil hats somewhere in West Hollywood.

Chris
Chris
9 months ago
Reply to  Mick Remington

“Most Americans” could care less about this culture war crap. Speak for yourself. Drag queens have been around for many years and nobody cared until recently when politicians decided to use them as political tools. Drag queens are here to stay and if you don’t like it, too bad.

Mike
Mike
9 months ago
Reply to  Chris

As a gay man I have never been attracted to drag be it sexually or drag shows. What I don’t understand is why the drag community thinks it appropriate to read story’s to children . It is not only bazaar but in many cases confusing to children.

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