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HomeCanadian NewsDeliberate drag evening at petting zoo spurs hateful messages, threats

Deliberate drag evening at petting zoo spurs hateful messages, threats

‘The intolerance has gotten to degree 11 out of 10’

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A Calgary petting zoo and theme park has acquired hateful and threatening messages on-line after promoting its deliberate drag evening on social media.

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Cobb’s Journey Park proprietor and president Mike Sheppard says the adults-only drag occasion, deliberate for Saturday night, has prompted a number of emails and feedback from folks accusing the enterprise of “sexualizing kids” and claiming they’ll not go to the park — some inferring violence of their messages.

One touch upon the occasion on Fb reads: “Solely means anybody ought to go is that if they get to convey weapons to the present.” Others known as the occasion “disgusting” and “woke stupidity,” amongst a number of different adverse feedback.

Sheppard famous his enterprise has lengthy supported the LGBTQ group and that is the third 12 months he’s hosted a drag evening, however that is the primary time it’s been met with such extreme disdain. Usually, he mentioned the annual occasion would function different entertainers corresponding to contortionists or hula-hoopers alongside the drag queens, however this 12 months they needed to turf some acts to bolster security. He additionally filed a police report.

“These different performers we needed to cancel. We had a price range of $1,000 for that, however we’re placing that $1,000 into safety guards now due to that message,” he mentioned.

One of many performers, Jesse Postma, who goes by the drag identify Angelina Starchild on stage, mentioned the rhetoric is sadly nothing out of the bizarre.

“It’s not likely something new. It’s simply one thing that’s at all times been there and type of festering,” mentioned Postma, who additionally hosts a weekly drag brunch at native homosexual bar Twisted Ingredient each weekend.

“However with the top of the (peak of the) pandemic and type of the restrictions all loosening up, I really feel like everybody simply began to really feel actually courageous. So I really feel prefer it’s gotten rather a lot worse.”

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Postma mentioned the messages do make him barely uncomfortable, however mentioned he thinks the threats are empty and Sheppard’s promise of further safety put him extra comfortable.

“We shouldn’t need to be going by means of this; it’s 2022,” he mentioned. “A part of me is slightly nervous. However the different a part of me is — I simply wish to go on the market and do what I’ve been doing for the previous virtually decade.”

Each Sheppard and Postma mentioned it appears folks have been emboldened to extra overtly showcase their bigotry as of late, particularly beneath the veil of on-line anonymity.

“All people simply wants to relax out a bit. The intolerance has gotten to degree 11 out of 10,” mentioned Sheppard.

“With every part happening on this planet — from inflation to jobs; we simply acquired over two years of COVID — I feel persons are afraid. I don’t know why that provides them energy for hate, nevertheless it does.”

Regardless of the vitriol and threats of misplaced enterprise, Sheppard mentioned he’s not reconsidering internet hosting the drag evening, saying it’s vital for him, his employees and the roughly 300 folks that may attend the present that they don’t again down.

“Personally, it’s crucial for us,” he mentioned. “I additionally assume publicly, folks have to face as much as it.

“If we’re gonna lose a number of prospects over that, I’m OK with that.”

For extra info on Cobbs Journey Park and the drag evening this weekend, go to

Twitter: @michaelrdrguez



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