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Dragphobia Is (Still) All The Rage At The MRC

The Media Research Center wants you to hate and fear drag queens as much as it does, and its attacks on them at the start of this year continued that narrative (but Milton Berle and "Bosom Buddies" have been deemed exempt from criticism).

By Terry Krepel
Posted 9/23/2023

Tierin-Rose Mandelburg

Before it could start its new year of dragphobia, The Media Research Center slipped in a bit more dragphobia at the end of last year. A Dec. 22 post by Brad Wilmouth complained that right-wing dragphobia was called out, huffing that a PBS show "devoted a segment to an LGBT activist who has been defending drag shows against efforts by conservatives to restrict their ability to involve children" and that the host "made sure to label critics of drag shows as 'far-right' as she set up the interview." Wilmouth didn't dispute the accuracy of the label.

In a Dec. 27 post, Clay Waters gave violence aimed at a bar that hosted a drag night a pass because it purportedly wasn't violent enough:'

A long New York Times Christmas Day editorial, pompously titled “How Americans Can Stand Against Extremism,” made a mountain of right-wing intolerance out of one or perhaps two molehills of ideologically motivated vandalism.
Whoever shot the small steel ball through the front window of the Brewmaster’s Taproom in Renton, Wash., this month wasn’t taking chances. The person wore a mask and removed the front and rear license plates of a silver Chevrolet Cruze. The police still have no leads.
(Well, the Times does want everyone to mask up, again.)

The Times even illustrated its editorial with a picture of the cracked window. The lack of proof that it was a politically motivated attack didn’t matter, there was fear to stir up and extrapolations to be made.

Just like how the MRC must always stir up fear about drag queens?

The MRC's chief transphobe, Teirin-Rose Mandelburg, raged at a comfortable-but-ugly shoemaker for taking part in a drag gathering in a Dec. 30 post:

I knew I made the right choice when I never fell into the “Crocs are back in style” trap that many other young people did in the more recent years.

According to a flyer posted by RuPaul's Drag Con Instagram account, Crocs Europe will be sponsoring a children's fashion show at the 2023 Drag Convention on January 8. The shoe brand once focused on — ya, know — making shoes, but now cares more about pushing progressivism.

And its target audience is our kids.

In the Instagram caption, the announcement read, “Hit them with your catwalk, kids ? Bring it to the runway with your parent/guardian for the #DragConUK 2023 Kids Fashion Show, Sunday 8th January on the @crocseurope Main Stage!” It then continued with more specifics for kids to know when and where to go, adding, “No pre-registration required. All kids under 18 are welcome, please report to the Main Stage at 12:45PM to participate ?”

Any parent who would allow their kid to attend an event like this is partaking in what I call "child abuse." Not to mention the parents that bring their kid to participate in drag gear for the event.

Shame on them.

Mandelburg unsurprisingly threw the "groomer" slur around as well:

It really is disturbing that RuPaul's drag team thinks kids should be not only invited to but encouraged to participate in an event that undoubtedly will be oversexualized and inappropriate for their innocent eyes. It's also disturbing that companies and groups that used to be great for kids are joining in on the pro-grooming crusade.

Several days later, Mandelburg cheered that her hateful mob had the desired effect:

Crocs has holes in its shoes and now in its story too.

At the end of December, the billion-dollar shoe brand, Crocs, announced its sponsorship of a kids drag fashion show for the RuPaul’s Drag Convention in London this past weekend. After ample backlash condemning the grooming behavior of the company, Crocs Europe silently deleted all signs of sponsorship.

Did they think we wouldn’t notice?


While Crocs likely caved to the ample and justified backlash, Teletubbies, another sponsor of the event, maintained it’s position.

Of course, she would never refer to her manufactured "backlash" as a mob effect, even though her employer loves to refer to any group of people advocating for liberal views as a "mob."

Mandelburg used a Jan. 16 post to rage at a drag event in Texas:

These people need Jesus.

An “all-ages” drag show event in Dallas had a great audience turnout, including local legislators, parents and children, according to Taylor Hansen of the Texas Family Project.

The event opened with audio that condemned “far-right” protesters who think that drag queens shouldn’t interact with children. Yeah ... those crazy right-wingers...


Councilmen Jesse Moreno and Paul Ridley were in attendance as well as State Representative Venton Jones. The three gave speeches while drag queens stood in solidarity and the audience roared.

Moreno’s speech thanked the audience for the attendance and claimed that “there is no place for hate in the city of Dallas.” He declared it his purpose to “educate” on “basic human rights” and “dignity” which apparently include the “right” to groom kids by bringing them to a drag show.

As for dignity, it's a drag show.

But as she has with transgender people, Mandelburg is dishonestly portraying the show in question. As an actual news organization reported about the manufactured outrage, which took place at a weekly "drag brunch" at a bar, it was never advertised as an "all ages" drag show -- right-wing activists maliciously portrayed it as such because children were never explicitly prohibited, and the only children at the event in question were brought by a parent to watch the protest:

Had it not been for a group named Protect Texas Kids, there may not have been any kids at a recent drag brunch in Dallas that drew protesters yelling slurs and threatening violence.

Ahead of the Jan. 14 event, the anti-LGBTQ organization Protect Texas Kids began posting online about the weekly drag brunch at BuzzBrews, suggesting that, because the neighborhood restaurant did not explicitly ban children, organizers were catering to children and, thus, grooming them for sex.

Threats and harassment ensued. The bar owners were accused of pedophilia. A protest was organized. And Veronica Olivo, a friend of one of the drag performers, decided to go in solidarity with her two preteens as a form of counterprotest.

“I told them that we were going to an art performance where the guys dress up like girls, and that you might hear some dirty jokes,” she said with a laugh. “They were like, ‘Well, you do that at home anyway.’”

They were the only kids at the show.

Outside, outraged protesters called their mom and other patrons “child groomers” and “pedophiles” — with little appreciation for the irony that their protest was the only reason kids were inside.

The news outlet pointed out how Hansen played a key role in manufacturing anti-drag hate:

Hansen has been increasingly influential in conservative spaces, and his work has often prompted harassment of drag events and local businesses, including a drag brunch at Roanoke’s Anderson Distillery and Grill that drew white supremacists and a cascade of threats online.

So Mandelburg has unhinged hatred toward people who are different from her and is willing to lie and mislead in order to portray them as negatively as possible. Sounds like she's the one who really needs Jesus.

Matt Philbin spent a Jan. 27 post reacting to a drag show during halftime at a pro basketball game in a freakout filled with toxic masculinity:

Well, the Milwaukee Bucks came out of the closet this week, becoming the first NBA team to declare itself queer.

At Wednesday’s “Pride Night” game, the team gave attendees a "Bucks Pride" scarf and beanie, and announced that the Milwaukee PD officially recognized their arena as a terrific place to be gay. Team members made videos about how great the gay is, and at halftime they ceded the court to gyrating dudes in women’s clothes for a drag show. Apparently, they found time to play basketball too. All in a night’s work.


Well, if you knew it was Pride Night and you bought your family tickets anyway, you don’t much care what your kids are exposed to. And since the whole point of Pride Night is to advertise the team’s virtue, it’s hard to imagine someone not getting word before hand.

So please join me in congratulating the Bucks for their courage, wishing them well as they continue to live their truth as the first gay pro basketball team.

Philbin seems a bit insecure in his masculinity if all he can come up with is a childish "you're so gay" insult.

Later in the day, Philbin cheered anti-drag laws in North Dakota:

We’ve reached the point where we need laws to keep men in women’s clothes from performing lewd dance routines in front of kids. Isn’t progress great?

The North Dakota House voted 79-13 to make it illegal to do drag shows with children present. According to Fox News, “Rep. Brandon Prichard, a Republican from Bismarck, said Thursday he proposed the bill after learning of drag shows performed in front of children, including at least once on the Capitol steps.”

At least one ...

So the question is, who were the 13 reps that think pervs and kids belong together?

Philbin did not explain who indoctrinated him with the hateful belief that all drag queens are "pervs" who only do "lewd dance routines."

Mandelburg, got to mix dragphobia with her transphobia in a Feb. 3 post that went on a tirade against "drag queen turned trannie" Jinkx Monsoon, who landed a part in a Broadway musical. Mandelburg quickly descended into your typical right-wing "drag queens are coming for your children" fearmongering:

The two then got into the growing "backlash" that drag queens have been receiving. “Drag has slayed and sashayed its way into mainstream entertainment,” [CBS correspondent Christina] Ruffini began, “it’s also become a target.” Violence against anyone is always wrong, but it's important to point out that drag only became an issue when drag queens got out of their own lane and got into the lane where children exist.

If you wanna do drag, go ahead. You’re weird but I mean, feel free. However, the second a drag queen enters a space with children present, THAT’s when the line needs to be drawn. Children should not be subjected to such a twisted way of life and told to accept it as normal.

Whether its children attending “family-friendly” drag shows where performers execute provocative dance moves and lay spread eagle on the floor, or where drag queens host fashion shows for “drag youth,” or drag queen story hour, “drag” and “children” should never intersect.

Why is Mandelburg so afraid of drag queens? She offers no evidence that drag queens pose any sort of realistic threat to children -- after all, children in the 1950s weren't traumatized by Milton Berle in drag on national TV (which wouldn't be allowed under some states' anti-drag laws). And one has to think that Mandelburg doesn't really mean that "violence against anyone is always wrong" when she's suggesting it would be permissible against a drag queen who got even remotely close to a child.

Kevin Tober spent a Feb. 6 post lashing out at TV panelists -- one of whom is one of the MRC's most hated targets -- who pointed out the scare tactics behind the right-wing anti-drag crusade:

On Monday's edition of CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront, host Erin Burnett and her panelists tore into Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis for the grave sin of holding companies accountable that seek to sexually exploit and indoctrinate children for the left's political gain. Most notably, panelist and co-host of The View Alyssa Farah Griffin defended parents who want to abuse their children by bringing them to drag shows and beclowned herself by admitting that she "love[s] drag."

Burnett turned to left-wing radical Van Jones on the drag queen story hour topic and falsely claimed: “this is not a big thing, okay.”

She then added: “But to the extent that it is something that comes up, there are a lot of parents who may not be Republican or right-wing Republican or whoever who might be uncomfortable with that. Is it a smart issue to pick it? So in other words, so that you as a Democrat aren't put in a position of defending why 6-year-olds should be allowed to go to drag queens?”

Jones deflected from the question posed to him and whined: “It's cynical. And it's the kind of cynical thing a bully does. It speaks poorly to his character. I don't think that the biggest threat to American children is some drag queen thing.”


Finally, the most insane commentary was predictably given by The View co-host Alyssa Farah Griffin.

At first, it started off promising when Griffin said she’s “not comfortable with the idea of a 6-year-old being at a drag show.”

But then it took a turn for the worse when she embarrassed herself by admitting “I love drag. I'm 33. So, let's not ban it.”

“Let’s not have the heavy hand of the state come in and make a decision for parents. This seems like conservatism 101. Let the parent opt-in to what they want their kids to have exposure to,” Griffin lectured.

If that’s "conservatism 101" then conservatism deserves to die a swift death. But luckily that’s not what conservatism stands for.

This shouldn't be a political issue. Children don't belong at drag shows. Period.

Tober didn't dispute that his fellow right-wingers are using bully tactics against drag queens. And, like his fellow co-workers, he failed to explain why he believes all drag queens are all inherently evil who must be purged from society and hidden away lest children get even the slightest glimpse of them and learn not to hate the way their parents do. And if Tober and his pals support trying to legislate drag out of existence, they're the ones who are politicizing things.

Mandelburg returned to freak out in a Feb. 9 post:

CNN is doing its part for the drag queen lobby.

The network's Erica Hill did a puff segment Thursday morning with Reverend Todd Vetter and Jonathan Hamilt, Executive Director of Drag Story Hour, to protest the GOP-backed legislation that aims to protect kids from the obscenity of drag shows. In a roughly six-minute exchange on live TV, the trio spewed lies and woke propaganda about the need for drag in kids' lives -- and in the lives of Christians.

Vetter, of the First Congregational Church of Madison, Connecticut, put on a drag bingo event to raise money for his youth group to attend a mission trip to build homes for people. Naturally, he received some backlash but he kept it up He claimed it wasn’t a “political statement” and insisted it was to signal that his church was an “open and affirming” place.

Being judgmental about anything and everything that offends her far-right sensibilities and ideology is, of course, Mandelburg's brand. She then imposed her rigid and narrow view of Christianity on the situation, insisting that Jesus would never hang with drag queens:

Vetter said the experience was “an affirmation of who we are as a church, how we think about the commandment to love our neighbor and I think it, whatever lessons the community has taken away from this is -- I think, positive -- but it is a great affirmation for us of who we are and who we are called to be.”

So his flock is called to hang around with perverts?

While the Bible does say to love our neighbor and that we are not to judge others, it also commands us to walk as Jesus would. If Jesus were running a church in the U.S. today, he wouldn’t be using men in dress-up clothes and wearing boob attachments to raise money for a youth mission trip. Vetter is enabling drag behavior and exposing kids to it.

Mandelburg did the stock right-wing ranting about drag queen story hours: "Most regular story-hour’s don’t and shouldn't have men with fake boobs wearing short skirts and makeup." She then went on to justify anti-drag hate by using the Orwellian framing of calling it "pro-child":

He claimed that people who are in opposition of kids being in spaces with drag queens are simply homophobic and transphobic.

Hill then went on a tangent bashing the Republican-introduced law that would help protect kids from the immorality at drag shows. The law indicates that parents may be charged if they bring their kids to drag events, as they should, as well as insists that restaurants and bars that host the drag shows to register as sexually oriented businesses ... I mean, duh.

The bill isn’t “anti-drag,” but instead is “pro-child.” If you want to dress up in drag, go ahead, you’re a freak but not hurting anyone but yourself. But the second drag and children intersect or enter into the same place, a thick line needs to be drawn.

Kids should not be exposed to drag. Period.
Again, Mandelburg didn't explain exactly how any child -- or any adult -- is threatened in any way by drag queens.

Alex Christy took issue with Stephen Colbert calling out a sweeping Tennessee ban on drag shows in a March 2 post, responding to his jokes with right-wing talking points -- even the joke about an old picture of the Tennessee governor in drag:

Stephen Colbert voiced his displeasure at Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s announcement that he plans to sign bills that will prohibit “gender-affirming care” for minors and drag shows for children on Wednesday’s edition of The Late Show on CBS. Colbert was so disgusted by the moves that he addressed Lee as “you dick.”

Colbert began by announcing the news, “There's some troubling news from Tennessee, thanks to Republican Governor and dad's friend saying ‘Wow, you really grew up over the summer,’ Bill Lee. Lee announced he will be signing Tennessee's sweeping new anti-LGBTQ bills, which, among other things will ban gender-affirming treatment for transgender youth.”

Expressing his opposition, Colbert continued, “Come on. Transgender or not, I don’t care who you are, all teens struggle with figuring out relationship to their bodies.”

Colbert is exactly right, but his conclusion is completely backwards. Teenagers do struggle with their relationship with their bodies which is why it is highly irresponsible to encourage boys to think they that they are girls and vice versa.

Moving right along, Colbert also reported that, “Tennessee isn't just coming for the young ones. The governor has said he'd sign a bill that would restrict drag shows. Yes, he wants to severely limit drag. Our Founding Fathers did not create this country so men could wear frilly shirts, silk stockings, and powdered wigs!”

The Founding Fathers did not wear dresses or parade around in front of children in a hyper-sexualized manner.

For, Colbert the biggest problem was trying to define “sexualized entertainment,” as he argued Lee doesn’t have a good answer, “You know who else can't define what drag is? Governor Bill Lee. Because the day before he announced he'd sign the bill, a picture of him emerged dressed in drag in high school. Okay, okay. Okay, okay, admittedly those are some great gams, but I'm sorry, those pearls?”

The photo in question is from a high school yearbook and shows Lee in a cheerleader’s uniform, but if Colbert was trying to portray Lee as a hypocrite, he failed because Lee wasn’t performing in a sexual manner in front of children.


Again, Colbert got it backwards it is people who are preying on the confusion and innocence of children who are appealing to their political base at the expense of real human beings. That is something someone who claims to be a devout Catholic should be able to understand.

So a guy in a cheerleader uniform is not acting "hyper-sexualized"? Weird.

The same day, Kevin Tober went on a hateful tirade after MSNBC's Joy Reid pointed out the ridiculousness of the Tennessee drag ban:

On Thursday night’s The ReidOut on MSNBC, host Joy Reid once again lashed out at Republicans for wanting to protect children from degenerate groomers who want to genitally mutilate children and inflict sexually explicit drag shows on them. The latest source of Reid’s rage came as Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed two bills that would ban sex-change procedures and sexually-explicit drag shows.

This was a problem for Reid who cried that “Republicans in Tennessee are moving full speed ahead in their quest to undo the thing they hate the most, the 20th century. With Governor Bill Lee signing a bill today that would restrict drag performances.”

Reid then claimed that drag was simply an art form that has been around since Shakespeare. She wants you to think Shakespeare’s kids went to drag queen story hour where a mentally ill man in a dress twerked and read to them.

“If Governor Lee knew the history that Republicans don't want you to learn, he’d know that drag is an art form that goes back, literally, centuries. It's been around since Shakespeare,” Reid falsely claimed.

Actually, Reid is correct -- drag does go back to Shakespeare.

Christy tried to defend the Tennessee governor again in a March 4 post:

A heavily imbalanced CNN Tonight panel declared on Friday that Republicans and specifically Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is a hypocrite for banning gender transitions for minors and to overly-sexualized drag shows for children are hypocrites, first for claiming to believe in limited government and second because he has been photographed in drag. Neither criticism holds up under factual review.


The photo of Lee is of him in a cheerleader uniform, he was not practically naked or doing any of the overtly sexual acts that are featured in some of the viral videos that served as the inspiration for this law that everybody, Hyde included, on this CNN panel ignored.

Christy also whined that the panelists didn't interpret the Tennessee law to his liking, insisting that dressing in drag for "prurient interest" is what is outlawed. Does he really think a guy dressing as a cheerleader does not spark prurient interest in some people?

In a March 13 post serving up the MRC's annual ritual bashing of the Academy Awards, Stephanie Hamill complained that Oscar-winning director Daniel Scheinert thanked his parents for "not squashing my creativity when I was making disturbing horror films or perverted comedy films or dressing in drag as a kid, which is a threat to nobody":

I think it safe to say that many parents would disagree with this sentiment. There are many out there who would likely take issue with the drag queen agenda being pushed on kids, especially when children are being exposed to inappropriate shows in public places and even in some schools.

There's a "drag queen agenda" now? Who knew?

Mandelburg melted down yet again in a March 16 post over a planned "Drag Story Hour," then cheered fellow a fellow transphobe attacking it:

The March 19 event is being sponsored by James and a nonprofit called "Drag Story Hour NYC." Supposedly, said non-profit has been “showered” in over $200,000 in taxpayer funds to shove drag queens in the faces of the city's children.


As a counter to the blasphemous drag event James is hosting, LibsofTikTok owner Chaya Raichik - who's also the author of a great, wholesome children’s book called "No More Secrets" - is hosting her own story hour down the street from James’ drag show, co-hosting the truly family-friendly event with Trent Talbot, author of “Fight For Freedom Island."

These conservative voices are right. It’s disgusting that New York’s taxpayer money is helping drag queens groom kids, but it's even more disgusting that James thinks this is something to be “proud" of.

There is nothing "wholesome" about Raichik's hate and homophobia, and "grooming" has become a meaningless slur from right-wingers like Mandelburg.

Christy defended anti-drag laws yet again in a March 24 post:

Benjamin “BenDeLaCreme” Putnam of RuPaul’s Drag Race and Comedy Central The Daily Show temp host Al Franken not only alleged that Republicans in Tennessee had no idea what they’re talking about when they passed their “insidious” ban on children attending drag shows, but such laws contribute to high suicide rates.

Franken began by declaring that “I think there are a lot of people objecting to drag without even having any idea what it is.”


Putnam also found it offensive that drag shows would be labeled “as adult entertainment,” claiming that “is insidious within itself to say that someone dressing this way is only appropriate for adults when they’re not doing anything that is adult-oriented and the idea that children are somehow going to be made more queer by access to queer culture.”

If Putman genuinely believes that drag shows do not qualify as adult entertainment, his anger would be better directed towards those in the viral video that inspired this law that featured little children rubbing their hands against a performer’s crotch.

Christy didn't explain why a context-free video from a right-wing website should serve as a credible explanation of anything.

Christian Toto spent his March 25 column trying to defend anti-drag hate from a Hollywood industry publication (which Toto inexplicably insists is "far-Left") while also defending the Tom Hanks-starring '80s drag comedy show "Bosom Buddies":

The far-Left outlet brings back “Bosom Buddies” to suggest that conservatives are suddenly, inexplicably outraged by drag performers.

Why do they hate people who are different? Why can’t they leave drag performers alone? That’s not written in the piece, but it’s implied from start to finish.

In doing so, the site ignores the key reason for the Sturm und Drang.

Some drag queens are performing highly sexual material for very young children ... even toddlers. It’s being encouraged across the culture, including by New York’s Attorney General, Letitia James.

The media is downplaying this element of the story as much as possible, but platforms like Twitter abound with footage showing drag queens interacting with children in highly sexual ways.

Hanks and Scolari did no such thing. Nor did other famous drag performers like Milton Berle, Flip Wilson and, famously, Robin Williams in “Mrs. Doubtfire.”

They dressed in drag, while drag queens add more dimension to the art form. It’s often sexual in nature and has been aimed directly at adult audiences for decades. The practice has had its detractors, but their voices were small and on the boundaries of the culture.

That’s no longer the case.

Toto didn't explain why he insists that the mere act of dressing in drag for public performance must automatically be presumed to be "highly sexual," or why Hanks and Berle deserve a carve-out from the hate. Drag is drag, is it not?

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