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Google Distances From Drag Show Amid Employee Complaints — But the Show Goes On

Google Distances From Drag Show Amid Employee Complaints — But the Show Goes On

Peaches Christ

Some Google workers had contended that a show featuring drag performer Peaches Christ was an insult to Christians.

Google decided not to promote a Pride Month drag show after some employees claimed it insulted their Christian faith, but the show, featuring drag queen Peaches Christ, went on as planned.

The tech company sponsors many Pride Month events in San Francisco, and it had listed a Pride and Drag show on an internal company page as the closing event for the month, CNBC reports. But after some Christian workers complained and started circulating a petition, Google removed the show from the page and urged employees to attend a party at the company’s headquarters in nearby Silicon Valley instead.

The petition, viewed by CNBC, alleged that Peaches Christ’s “provocative and inflammatory artistry is considered a direct affront to the religion beliefs and sensitivities of Christians.” A few hundred workers signed it. Google officials told CNBC the drag show, which was held Tuesday, was no longer a company-recognized event but did not say if the petition was the reason.

Google told USA Today the policy on events changed last year to require advance approval. “Our Pride celebrations have regularly featured drag artists for many years, including several this year,” said a statement from the company. “This particular event was booked by and shared within one team without going through our standard events process.”

Peaches Christ told the paper Google had promoted the event last year and that she had requested it be held at a nightclub in San Francisco rather than at Google headquarters in order to provide a more festive atmosphere. She said her performances are not anti-Christian.

“In my world, Jesus has a sense of humor,” she said. “Yes, I did host a ‘Hunky Jesus’ contest. Yes, I support the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Yes, my show is called ‘Midnight Mass.’ But the Jesus and the God I believe in does not care.”

An appearance by the Los Angeles chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at the L.A. Dodgers’ Pride Night recently aroused controversy, with the team disinviting and then reinviting the group. Some protesters demonstrated outside Dodger Stadium before the Pride Night game, held June 16.

Peaches Christ told USA Today the objection to her show “is another example of the really disturbing rise in anti-queer and antigay rhetoric that is using drag performers and trans people as scapegoats. Anyone who knows me and knows my career knows that I use this drag character and name to present love, to make people laugh, to create entertainment, and to create space for outsiders.”

The show went on at the Beaux nightclub in San Francisco’s Castro district Tuesday night, and the performer spoke out there as well. “This thing that happened with Google, unfortunately today for this event, is actually indicative of a huge groundswell of hatred across the country using drag queens and trans people as scapegoats,” she said, according to theSan Francisco Chronicle. “All it is is hatred.”

The event was open to the public, and numerous Google employees attended, she told the Chronicle the next day. “Last year, the same event that I hosted at Beaux was a [Google] sanctioned event,” she said. “For the Google employees, especially the ones that were there last night, you could see how disappointed and embarrassed they were.” Several offered apologies to her, she added.

“We as queer people don’t feel like there was any real allyship” when companies back off, she continued. “You’re Google. What you decide matters.”

Joshua Cook, managing partner at Beaux, told the paper, “We are very thankful that the queer Google group continues to choose us as a space to celebrate. … I let them know, ‘Fabulous, we pissed off some Christians.’”

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