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Ron DeSantis Tweets Lie About L.A. Dodgers Pride Night, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

Ron DeSantis Tweets Lie About L.A. Dodgers Pride Night, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

Protesters at Dodger Stadium
Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

But the game went on and was well-attended.

Protesters gathered outside Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles Friday night as the team prepared for its annual Pride Night, with the demonstrators objecting primarily to the presence of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Republican presidential hopeful and current governor of Florida Ron DeSantis even took to Twitter to make a bogus claim about the event.

The Dodgers organization had been criticized for inviting the satirical — and charitable — troupe of drag nuns to Pride Night and honoring the Sisters with a Community Hero Award for the group’s work in raising funds for a variety of nonprofits. In response, the Dodgers disinvited the Sisters, then reinvited them after uproar from the LGBTQ+ community and others.

On Saturday, DeSantis tweeted a story about the "thousands" of protesters who showed up against Pride Night, then claimed the stadium was empty.

"Good on the thousands who showed up at Dodger Stadium to protest this anti-Catholic hate group. The virtually empty stadium for the game itself was a powerful image – Americans are fed up with the nonsense and are fighting back," DeSantis wrote.

Twitter had to put a disclaimer on the article's images that the stadium was "virtually empty," as DeSantis described it.

Other right-wing Twitter users also posted photos of a nearly empty Dodger Stadium, claiming the Sisters and/or the protests had kept people away. However, given Los Angeles’s notorious traffic, it’s common for fans to arrive late to games. The attendance Friday was 49,074, the Times notes, quoting the Baseball Reference website. Pride Nights have drawn both larger and smaller crowds, with the lowest being about 20,000 in 2021, when the COVID-19 pandemic was still raging strongly, while crowds in some other years exceeded 50,000. The event has been held since 2013.

Those denouncing the Sisters’ presence at Pride Night have called the group “hateful” and anti-Catholic. “I couldn’t stand by and watch my faith and the cross desecrated,” one of the protesters, Don Robert Elante, told the Los Angeles Times.“I felt like I had to be here.” Demonstrators carried signs with slogans such as “L.A. Dodgers Promote Hate” and “Dodgers Sold Their Soul.”

The protest, organized in part by a group called Catholics for Catholics, was billed as nonpolitical, but there were a fair amount of participants wearing caps bearing Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, according to the Times.

Los Angeles Catholic Archbishop José H. Gomez had critiqued the Sisters during Friday’s afternoon Mass, the Times reports. “Religious freedom and respect for the beliefs of others are hallmarks of the nation,” he said. “When God is insulted, when the beliefs of many of our neighbors are ridiculed, it diminishes all of us.”

However, the Sisters say they aren’t insulting anyone except those who would shame others. “We are an Order of 21st Century Nuns dedicated to the promulgation of universal joy and the expiation of stigmatic guilt,” reads the website for the L.A. chapter of the Sisters. “Our ministry is one of public manifestation and habitual perpetration. More simply put: we make people happy, stamp out guilt brought on by a judgmental society and help various organizations and charities, etc.”

Leading up to the game, the L.A. chapter's Sister Unity posted about getting ready for the event and then a video from "the bowls of Dodgers Stadium" as they prepared to go on the pitch.

About 2,000 protesters gathered and briefly shut down the main entrance to Dodger Stadium before the game with the San Francisco Giants, the Times reports. But there were some counterprotesters too. Jody Bender displayed a sign saying “Love Each Other & Beat the Giants.” She told the paper she has friends and family in the LGBTQ+ community.

“There’s people in my life that I love so much, and I feel that it’s important to be an advocate and an ally,” she said. “We’re all a community and we all need to be rooting for one team and one common goal — which is beating the opponent.”

Friends Steven Bryan and Michael King, both gay men, were attending the game to celebrate King’s birthday. “We’re Dodger fans and we’re gay, and we love coming to Pride Night,” Bryan told the Times. “Especially this year with the controversy with the Sisters, it’s important to show support.”

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