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Gay NYC Council Member Responds to Anti-LGBTQ+ Vandalism Against Him

Erik Bottcher
Erik Bottcher and graffiti drawn in front of his building

The gay City Council member had "groomer" and "pedophile" written in chalk outside his apartment building, where two people were arrested for trespassing. 

Less than a month after the founder of Gays Against Groomers, Jamiee Michell, appeared on Tucker Carlson's program to an estimated 3.2 million nightly viewers, a group of anti-drag queen protesters entered the office of gay New York City Council member Erik Bottcher Monday about 3 p.m., according to the New York Police Department Deputy Commissioner's press office.

"Once inside, the individuals wrote graffiti on the walls of an office within the building," the NYPD told The Advocate. "Two female individuals, without permission to do so, entered the residence and were placed under arrest." The two were charged with criminal trespassing.

Two hours later, people saying they were with the group Gays Against Groomers surrounded Bottcher's Chelsea apartment building, the council member said.

Bottcher told The Advocate Monday night that the vandalism at his office and the situation with the protesters storming his building stemmed from a drag queen story hour at a local library over the weekend.

"I attended a drag queen story hour in Chelsea and saw the protest activity outside with signs with vile, hateful anti-LGBTQ language. It got a lot of attention because people were really shocked to see this in Chelsea of all places. I made a statement where I called them the faces of hate, and apparently they didn't like that. They got my number and have been calling my personal phone," Bottcher said.

He said some came to his office Monday afternoon, pounded on the office's door, and then drew graffiti on the walls in front of it.

"Two of them told me through the door, while they were banging on our office door, that they were a part of Gays Against Groomers," Bottcher said. " I believe this group in particular is operating out of NYC."

He'd gone to synagogue Monday night, he said. When he walked out, he saw he had a ton of missed calls, and then he learned about the vandalism.

"They entered my building and gained entry, and my super called the police, and two of them were arrested for trespassing. They chalked up the sidewalk in front of the building, saying I was a child predator and groomer," Bottcher said.

The management for Bottcher's building declined to comment on Monday night's incident.

In a previous interview with The Advocate, Bottcher said that following the Club Q shooting that left five people dead in Colorado, the rising anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric across the country, and the deaths of queer men around New York City, progress for LGBTQ+ people can easily slide backward.

"That's why we can't stop fighting. We have to remain aggressive and vigilant. We cannot rest for a moment," he said.

On Monday, the council member said there had been no physical threat to him.

"I'm feeling OK. I'm not afraid, and I don't feel unsafe. I feel even more resolved to fight back against these people," Bottcher said following the arrests at his apartment building.

He added, "If their point was to silence us, then I think this is going to backfire badly."

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