Warsaw drag show canceled after threats

Above is a screengrab of a promotion for the upcoming drag show in Warsaw.
By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

WARSAW — Two days after it came to light, plans for a private drag show in Warsaw have been canceled following threats of violence.

The show, which was not being promoted in public, was canceled Monday by the coffee shop that planned to host it.

Travis McConnell, owner of Court House Coffee on the Square, said in a statement issued Monday night that the decision was “due to safety concerns for all involved, including several threats of violence made against our staff and owners.”

He did not elaborate. You can find his full statement at the bottom of this story.

The decision came one day after organizers had announced it would not be open to anyone under the age of 18.

He said the party was scheduled weeks ago and was one of four private events reserved recently after the business opened under a new name in January.

Criticism quickly snowballed after a private promotion was shared outside of the intended circle of people.

Earlier in the day, McConnell had said much of the reaction to the show had been positive and that criticism was coming from a small contingent of people.

Backlash about the event arose over the weekend from people mainly concerned that the show would allow minors if parents consented.

Pam Galloway reached out to McConnell over the weekend and expressed her concerns.

Galloway talked with News Now Warsaw prior to McConnel’s mention of any threats.

“At the time that I spoke with Travis, they were allowing children … and that’s my biggest concern. I don’t believe in activities that sexualize children,” Galloway said.

Asked if the elimination of children from the event resolve concerns, she added, “Knowing what I know about Warsaw and about drag shows, I just don’t see the two going together.”

Drag shows have become a national hot-button issue for conservatives who see the movement moving into the mainstream in some ways. Galloway pointed to examples of drag shows being hosted in libraries in other communities in which children have been encouraged to attend. 

“And not only attend but to tip the drag queens –  that troubles me,” she said.

Below is the statement issued by McConnell:

“We at Courthouse Coffee want to help clarify the last few days. A private event that was never meant to be public is now canceled by its organizers. We have refunded their money. This is due to safety concerns for all involved, including several threats of violence made against our staff and owners. We want to thank all of you who have supported us in the shop, by message, and on social media through this and continue to support us. We want to thank law enforcement for professionally and courteously handling the reporting of these threats from a small but extremely vocal minority of extremists in our community. Our manager and other staff fielded some positive but many hateful calls all day today. Our owners had their faces put on extremist blog pages and other channels with calls to burn their property and do other harm.
We will not be scheduling any new events for the next month to reevaluate how to best serve the community, all in the community. We continue to be an inclusive place for everyone and hope you will continue to support us in that mission.”