The leader of a neo-Nazi group was arrested alongside two others after storming a Drag Queen Story Hour, calling queer people “paedophiles”.
The Story Hour event took place at Loring Greenough House in Massachusetts on Saturday (23 July). About 20 men from the National Socialist Club (NSC-131) turned up to the event wearing black face coverings bearing the number 131 and holding a banner that read: “Pedo scum off our streets.”
The Anti-Defamation League identified the NSC-131 as a white supremacist group with an “underground network of white men who are willing to fight against their perceived enemies through localised direct actions” and the group “engages in schemes to troll or otherwise harass those who oppose them”.
True to the groups ethos, demonstrators hurled anti-LGBTQ+ insults at children leaving the building and the counter protestors who came to show support, amid heavy police presence, according to WGBH.
Richie Cadet, who was present at the event, described the scene to LGBTQNation: “It turned out they were calling people within the LGBTQ community paedophiles.” Cadet added, “They definitely were saying certain words that should never be said about anybody.”
A fight soon ensued between the purported founder of NSC-131 Chris Hood and counter protestor Seth Rosenau according to LGBTQ+ Nation . Another counter protestor was arrested for vandalising a car.
Police broke up the fight and both men were arrested for disturbing the peace. Hood was charged with fighting in public on Monday (25 July) and is set to stand for trial in September, but charges against Rosenau and the other counter protestor were dropped.
Neo-Nazi group member Hood was charged, but the counter protestors were released. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
The Loring Greenough House condemned Hood and his group for their “malicious” actions and slammed their anti-LGBTQ+ stance.
“Unfortunately, a group of masked neo-Nazis gathered just outside our fence to chant malicious and homophobic rhetoric,” they added, “The protest of a Drag Queen Story Hour event was a tool to gain attention. Any concern for the well-being of children was absent.”
Boston mayor Michelle Wu also chimed in, saying in a statement that Boston has been a target for anti-LGBTQ+ protests, and that the city will not be bullied by fascists and will stand against those who do not support equality for all.
“It’s no coincidence that these cowardly groups from outside our city continue to target Boston as we showcase how representative leadership, empowered communities, and bold policies can have immediate impact.
“We are prepared and will not be intimidated in our work to make Boston a city for everyone. We remain ready for citywide deployment of extra public safety resources with a zero-tolerance approach to any groups looking to intimidate or harass residents in our city.”
Suffolk district attorney Kevin Hayden denounced the “presence of white supremacists” in a statement and said “the presence of white supremacists at a Jamaica Plain book reading today, like their downtown Boston march earlier this month, is at once a disgrace and a warning.”
“Society everywhere is targeted by these groups, and society everywhere must reject them,” Hayden concluded.
LGBTQ+ reading events have been a source of contention in recent months as more continue to be targets for hate groups such as NSC-131.
This week, on Monday (25 July), a right-wing mob harassed drag queen Aida H Dee with “paedophile” chants at a kids’ story event in the UK.
Derision for these events continue to grow as queer people continue to strive for inclusivity and diversity.
Authorities are also making strides to protect LGBTQ+ people, as US attorney for Massachusetts Rachael Rollins announced that she is launching a new hotline that people can call to report white supremacist activities, according to The Independent.
She said: “I will be announcing a dedicated number for the community to call in the coming weeks. We need to expose these cowards.”