The sunglass brand Pit Vipers has clapped back after members of the far-right, anti-LGBTQ, neo-fascist Proud Boys group protested a drag brunch wearing their products.
“Reminder: if you spread hate while wearing Pit Vipers, we will use your money to combat your efforts,” the company wrote on Twitter, adding the hashtag #pitvipergivesaf**ck.
The tweet was accompanied by photos of the Proud Boys wearing the sunglasses, along with a screenshot of a $200 donation Pit Vipers made to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization fighting white supremacy.
Many on Twitter were pleased with the company for speaking out and voiced that they would now purchase their own pair or were already proud owners. Followers were happy that the brand wasn’t allowing the Proud Boys to let it stand for hate.
— Pit Viper (@PitViperShades) October 31, 2022
The protest took place in Sanford, North Carolina against a Halloween drag fundraiser for a local LGBTQ resource center. The event had been targeted by Chaya Raichik’s anti-LGBTQ Twitter account, Libs of TikTok. Raichik uses her platform to call on her 1.4 million followers to terrorize events, hospitals, and teachers.
The drag event’s organizer, Lindsey Knapp – an Army veteran and attorney who is an advocate for sexual violence victims – told WRAL News that after Raichik posted about the show and falsely claimed a Satanist would be performing, she began to receive death threats.
“The most vocal groups claim that we are pedophiles and that they are going to show up… and shoot us,” she said.
Sixteen Proud Boys showed up in bulletproof vests with bandanas and sunglasses hiding their faces. They reportedly shouted “groomers” at those walking into the event.
They were soon joined by additional protesters holding signs with Bible verses and claiming “state-sponsored pedophilia,” according to local publication The Rant.
One person wore a hat that stated, “Shoot Your Local Pedophile.”
Knapp hopes the community will continue to stand up for LGBTQ people and will not become intimated by hate.
“This is about showing the LGBTQ community that they are loved and supported, and that their freedom of expression is supported. I’m the parent of a trans youth, and I want him to know that he can be himself. I wholeheartedly believe that children should be protected from sexual assault – I own an organization called Combat Sexual Violence and I’m an attorney, and I literally represent survivors every day.”