News (USA)

Nazi “Blood Tribe” protests Ohio drag brunch

A bald white man in a red shirt stands near a park pavilion with a black Swastika flag flying behind him.
Chris Pohlhaus Photo: Screenshot

A group of approximately 20 Nazis protested a drag brunch in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, April 29.

The Nazi group, Blood Tribe, carried black flags bearing white swastikas and a banner that said “There will be blood” outside of the Land Grant Brewing Company, a restaurant that hosted a drag brunch fundraiser. The Nazis wore black head coverings, gloves, and jeans, along with red shades and t-shirts bearing a logo that resembled a rune (letters of an ancient Germanic alphabet).

The group chanted the words “Blood,” “Under the Aryan Sun,” “No transgenders on our streets,” while throwing Nazi salutes. The leader of the group, who didn’t wear a face covering, has been identified as Christopher Pohlhaus. Pohlhaus, the group’s founder, is a Marine Corps vet who led a similar protest against a drag queen story hour in Akron in mid-March.

The brunch was raising funds for the Kaleidoscope Youth Center (KYC), a drop-in community center for queer youth that offers health, educational, and job training programs. Police reportedly kept the Nazis from disrupting the brunch event.

In a written statement to WBNS, Mayor Andrew Ginther (D) said the “vile and offensive out-of-state hate group… do not have the right to threaten, intimidate or harm others” even though “their ‘speech’ is protected by the Constitution.”

RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10 contestant Nina West posted video of the Nazi rally to her Instagram account.

“Right outside the event, Nazis stood – masked and bodies entirely covered, shouting horrific remarks, doing the Nazi salute, and using any type of intimidation they could muster,” she wrote. “They held a banner that said ‘There Will Be Blood.'”

Ginther thanked the Columbus Division of Police for maintaining peace at the protest. He also thanked the drag brunch performers “for their courage and commitment to love and acceptance over divisiveness and hate.”

Responding to the incident, Shannon Hardin, Columbus City Council President, wrote, “LGBTQ+ kids & families shouldn’t have to deal with obscene hate from literal nazis.”

Hardin said that, while the council has an existing budget to help support the KYC, he would be personally donating additional money “to support the great work they do & show that our community stands with KYC and the community they serve.”

Nazis have become a regular fixture at anti-drag and anti-trans protests. In September 2022, neo-Nazis joined Proud Boys in Pflugerville, Texas to protest an all-ages drag brunch. In October 2022, organizers of an Orlando, Florida Drag Queen Story Hour canceled their event after it was threatened by neo-Nazi hate groups.

Drag events were targeted with threats and violence at least 124 times in 2022, according to a report from GLAAD. Such protests have increased as Republicans politicians accuse drag performers of “grooming” and “sexualizing children” for rape.

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