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Restaurant caves & cancels New Year’s drag show after extremists targeted them

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A restaurant in Grapevine, Texas canceled its plans for a New Year’s Eve drag performance after a local right-wing activist encouraged others to complain about it.

The Piaf Kitchen + Wine + Bar had initially included two drag entertainers to sing and tell jokes during its adults-only December 31 party. The original line-up also included “a fire thrower, a magician, a palm reader, dinner, music, and a DJ,” The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. Tickets to the event ran from $75 to $150.

However, Julie McCarty, leader of the Grapevine-based True Texas Project — a group that has been designated as an extremist organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center — targeted the performance in a December 28, 2023 Facebook post, writing, “Grapevine might be a great family destination for Christmas, but I guess we need to shew [sic] those tourists away before [New Year’s Eve]. Who/What will be strolling our beautiful downtown, and how will they be dressed?”

“Chez Fabian and Piaf are owned by the same person,” McCarty added. “I sent a FB message to the owner to say this is not the atmosphere we want in Grapevine, and maybe their restaurant belongs in Roanoke. I’m also contacting the city council. Sure, it’s just a NYE party now. What will be next? Don’t assume it stops there.”

Her Facebook post included the email addresses of the members of Grapevine’s City Council. In the comments on her post, McCarty also added that she was “not happy” about the event, including a palm reader.

By Friday, December 29, the restaurant wrote in an Instagram post that it was “adjusting [its] entertainment choices” to “ensure a universally enjoyable and safe experience for everyone attending,” adding, “On the recent feedback and concerns… We understand that some individuals may have found aspects of the planned entertainment potentially offensive.”

“We appreciate the valuable feedback from our community and are dedicated to continuously improving and evolving to ensure that every individual feels welcome and valued at [our restaurant],” the post concluded. Numerous commenters expressed disappointment with the restaurant’s decision, stating that the venue had “caved” and “folded” to a small minority.

After the restaurant changed its entertainment line-up, McCarty wrote on Facebook, “Victory! Victory! Let’s repeat it! I just heard from a very reliable source that Piaf has canceled their drag show in Grapevine! Way to go citizens and city council! And thank you to Piaf’s for hearing our concern.”

McCarty also wrote that any claims of dangerous threats to the venue or its planned performers were part of a false narrative by “the Left,” and that she had received threats of physical harm. “There is no unity between light and darkness, and anyone who thinks the Left has any light in it is extremely naive,” she wrote. “We are in a war. There’s no sugar coating it.”

Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX) also criticized the restaurant’s decision on Facebook, writing last Saturday, “How stupid and egg shellish! This is a damn grown folks New Year’s Eve party! Does Mrs Doubtfire, Bosom Buddies, and Madea offend you likewise? This ain’t powder puff cheerleading or some other event for minors….just tell the easily offended to not come! And why is Palm Reading offensive?”

Mrs. Doubtfire, Bosom Buddies, and Madea all refer to films and TV shows that have featured drag performances.

McCarty has supported anti-LGBTQ+ book bans and has opposed trans-inclusive school policies, speaking out against both at local school board meetings, The Washington Blade reported. She and her husband have also expressed belief in the so-called “great replacement theory,” an antisemitic belief that immigrants want to “replace” white people in society with people of color, the aforementioned publication added.

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