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ABC cancels drag queen story hour event for kids after massive backlash

Australia’s taxpayer-funded broadcaster the ABC has cancelled a drag queen story hour event for children for Mardi Gras 2024 at a Sydney library after a massive backlash.

Mon Schafter, “content lead” for ABCQueer – an official Instagram account aimed at young homosexual Australians – and a Mardi Gras presenter for the network, last week made a social media call out for children aged three to five to take part in a filmed event at Rockdale Library on February 22.

But on Tuesday the ABC announced it had cancelled the event, blaming a “hateful and offensive” response.

“The event will no longer be held at the Rockdale Library and the ABC is considering how we can safely host it,” the ABC said in a statement.

“The ABC is the official host broadcaster for the 2024 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. As part of this partnership the ABC showcases the diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community, aligning with its Charter obligation to reflect all Australians.”

The drag queen story time event came under fire from right-wing activists who called on Australians who were opposed to the event to contact the venue and council, while Christian groups and gender critical feminists also raised questions, and members of local Facebook groups vented their anger online.

“What’s the interest in children? Grooming? Absolutely disgusting and disturbing to involve children,” wrote one south Sydney resident.

“Consider emailing the council or preparing to protest against it,” another wrote.

“More woke stupidity. Boycott the event and the ABC,” said a third.

Monique Schafter

Bella d’Abrera from the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) told The Daily Telegraph: “The ABC’s insidious desire to push radical gender theory on Australian children, this time those under 5 years of age, is deeply concerning and highly inappropriate.”

Liberal Senator Alex Antic said: “Australians need to understand that the ABC is heavily geared towards the promotion of the minority views of left-wing political persuasions to the utter exclusion of everyday Australians”.

Rainbow Families, who run the online noticeboard where Ms Schafter posted the request, are running a similar drag queen story time event for children at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium on February 17.

Last week the State Library of Victoria went ahead with a drag queen story time show despite community opposition and a petition with more than 13,000 signatures requesting it be cancelled.

In January a drag queen story hour in Perth was the scene of a confrontation between protesters and a library-goer.

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