The "intergenerational dance party" was to culminate MOSH's "Summer of Pride" event, but attracted religious protestors as well as some members of the conservative Proud Boys organization, who were reportedly unexpected by the Memphis Police Department.
The protest appeared to be relatively small, with just a handful of Proud Boys standing outside of the museum and an evangelist shouting into a bullhorn. However, MOSH decided to cancel the drag show for "safety" reasons.
Late Friday, MOSH sent Action News 5 a statement:
“The safety of our guests and staff members is our primary concern. Out of an abundance of caution and to ensure the safety of all present, the Museum of Science & History made the decision to cancel all programming Friday evening due to the presence of armed protesters. Closing early involved the cancellation of the two events scheduled for the evening, a laser show in our Planetarium and the Memphis Proud drag show and dance party."
Despite the cancellation actually being done by the museum itself, rumors circulated that the police, and/or the mayor of Memphis ordered the event to be shut down, causing outrage for the drag queens and left-wing activists.
One angry drag queen confronted police, asking why they supposedly shut down the event.
An event organizer that goes by Barbie Wyre reportedly asked MPD, “Why are you telling people to leave when no one asked you to tell them to leave?”
The MPD lieutenant in charge of the scene replied “We’re not telling people to leave. We’re telling people to exit the parking lot. It was not our decision to shut the museum down.”
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland's residence was the target of a counter-protest by activists who falsely assumed that he had the event shut down. According to Memphis Times reporter Micaela Watts, a small group gathered outside his East Memphis home and chanted "Memphis is a drag!"
More misinformation circulated on Twitter, with posts claiming that police were the ones who shut down the drag show going viral.
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