It was advertised as a “fun-filled afternoon” in the Bronx library with “a local star / author who encourages you to embrace your own uniqueness.”
Instead, a free event scheduled at the Morrisania Library featuring drag artist Desmond Napoles was canceled after the teenage celebrity received hateful and violent threats – a trend that led to the cancellation of many other LGBTQ family events across the country.
Known as Desmond is Amazing, 15-year-old Desmond is an LGBTQ + youth advocate, published author, and influential with nearly 200,000 followers on social media. The 15-year-old also owns the Be Amazing NYC clothing line.
Desmond has been called “gross” and a string of slander by someone using a recently created Instagram account who also threatened to use violence against Desmond and his family.
“You must be locked in a doghouse and thrown into the ocean,” reads one of 10 private messages sent to a teenager that the Daily News saw.
The nasty att*cks on Desmond – a high school sophomore who likes to volunteer at the New York Public Library “because it’s really fun and gives me something to do in the summer” – came after the Morrisania Library announced that Desmond would introduce two teenagers. focused reading sessions from their book Be Amazing: A History of Pride.
The events were originally scheduled for September 17 and 24. However, late last week, both sessions had to be canceled amid threats that were made to NYPL and NYPD officials.
“I go to that library, go with all the dog sh*t and pour it on your parents and rub it in their eyes,” wrote a hateful Instagram user.
Desmond – who is no stranger to threats because he has been acting as a drag artist for the past seven years – showed the news to their mother, Wendy Napoles, who contacted the library.
Napoles, 45, decided that everything would be fine and that the person was “just another cyberbullying” – something the family had encountered before. “But he called the library on Saturday to find out if Desmond would still be there,” she told The News.
The person, a man with a phone number linked to a company in Louisiana, made an angry tirade saying that such events should not be allowed in the library, calling Desmond “a little k —- t”. The library decided to cancel for the safety of everyone involved.
Amy Geduldig, a spokesman for the NYPL, confirmed in The News that “the TV presenter was experiencing online harassment and there were signs that events would be disrupted by the harassment,” prompting the department to cancel the programs “out of an abundance of precaution.”
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Desmond was devastated and took the news as a “heartbeat”, but the scrapping of the event is not an isolated incident.
According to local authorities, in the past few months, events involving drug contractors in several US states, including Illinois, California, Texas, Idaho and North Carolina, had to be canceled due to “increased threats of violence.”
Earlier this week, the Chicago library was forced to cancel drag queen bingo “because of the seriousness of the threats against the library,” while Cool Beans Bar and Grill in Denton, Texas, pulled the plug from all age groups. Disney’s drag brunch after conservative show host Blaze TV summoned her nearly 250,000 followers to help “shut it down.”
A bakery owner in a Chicago suburb was forced to cancel a drug night brunch in July after the building “suffered significant damage” from anti-LGBTQ vandalism. Earlier this month, a drag artist in a Palm Springs bar faced an “escalation of threats” after right-wing stores picked up a video she shared on TikTok featuring a young girl joining her on stage and dancing to the classic disco hit Donna Summer “Last Dance.”
In early June, a group of five Proud Boys raided a library in San Lorenzo, California to protest Drag Queen Story Hour. A few weeks later, another protest took place in Woodland, near Sacramento, when police had to use pepper spray to keep the situation under control.
Such appeals and threats of violence are an alarm for Napole.
“These people feel more courageous. You see them bragging about their victory when they closed these events, ”she said. Combining “all anti-LGBTQ rhetoric” with the 1950s, “where people now believe gays are p*dophiles,” she added, “This is wrong.”
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