Public Domain

Drag Queens Boycotting NYC Gay Bar Over Racism

The bar manager at The Monster said a flier made it look like they were promoting "a black night," which was bad for business.

Drag queens are protesting a famous gay bar in New York City’s West Village over racism.

The Monster is known for its drag shows and go-go boys, but a flier promoting one such event did not meet the preferences of bar manager Italo Lopez, who texted about his dissatisfaction to DJ/Producer Mitch Ferrino.

Lopez said the flier for Honey Davenport show Manster (pictured below) made it seem like the club was promoting a “black night” which would be “not good for the business.” He also said the men pictured should be “beautiful,” to which Ferrino replied that they were.

Davenport reportedly tried reaching out to the bar’s owner, but received no reply and decided to take her grievance to the stage, where she informed the cheering crowd that she would not be performing that night because of the situation.

“I cannot be a part of this anymore,” she concluded, growing visibly emotional. “If you don’t want my people at the party, I won’t be here.”

She dropped the mic and walked offstage to applause.

Davenport also made the following statement to Out:

First, thank you to everyone who has reached out and spoken up in support. Taking this step away from a place that I had considered my home was terrifying, and it’s a huge comfort to know that my nightlife family has my back. I’m saddened by the stance that Italo (and in their refusal to respond, The Monster Bar) has taken but unfortunately, I’m not surprised by it. This happens everywhere. I had to speak up because I knew that not doing so would mean I was complicit in perpetuating these attitudes towards other artists. Other performers need to know that they don’t have to be mistreated. Our art has no home in a place where we are not respected. Not speaking up would be like saying, “You just have to take this.”

We have always been a community that fights hate. We must embrace and fight for our queer brothers and sisters of all races. Black people and people of color have had a long history of fighting for our community and we need our community to fight for us now.

Our fight is far from over. We have to keep it going. The Monster is going to wait this out and hope it blows over. For real change to happen, we need to keep fighting.

Other drag queens have rallied in support of Davenport, and against the establishment.

“Any space that is unwelcome and unappreciative to black folks, I refuse to do business and build community in,” drag queen Emi Grate wrote in an email to Lopez. “I had always considered the Monster a safe haven for queer people of color, and it is gravely disheartening to see your comments. A proper public apology is in order.”

Ferrino has also decided to no longer hold his event at The Monster, informing the bar’s owner, Charles Rice, and thanking him for “everything you’ve ever done for me” but that he would no longer partner with the venue until “the situation is rectified with Italo.”

Rice, according to text messages Ferrino supplied to Out, blamed him for showing the text messages from Lopez to Davenport and if he is forced to close down for good, he should “remember this moment in time.”

“The moment you blamed me instead of the man who did wrong,” Ferrino messaged back to Rice. “Yes. Remember it well.”

Ferrino had hosted LookQueen, a drag competition started by Bob the Drag Queen before appearing on RuPaul’s Drag Race, at The Monster for four years.

Journalist, editor, and artist.