Boise Pride Backs Down, Cancels Controversial ‘Drag Kids’ Performance As More Sponsors Pull Out

At least five sponsors have dropped out of Boise Pride Festival due to concerns over performance involving minors
Pornpak Khunatorn via Getty Images

The Boise Pride Festival has canceled its controversial “Drag Kids” performance, and at least five sponsors have withdrawn from the event, while other sponsors have publicly condemned the performance.

The festival organizers released a statement on Thursday announcing the “difficult decision” to “postpone” the performance involving minors “due to increased safety concerns.”

“While the vast majority of our sponsors and supporters have voiced their support for the Boise Pride Festival and the Drag Kids program, we have made the very difficult decision to postpone this performance due to increased safety concerns. The health and well-being of the kids, their parents, and the attendees of the Festival are our priority,” read a statement from the official Boise Pride Twitter account.

The Daily Wire previously reported that Zions Bank publicly withdrew its participation from the event on Wednesday, citing concerns over the drag performance involving children as young as 11. Since then, five additional sponsors have dropped out for the same reason, including Idaho Power, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW), agribusiness company Simplot, Idaho Central Credit Union (ICCU), and CapEd Credit Union. Based on the sponsors’ levels and the pricing brochure, Zions Bank committed to an $18,000 sponsorship, Simplot pledged $6,000, Idaho Power committed $3,000, and CapEd Credit Union and ICCU both pledged $1,500. DHW had more than one Orange Level sponsorship and committed at least $18,000.

On Friday morning, the J.R. Simplot Company issued a statement opposing the “Drag Kids” event.

“The J.R. Simplot Company is aware of some concerns from community members and Simplot customers about our support of the Boise Pride Festival and subsequent programming associated with that event,” read the statement from Simplot. “We do not condone any activity or event that may be perceived to exploit or take advantage of children or any other segment of the population.” It did, however, express support for their “LGBTQi+ employees.”

Shortly after, Christopher Rufo shared an update with his followers after learning of the withdrawal of two Idaho-based credit unions. CapEd Credit Union shared a statement on its social media accounts: “When we committed to our sponsorship of this year’s Boise Pride Festival, we were unaware of the events and activities involving children/minors. After careful consideration, we have made the decision to withdraw our sponsorship of this year’s Boise Pride Festival and have communicated this to the event organizers.”

In a Facebook post, ICCU wrote, “We are disappointed in the events and conversations centered around this year’s event. We appreciate the programming change made by Boise Pride, but have made the decision to withdraw our involvement from the event.”

On Thursday, Rufo shared a statement from DHW addressed to Boise Pride organizers. “DHW’s sponsorship of Boise Pride 2022 has led to some confusion about whether DHW endorses specific event activities involving minors during this event,” said Director Dave Jeppesen. “To avoid any confusion regarding DHW’s support of such activities, DHW is withdrawing both of its Orange Level sponsorships and Project Filter will no longer be supporting a booth at the event this weekend.”

Idaho News 6 was able to reach Idaho Power for comment on Thursday, confirming it was backing out of its sponsorship over concerns about the “Drag Kids” event. “Due to programming changes that occurred after our sponsorship and concerns for the safety of our employees and volunteers, we have withdrawn our participation in the Boise Pride event,” said Idaho Power Communications Specialist Brad Bowlin. “We will continue to support our diverse communities.”

Rufo, who first drew attention to the “Drag Kids” performance on Tuesday, shared the Boise Pride Festival update with his Twitter followers, calling the concern for safety “baseless.”

The festival did not provide any evidence for alleged ‘safety concerns,’” said Rufo in a follow-up tweet. “This is a common technique when left-wing organizations get caught promoting something awful: they scream ‘harassment’ rather than take responsibility for their actions. Such claims are often baseless.”

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