Another “Drag Queen Story Hour” program is making headlines, this time for a featured drag queen captured on video teaching children how to so-called “twerk,” a popular sexually suggestive dance move practiced by the likes of strippers and adult entertainers.
“All you need to do is you just need to stand with your feet sort of shoulder-width apart like so,” an adult male in full drag with the stage name “Mama G” instructed children at a United Kingdom library earlier this month, according to LifeSiteNews. “And then you crouch down in this sort of position, so you’re bump’s sticking out … then you just move your bum up and down like that. And that’s twerking.”
The Twitter account for Devon Library, which is a network over 50 libraries in the U.K., boasted about the performance online. “Mama G is back in Devon this week. Combining panto, drag and the traditional art of story-telling: Mama G will be sharing tales that celebrate being who you are & loving who you want,” a promotional tweet said. Mama G was booked at the Bideford and Barnstaple libraries.
Several Twitter users voiced their concerns over the performance. “Wholly inappropriate for children,” one person wrote, adding, “what on earth were you thinking.”
“Shameful, would like to see his DBS and proof of some kind of safeguarding procedure at the libraries. The name of the person who ok’d this would also be interesting,” another user wrote.
One reply to Devon Library said, “Heavens, this abomination is in UK now. Twerking for toddlers. Hiding in plain sight.”
“FFS this is so not appropriate for children,” another comment read. “It’s disgusting misogynistic, over-sexualised and wrong on so many levels.”
According to Devon Live, a spokesperson for the company that represents the drag queen, Petite Pantos, said in a statement that “Mama G is a pantomime dame character who has been all over the UK (and Canada) telling stories about being who you are and loving who you want — a really important message that I’m pleased Barnstaple and Bideford Libraries are supporting.”
The spokesperson apologized for the tweet publicizing the event. “The tweet was intended for parents of children who have enjoyed my storytime sessions, especially parents that may have been looking for activities to fill the inevitable rainy days of the summer holidays,” the statement continued. “I am, of course, sorry that it was worded in a way that caused concern to some people.”
“Mama G is very popular with all age groups and she is looking forward to meeting all the book loving families on her visits to Barnstaple and Bideford,” the spokesperson concluded.
Libraries Unlimited, which runs Devon’s libraries on behalf of Devon County Council, according to Devon Live, also defended the event: “Story times and bounce and rhyme sessions are some of our most popular events across the county, with thousands of children attending each year. We host a variety of themed storytimes and they are always a huge success,” the group said in a statement.
“As a charity, we are committed to ensuring our libraries are welcoming, safe and inclusive places for all. We celebrate the arts, equality and diversity and are proud that our libraries offer a space for communities to come together and enjoy the power of words, reading and storytelling,” the statement continued. “At Libraries Unlimited we take our safeguarding responsibilities very seriously and have a safeguarding policy that is followed by all staff across the organisation.”
“In this case, we can also confirm that the artist involved has a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check,” the organization added.