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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Drag queen criticises Sara Britcliffe after appearance at event axed

Sab Samuel, also known as Aida H Dee The Storytime Drag Queen, was set to visit Off the Shelf literary festival in Accrington this Saturday (March 11).

Aida H Dee was meant to be reading to children in Accrington from 1pm to 2pm but this has since been cancelled “due to negative social media and increased risk of public disturbance”.

Aida’s appearance in Bolton led to protests outside the Albert Halls and the police were called.

The protestors were not thought to be from Bolton.

Later Aida thanked people in Bolton for their support after the storytime session was said to ave been well received.

Read more: Drag Queen Aida H Dee speaks out against protestors

Drag Queen Story Hour in Bolton leads to protest

In a tweet, which has since been deleted, Sara Britcliffe, Conservative MP for Hyndburn, said: “It’s been drawn to my attention that the drag act known by [Sab Samuel] is due to be reading to young children in Hyndburn.

“I have nothing against the work of drag queens and I’m a fan of Drag Queen UK.

“But having read several posts shared by Seb [sic] this is a wholly inappropriate move and I have urged them to cancel it.”

The 28-year-old drag queen, from Cardiff, has since responded to the criticism and say the comments and remarks “don’t concern them” in any way.

The Bolton News: Sab Samuel as their drag queen persona Aida H Dee
Sab Samuel as their drag queen persona Aida H Dee (Image: Sab Samuel)

They said: “The vast majority of the comments seem to be against her.

“Something tells me that Sara has an ulterior motive behind what she is saying and I think it is that of transphobia and homophobia.

“What worries me though is that she has created an atmosphere in Accrington which now makes me feel unsafe, and I think it needs to be pulled into question the way she has gone about this.”

Miss Britcliffe also shared an article from a national newspaper, posted in 2022, which talks about social media tweets Sab allegedly posted.

The article claimed Sab reportedly “made a crude joke about an orgy”, and aimed abusive threat at ‘Terfs’ (an acronym for trans-exclusionary radical feminists).

Sab declined to comment on the specific tweets but instead invited MPs and other critics to come and see a performance for themselves.

They said: “Drag Queen Story Hour UK creates interactive storytelling experiences that are age appropriate for children and families of all ages, where the stories celebrate minorities that have historically been marginalised.

“These shows are regularly performed in literary settings by trained children’s entertainers, and sometimes by published authors too.

“Our storytelling experiences have a love for literature at its very core, and we work tirelessly to keep our standards high.

“If somebody wants to tell me that this is inappropriate for children, I would like to ask them about many events they have been to.

“This is an open letter to Sara and all of the other MPs – they have an open invite to attend a Drag Queen Story Hour to see exactly what it is all about.”

The Bolton News: Sab Samuel as their drag queen persona Aida H Dee Sab Samuel as their drag queen persona Aida H Dee (Image: Sab Samuel)

Sab has reportedly received “more than 100” wrongful accusations since Sara posted her tweet.

A spokesperson for Drag Queen Story Hour UK said “Drag Queen Story Hour UK would like to ask Sara Britcliffe if it is the job of an MP to incite hate, and if she understands the damage she has done to her own local LGBTQ+ people and LGBTQ+ youth.

“Since Sara posted her now deleted tweet, Aida H Dee has received over 100 wrongful accusations of being a paedophile, and some calling for her to be shot. This hate is on her, and Drag Queen Story Hour UK are seeking legal advice on how to proceed.”

A spokesperson for The Civic Arts Centre and Theatre in Oswaldtwistle said: ”The Civic Arts Centre and Theatre is organising a book and literary festival, due to take place on Saturday, March 11.

“This was originally due to take place in Accrington Town Centre but due to the forecasted inclement weather it has been moved to the Civic Arts Centre and Theatre in Oswaldtwistle.

“As part of the event, we had booked Drag Queen Story Hour UK performer Aida H Dee to read a story.

“Over the last couple of weeks, due to negative social media and increased risk of public disturbance, we have taken the very difficult decision to cancel Aida’s performance at the Off the Shelf event.

“We have not taken this lightly as we truly believe it would have been a joyous event for anyone who attended her story time.

“But following a social media post on Sunday evening from MP Sara Britcliffe, where a six month old article, which has been proven to contain lies and misrepresented the story time, had generated anger and threats to demonstrate or protest, it was felt that for the safety of Aida, the attendees at the festival and the Civic Arts Centre team, we had no choice but to cancel her appearance.”

Ms Britcliffe said she does not condone threats of any kind and rejects the notion she was inciting hatred or making wrongful accusations

She said: “After representations from concerned residents, I shared a post expressing my concern about the specific Drag Queen Storytime taking place in Hyndburn.

“I was made aware of previous statements AND actions by the specific act, which still remain unanswered. However, I am and always have been open to correction should I be misunderstood.

“With situations like this involving children, it is always best to err on the side of caution, and I was simply raising concerns in light of the information shared by constituents. 

“While my post did create passionate debate on both sides, there were no threatening comments and if there were, I would have removed them.

“In fact, I deleted the post as it was clear many people from outside Hyndburn were using its content to push their wider ‘culture war’ agenda, and had little interest in Hyndburn.

“I do not condone threats of any kind and reject the notion I was inciting hatred or making wrongful accusations.

“I fully support the LGBTQ community, and was simply raising concerns about a specific event.”

Aida is the first drag artist in Europe to read stories to children in a nursery, the first to read in a library in the UK, the first to publish multiple children’s stories.

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