Two ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’ protesters were arrested for trespassing inside Councilmember Erik Bottcher’s Manhattan apartment building Monday night and vandalizing his sidewalk, police confirmed.
Police charged 44-year-old Bronx resident Erica Sanchez and 27-year-old Anna Morgan of Queens with criminal mischief, hit them with desk appearance tickets and released them. Neither could be reached for comment right away.
“When someone comes into your home, it’s a feeling of being violated,” Bottcher told Gothamist, Tuesday morning. “It’s shocking to see such vulgar and vile bigotry right in the middle of Chelsea, New York City.”
The arrests at Bottcher’s home followed multiple days of demonstrations, with protesters espousing right wing homophobic conspiracy theories, first heckling visitors to the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library in Chelsea on Saturday, where the popular children’s reading series ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’ was scheduled.
A video Bottcher posted to Twitter showed around 20 demonstrators outside the library. One asked Bottcher if he was a “pedophile” while others held signs reading, “Stop grooming kids for sex.”
“Watching families trying to come in and out of the library and be exposed to that was just infuriating,” Bottcher said.
By Monday afternoon, the attacks were more personal towards Bottcher, who is gay. A group first entered into the building on West 30th Street where his district office is and vandalized the walls with the word “Bitcher.”
Then, later that evening at around 7 p.m., the demonstrators went to his Chelsea apartment building, police confirmed, though Bottcher said he was at an event at the time.
Some protesters made it inside the building and Bottcher’s super had to call the police, he said. Eventually the local precinct captain called to let him know the building was secured and he could return home.
“They had sprawled just vile insults all over the sidewalk,” Bottcher said, who posted photos of the words sprawled outside his apartment, calling him “a pedo child groomer” among other slurs.
The demonstrators have been picketing drag queen story events — which feature drag performers reading childrens’ books aloud to kids — at libraries across the city for several months, targeting events in Queens and on Staten Island previously.
The anti-Drag Queen Story Hour demonstrators feature some of the same figures who lead pro-Trump, anti-lockdown, anti-Black Lives Matter and anti-vaccine mandate demonstrations across the five boroughs over the past several years. Among them was Juliet Germanotta, who was at Bottcher’s office Monday, according to a video posted to social media.
Germanotta is a pro-Trump trans woman who was in the car that rammed through a Black Lives Matter protest in 2020. Scott LoBaido, who has reportedly led other Drag Queen Story Hour protests in the city, was a key force behind anti-lockdown protests on Staten Island, also in 2020.
Drag Queen Story Hours have become the latest flashpoint in the so-called culture war across the country, with more than 140 demonstrations across most states this year, according to a report from GLAAD, an LGBTQ media advocacy group.
The analysis warned of “increasingly violent rhetoric and incidents as the year progressed,” pointing to a Tulsa, Oklahoma donut shop that was hit with a molotov cocktail in October and Proud Boys armed with long guns at a demonstration in Columbus, Ohio earlier this month.