Critics are calling for a boycott of entertainment bar restaurant chain Dave & Buster’s after reports emerged that the business is sponsoring an LGBT pride event that includes a “youth entertainers drag show” — where children dress in drag and dance for a crowd of adults.
Dave & Buster’s is a restaurant chain known for arcade games and entertainment — but drag shows for children are not one of the business’ typical events.
Libs of TikTok exposed the disturbing news in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter — sharing an image of the event schedule and highlighting that the youth entertainers’ drag event features children who “dress up in drag and perform” an explicit dance show while “adults clap along and encourage them.”
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) August 31, 2023
The event schedule has been confirmed via the N.E.W. Pride organization’s Instagram account, which shared the same image in a post advertising the events including the “youth entertainers drag show.”
While the Friday “Pride” events on the group’s schedule are expected to be restricted to ages “21+,” the image notes that the Saturday events do not have an age restriction — stating “All Welcome.”
The website for N.E.W. Pride — which was previously known as “Rainbow Over Wisconsin” — describes the group’s founding and purpose, noting: “Rainbow Over Wisconsin was founded in 1996 with the goal to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ Wisconsinites. Rainbow Over Wisconsin (ROW) produced many community events including Pride Alive, the ROW Gala, Pride Prom, and many others. Now, with a refreshed strategic direction that better serves Northeastern Wisconsin, ROW is becoming N.E.W. Pride.”
Social media posts from the 2022 N.E.W. Pride Alive event show small children engaging with drag queen performers, which suggests that the upcoming event sponsored by Dave & Buster’s will feature similar events.
While Dave & Buster’s has not publicly responded to the news as of Thursday evening, their X account has been slammed with comments from critics who are outraged over their sponsorship of a child drag show — with several calling for a “Bud Light” style boycott.
Chaya Raichik, owner of the Libs of TikTok account, commented: “You’re funding the grooming of children and are about to be Bud Lighted.”
POV: you’re funding the grooming of children and are about to be Bud Lighted https://t.co/nYtI1nwdKo
— Chaya Raichik (@ChayaRaichik10) August 31, 2023
Sasha Leigh, a member of the group “Gays Against Groomers,” commented: “You have always been an adult arcade with no minors past a certain time but now you are sponsoring minor dancing in drag for adults?!??”
@DaveandBusters you have always been an adult arcade with no minors past a certain time but now you are sponsoring minor dancing in drag for adults?!??
— Sasha Leigh (@BasedBabeUSA) August 31, 2023
The Wisconsin chapter of Gays Against Groomers has since contacted Dave & Buster’s marketing department about the event. In the phone call — audio of which was shared on X — the marketing executive claimed that they had only sponsored a “fair” and had not given the group permission to use their logo. However, when pressed about whether they meant they were sponsoring the pride event or a different fair that took place in the same area that had ended weeks earlier, the executive hung up the phone.
LISTEN: Our Wisconsin chapter leader CALLED @DaveandBusters to ask them why they are sponsoring a child drag show in Green Bay, WI. They ended up hanging up on him!
— Gays Against Groomers (@againstgrmrs) August 31, 2023