Community supports drag show after neo-Nazi group protests

December 22, 2021 GMT

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire community is supporting a children’s drag show after it was protested by a recognized neo-Nazi group last weekend.

“Honey Punch and Pals” was set to perform at the Seacoast Repertory Theatre, on Saturday, Dec. 18, when a complaint was filed with the Portsmouth Police Department stating that members of Nationalist Social Club or NSC-131 had shown up outside the theater with offensive signs and chants, The Portsmouth Herald reported on Wednesday.

Unbeknownst to the group protesting the show, the theater’s artistic directors, Ben Hart and Brandon James, said that the city’s snow parking ban canceled Saturday’s production.

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James said that there were about 20 people outside of the theater, and alleged that the group was chanting homophobic and antisemitic slurs at both him and Hart.

Portsmouth Lt. Chris Cummings said that the group was wearing hats and face masks labeled with 131 in white font.

Hart and James both said that the group told them they intended to protest the next scheduled production on Saturday, Jan. 8. Portsmouth Police Chief Mark Newport said police are partnering with the theater to devise a police coverage plan for that performance.

Since the Dec. 18 protest, the local community has shown signs of support, posting notes and signs outside the theater and even donating $20,000.