Libs of TikTok followers forced a drag fundraiser for Palestinean children to get cancelled.

It is the third known time in the past few years where a drag show has been threatened with violence in Arizona.

Libs of TikTok followers forced a drag fundraiser for Palestinean children to get cancelled.
Credit: Montecruz Foto

A fundraiser put on by local drag performers to help raise money for Palestinian children was forced to cancel last-minute after receiving threats from followers of the far-right social media account, Libs of TikTok. 

On Sat., March 16, the performers were slated to do a show at the bilingual bookstore Palabras, with the aim of raising awareness on the war inside the Gaza Strip and the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Money earned at the event was set to be donated to the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund. 

But one day before the event, Libs of TikTok, an online social media account created and managed by anti-LGBTQ+ influencer Chaya Raichik, posted about the event on the social media platform, X. 

The post mislead readers by using a photo of a drag performer at an adults-only event, and said: “A Bookstore in Arizona is holding a ‘Drag Show for Palestine’ with ‘Daddy Satan.’ They state kids are allowed to attend and there may be ‘adult language.’ Drag for Palestine? Adult language for kids? Make it make sense.”

A screenshot from the post made by Libs of TikTok. The account has been linked to multiple events that had to be cancelled because of bomb threats and others harassed. (Credit: X)

(The promoter’s advertising for the event said the show was considered all-ages, but gave warning that “parents can bring their kids on their own discretion; there may be unsettling topics such as violence/genocide/and adult language.)

After the Libs of TikTok’s post, drag performer Noelle Cañez, who performs as Daddy Satan and helped organize the show, started getting direct messages threatening the event’s performers and the staff at the Palabras bookstore. 

The owner of Palabras couldn’t be reached for comment, but Cañez spoke with LOOKOUT and said that the event had to be cancelled to take people’s safety into consideration. 

“I feel very thankful and sorry to Palabras and everyone who received hate and bullying as a result,” Cañez told LOOKOUT. “They all put a lot into this and everyone does such great work in the community.”

This is the third known time that a drag show in Arizona has been threatened by far-right conservatives. The first was in February last year at Brick Road Coffee in Tempe, when a bomb threat shut down a story-reading hour. Months later, armed militia members stood outside another fundraiser drag event in Cottonwood after locals couldn’t get city council to shut it down.

The Libs of TikTok account has been linked to multiple LGBTQ+ people and businesses being harassed, including at least one school being forced to go into lockdown due to bomb threats. (Raichik has said drag queens, not bomb threats, are more dangerous to kids, and said that her posts aren’t feeding into violence.)

Cañez took to her own social media account after cancelling the event to say she was planning on putting it on later in a bigger space, and looking into more security. 

Since then, multiple national conservative and Israeli news outlets have picked up the story, including Breitbart, which made a point to highlight conservative comments from people alleging that the performers would be dead if they did the show in Gaza. 

But LGBTQ+ support for Palestinians has become more common, especially as queer Palestinians have led the cause for liberation. 

Since Oct. 7 last year, LGBTQ+ advocates and groups have become increasingly public with their support of Palestine. The group ACT UP, known historically for their activism around the HIV and AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 1990s, rebranded their famous pink triangle during protests as a watermelon. (The Palestinian flag was banned after Israel won the Six-Day War in 1967, and watermelons—which have the same red, white, black, and green colors as the flag—have been used since as a stand-in protest image.)

In December last year, more than 500 LGBTQ+-aligned groups worldwide signed an open letter by the anonymous group Queers for Palestine calling for an end to the war and Israeli occupation. 

Still, comments on the Libs of TikTok post, as well as made to Cañez, likened the events and its promoters as “chickens for KFC,”  and said they should try performing in a different country to see how they’ll be received (alluding they would not be welcome). 

“I don’t need to know what it’s like to perform in Gaza,” Cañez told LOOKOUT. “America may say that this was the land of the free, but if you're anything outside of the box, then you're a target. And we see that all of the time here in America.”

Cañez pointed out lawmakers across the U.S.—including Arizona—have fueled violent rhetoric and misinformation about LGBTQ people, and have introduced more anti-LGBTQ+ bills than years before: “And they're not just getting proposed, but they're getting passed, as well,” Cañez said. 

The reality of being targeted for who you are, said Cañez, is how queer people relate to what’s happening to Palestinians. 

“We're able to identify with that,” she said. “Of course, it's not the same exact thing by any measure, but we just know what it is and doesn't doesn't take more than that to put ourselves in other people's shoes and realize, hey, being ethnically cleansed from your land is obviously not right. And I wish that wasn't so hard to grasp.”


An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the year when Brick Road Coffee received their bomb threat. It was 2023, not 2022.

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