Employees of Google showed up to a drag show that was almost canceled by the company. Following the distribution of a petition by a group of Christian employees claiming that the Pride event was in violation of company policy and was in violation of their religion, Google had ended its affiliation with it. During the performance, some employees booed their employer.
Google made an effort to distance itself from a planned San Francisco drag show with longtime performer “Peaches Christ,” but employees still showed up. For giving in to the pressure of an internal religion-led protest, some of them booed their employer.
Dozens of Google employees attended, some of whom booed their employer, and the drag show that was originally intended to mark Pride month’s conclusion became a rallying cry for corporate alliance.
“We usually usually talk about this sort of thing,” began longtime San Francisco-based drag performer Joshua Grannell”
“Folks who work at Google put this together and we did this last year and it was fabulous and it was fun and we had a good time,” he continued. “And this year, a group of Christians at Google signed a petition to take this event from their employees because they thought it was upsetting, offensive, controversial.”
“Boo!” yelled dozens of attendees, including several Google employees wearing company “Pride” T-shirts.
Grannell, whose drag performer name is “Peaches Christ,” was scheduled to perform at a Pride month-closing drag show sponsored and promoted by Google. But the organization cut short its association and on second thought empowered employees from the drag show to another occasion at its workplaces.
The move came after several hundred employees complained to human resources and signed a petition opposing the drag performance, claiming that it was offensive to their Christian faith.
The organization said the event hadn’t gone through the appropriate endorsement process but didn’t comment on the appeal.
Participants and Grannell said they saw the change as a clasping to strain of the Christian representatives’ request and objections.
Grannell, referring to the petition, said on stage, “I was called all sorts of things.” Boo!” more participants hollered. ” We’re here for you! A worker in the crowd yelled.
Grannell and the employees agree that the company’s backtracking was disappointing, noting that the company successfully held a similar event last year.
Attendees described Grannell as an “icon” and “an institution” in the gay community.
“I’ve been a performer for nearly 30 years in San Francisco, and I employ hundreds of people, performers and artists across the city,” Grannell said in an interview with CNBC.
“This thing that happened with Google, unfortunately for this event, is actually indicative of a huge groundswell of hatred across the country using drag queens and trans people a scapegoats,” he told the crowd Tuesday, which garnered more boos and yelling.
Prior to the 2024 presidential election, politicians and religious and conservative organizations targeted drag shows. That includes a slew of legislative proposals to restrict drag events, many of which are supported by GOP governors.
Corporations have also faced backlash for Pride-related marketing. Bud Light came into the crosshairs after it struck a partnership with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney, while North Face received backlash for an ad featuring drag queen Pattie Gonia. Target and Kohl’s have been criticized for Pride-themed clothing.
Following Grannell’s opening monologue, he repeated the reason for the event was to celebrate Pride and then proceeded to introduce the performers on a small stage toward the back of the venue, which held rainbow-colored lights.
The first performer sang in a sequenced Marilyn Monroe-style red dress to Diana Ross’ upbeat “The Boss.” The next performer dawned a large, multi-color coat who danced to Gloria Gaynor’s “I will survive.”
A few others followed, with their own unique acts. Some were comedic musical skits, others featured dancing and lip syncing.
“For me, it’s real bummer to see this happen but I also think it needs to be called out,” Grannell said after the show, referring to Google’s decision to distance itself from the planned event. “If you’re going to put a rainbow flag on stuff and march in the queer Pride parade but not support your queer employees and not take a stand against anti-queer sentiment, even in the name of religion, then you’re not a real ally.”
Attendees and employees equally danced, cheered and took turns walking dollar bills to the stage throughout the nearly two-hour event.
Meanwhile, Google has not responded to a request for a comment.