Council Speaker Adrienne Adams slammed fellow Councilwoman Vickie Paladino (R-Queens) on Thursday for attacks she made against a city-funded program where drag queens read stories to elementary school kids.
Earlier this week, Paladino tweeted that any schools in her Council district participating in the program — which she labeled “drag queen degeneracy” — would risk losing their funding.
“Adult drag performers have NO BUSINESS in our schools, and they will not be in my district. Period,” she wrote.
Her remarks prompted a swift and sizable backlash, which culminated Thursday in the Council Speaker’s rebuke.
“A New Yorker’s choice of dress, gender expression or identity must be not only protected legally, but also against vile, hateful attacks,” she said in a written statement. “Any form of hate, including transphobia, has no place in this city, and certainly not in this Council. The Council is looking into what further action may be warranted,”
In a subsequent press briefing, Adams went on to suggest that there might be further consequences, including stripping Paladino of her committee assignments.
“The Council is investigating right now Councilmember Paladino’s behavior and we’re investigating our options for taking swift action necessary to respond,” she said.
Asked explicitly if she thinks Paladino should lose her committee assignments, Adams replied: “The Council is considering all options.”
Adams’ remarks weren’t the only criticisms directed at Paladino. Days earlier, several elected officials took to social media to sound off on her as well.
“This is cruel, uninformed, and dangerous,” Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell (D-Manhattan) tweeted. “Reading a book with someone in makeup and a wig doesn’t hurt kids. Small-mindedness does.”
But despite the backlash, Paladino was not without her supporters.
“I stand with @VickieforNYC 100%,” tweeted Stefano Forte, a state senate candidate. “Children do not need to be around drag queens, period.”
The New York Young Republican Club tweeted that “children should be protected from sexualization in schools.”
But — on Twitter at least — Paladino’s detractors appeared to outnumber her supporters.
Councilman Chi Ossé (D-Brooklyn) also hit Paladino, a Republican, labeling her remarks “bigoted” in one of his tweets.
Paladino fired back, responding that “they REALLY want to expose your kids to drag queens for some reason.”
“Fortunately I answer only to the people of my district,” she wrote. “However I would like to invite Member Ossé to my district to meet with parents and teachers here. Perhaps we can all better understand each other.”
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