QUEENS, N.Y. (PIX11) — Queens councilmember Vickie Paladino is standing by controversial remarks she made criticizing the Drag Queen Story Hour nonprofit. The group organizes sessions where drag queens read books to children to promote diversity — but Paladino called the effort child grooming and sexualization.
Drag queen Flame, who has been working around the city for four years, said the books she reads “teach about love and acceptance.”
The story hours became the source of a heated political debate this week. The New York Post reported $200,000 in city and state funds have gone to fund the program in libraries and schools across the city.
In Paladino’s opinion, the queens “don’t belong” there.
“It’s adult entertainment,” she added.
On social media, the councilmember referred to the story hours as “child grooming and sexualization.”
But another councilmember, Erik Bottcher, told PIX11 News that the comparison is off base.
“A groomer is a child molester,” he said. “To compare my community to child molesters is totally unacceptable.”
Paladino apologized and said she did not mean to implicate her fellow councilmember in her statements.