Man Found Guilty of Public Order Offence for Protesting Drag Queen Storytelling Event

Man Found Guilty of Public Order Offence for Protesting Drag Queen Storytelling Event

Lance O’Connor, a 59-year-old man from Plaistow in east London, has been found guilty of a public order offence following his protest against a drag queen story-telling event for children at Tate Britain.

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The incident took place during the “Drag Queen Story Hour UK” on February 11, where Aida H Dee, described as “the first drag artist in Europe to read stories to children in a nursery,” was telling tales.

O’Connor was accused of behaving in an “aggressive and intimidating” manner towards both event organizers and attendees.

It was alleged that his comments were motivated by hostility related to sexual orientation and transgender identity.

The Charges and Verdict

O’Connor denied two counts of using threatening, abusive, or insulting words or behavior with intent to cause harassment, alarm, or distress.

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District judge Neeta Minhas, presiding over the case at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, found him guilty of the offence against one of the gallery’s operations managers, Matthew Rowan.

However, he was found not guilty of the charge in relation to police liaison officer Anderson De Santis.

The judge stated that O’Connor’s comments to Mr. Rowan went beyond the boundaries of freedom of expression and entered the realm of hate speech.

O’Connor is scheduled to be sentenced on September 11.

Protest at Tate Britain

The protest occurred when O’Connor and four others identified themselves as “Lance” and went to Tate Britain to demonstrate against the drag queen story-telling session.

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Witnesses claimed that O’Connor’s behavior was aggressive and intimidating, not only towards Mr. Rowan but also towards members of the public attempting to attend the event.

It was reported that he made inflammatory comments, such as accusing the attendees of indoctrinating children into paedophilia, and questioning the appropriateness of a man wearing women’s clothing.

The Testimony of Mr. Rowan and Pc De Santis

Mr. Rowan, the gallery operations manager, testified that O’Connor’s demeanor was quite aggressive, and he felt uncomfortable and upset after the interaction.

As a gay man, Mr. Rowan found O’Connor’s accusations particularly troubling, as they echoed harmful stereotypes that have been used against the LGBTQ+ community.

Pc De Santis, who arrived at the scene in response to the commotion, also felt uncomfortable and alarmed by O’Connor’s comments.

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O’Connor’s Defense and Motivation for the Protest

In his defense, O’Connor’s lawyer, Sundeep Pankhania, stated that his client does not hold any non-trans ideologies and protested due to what he believed to be a link between Aida H Dee and an alleged convicted paedophile, Darren Moore, who is now deceased.

O’Connor argued that the protest aimed to make parents aware of these links and to protect the children.

He vehemently denied any intention to cause harassment, alarm, or distress to anyone, including Mr. Rowan and Pc De Santis.

Conclusion

The court’s verdict found Lance O’Connor guilty of a public order offence for his protest against the drag queen story-telling event at Tate Britain.

The sentencing is scheduled for September 11.

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The incident sparked debates about freedom of expression, hate speech, and the LGBTQ+ community’s vulnerability to harmful stereotypes and prejudices.

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