Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live


Benefit drag show canceled following veiled online threat

A benefit drag show was canceled at the last minute after a veiled threat was made to the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, where the event was being held.

The Disney edition drag takeover benefit show was being put on by the North County LGBTQ Resource Center to benefit their Pride by the Beach annual event.

"It's our largest fundraiser for our free family festival, Pride by the Beach, which is hosted on June 3 this year. We were expecting about $10,000 in this fundraiser," said Lisa Nava, the center's director of operations.


She said this would've been the fourth benefit drag show the center put on, and it was the first they were forced to cancel.

"Earlier that day, we became aware of a YouTube video," Nava said. "I did then send that video to our local police department that we work very closely with, Oceanside Police Department, and then they forwarded it on to the Sheriff."

Nava said the video, which has since been taken down, made no direct threat to the center or the performers. But it did say something had been planted at the Belly Up.

"At the end of the YouTube video, it said, 'We've already put things at the venue...' You know, we didn't know what those things were. It didn't directly say this was a bomb or or anything like that. But the Sheriff took that seriously," she said.

The Belly Up Tavern closed for the day while SWAT teams searched for any threats, but found nothing.


"We just decided in an abundance of caution that, regardless of what the SWAT team would find there, it was not the right night to do this... the day after the Nashville shooting," Nava said.

On Monday, a shooter killed six people at Nashville’s Covenant Christian school before being killed by police.

Nava said the cancellation at the Belly Up is an example of how drag queens and cultural arts performers are suffering right now nationwide.

"They're going into venues afraid of what might happen, and we didn't want to put anybody in that position for an abundance of caution," Nava said.

But Nava said the show will go on and this is a community that won't be shut out ever again.

"We're not going to let fear dictate how we operate every day," Nava said. "But in this climate, it is changing the way we do business, and how we're thinking about where we're going to go and what spaces we're in. There's just no getting around that, because our safety is is critical."

The Belly Up and North County LGBTQ Resource Center are meeting to set a future date for the benefit drag show ahead of Oceanside’s Pride by the Beach in June.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.