News

London drag queen Vanity von Glow performed at a far-right rally and now she's losing bookings

Picture:
Picture:
Getty Images / Matthew Lloyd / Stringer ; Facebook / Vanity von Glow

A well-known drag queen has responded to criticism after appearing alongside far-right activists at a London rally.

Vanity von Glow, real name Thom Glow, is a regular act at LGBT+ venues and performed on the main stage at Pride in London 2017. But she is now losing bookings amid outrage at her appearance at the 'Day of Freedom' event on Sunday.

A number of controversial right-wing personalities appeared alongside Vanity at the 'free speech' event, including conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, co-founder and former leader of the English Defence League Tommy Robinson and editor-in-chief of Breitbart News London, Raheem Kassam.

Canadian alt-right activist Lauren Southern, who has been banned from entering Britain for life, also spoke at the event via video link.

Members of the far-right linked 'Democratic Football Lads Alliance', founded by Robinson, and the 'Veterans Against Terrorism' group were also in attendance, both of which have previously taken part in marches branded 'Islamophobic' by Stand Up To Racism.

The outcry follows a video of Vanity at the march singing 'That Don't Impress Me Much' by Shania Twain - who recently said she would have hypothetically voted for Donald Trump in the US Presidential election - which was shared by BuzzFeed reporter Ryan Broderick.

Following a fierce backlash from the LGBT+ community, London queer bar Her Upstairs cancelled Vanity's performance on Sunday night and released a statement that said "she will no longer be booked by Her Upstairs" as it stands. The venue explained:

The 'Day of Freedom' was deemed far right propaganda masquerading as the promotion of freedom of speech.

Primary endorsers and organisers stand for fundamental values that directly contradict what we believe in, and we can not ignore this fact.

After requests from fans, The Phoenix Artist Club also cancelled the drag artist's appearance at their upcoming 'A Night in Soho' event. In a statement, the venue added:

We are furious about any suggested association that has been made between our club and the right-wing speakers at this rally and we think Vanity in time will regret her decision.

Vanity has now released a statement defending her actions and the line-up, but admitted that singing a Shania Twain song "may not be the best method through which to make political statements".

In the lengthy statement, she said:

Many of you have reached out with concerns that I shared a platform with controversial figures Tommy Robinson and Milo Yiannopolous.

For me the ability to disagree civilly, to ‘differ well’ if you will, is one of the building blocks of every meaningful relationship in my life.

Across a wide array of the beautiful and diverse human beings I call my friends I look for ways not just to connect over shared values, but over a joint desire to understand one another better – especially when we disagree. Freedom of speech is important to me because speaking our ideas out loud is kind of how we think. It’s how we separate the good notions from the bad ones.

As with all great things the price is that sometimes we express useless ideas. Sometimes we offend even our own principles when trying to work out what’s right. Speaking freely is how I’m working out who I am.

Vanity also explained that the line-up also included YouTuber Sargon of Akkad, Shazia Hobbs and Gavin McInnes and that she accepted the request to make an appearance because she "felt [she] would be a hypocrite to only champion free speech when it suits my own ideological ends".

Keep reading...Show less
Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)