Drag queen accuses anti-LGBTQ+ documentary of ‘tricking’ her into taking part

A new right-wing, gender-critical, anti-LGBTQ+ film called The War on Children was launched last week, with the trailer gaining more than 30 million views on X, formerly Twitter, after being promoted by Elon Musk. 

It was created by married right-wing activist couple Robby and Landon Starbuck, who have made criticism of the LGBTQ+ community — the transgender and drag communities in particular — central to their content.

Taking to Twitter/X, Robby Starbuck explained what the film was about, saying: “There’s a war on our children right now. Far left activists will stop at nothing to indoctrinate them, sexualise them, guilt them and punish them until they submit to their woke religion… This film exposes EVERYTHING.”

However, Nashville drag queen Veronika Electronika – who works with children’s reading programme Drag Queen Story Hour Tennessee – claims that she was tricked into taking part in the documentary, saying she had been asked to do an interview about how the lives and mental health of LGBTQ+ people were being affected by bans and restrictions on drag performances and gender-affirming care.

Image shows Nashville drag queen Veronika Electronika in a colourful outfit with a hood pulled up over her hair, she is resting her head on her hand and looking into the camera.
Nashvillle drag queen Veronika Electronika (VeronikaElectronika.com)

Drag Queen Story Hour events have faced protests in recent years. in 2023, a Drag Queen Story Hour went ahead at an LGBTQ+ community centre in New Jersey despite being subject to a bomb threat. Similar events have been under attack around the world, with the executive director of Drag Story Hour, Jonathan Hamilt, telling PinkNews that drag bans are just the start of an attempt to “eradicate” the LGBTQ+ community. 

Electronika shared emails from the production team with Rolling Stone, which show that when they first approached her, the producers offered her the opportunity to participate in an upcoming documentary “tentatively titled ‘It Takes A Village’ from an award winning director,” which intended “to delve deeper [into] exposing how these recent drag bans and gender-affirming care bans have been made, look at how it has affected the mental health of trans people and look forward into what future progress will look and sound like.” 

Robby Starbuck is seen on set during taping of a show called "Candace" on July 12, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Robby Starbuck on set during taping of “Candace” on July 12, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Getty)

“When I saw Mr. Starbuck walk through the hallway, I was like, ‘Wait a minute. I know this f**ker,” Electronika tells Rolling Stone, adding, “they tried to convince me to stay and I said, ‘You need to stop recording right now.’ The little red light kept going … and then they wouldn’t stop.”

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Her personal recording of the conversation, which she provided to Rolling Stone, seems to show that her interview in the documentary was heavily edited to make it seem like she was unwilling to condemn the exposure of children to sexual material, when in fact she affirmed she cared about the safety of children.

Electronika was one of only two LGBTQ+ people or allies the Starbucks managed to interview face-to-face, after many were warned off by LGBTQ+ activist Eli Erlick who exposed the “fake” documentary in May 2023, calling the documentary a “front for far-right director Robby Starbuck” and describing it as a “deceptively cut anti-trans film.”

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One drag queen who pulled out of the documentary was California-based Lil Miss Hot Mess, who withdrew after initially agreeing to participate.

The “team absolutely misled me about the premise and tone of the documentary,” Lil Miss Hot Mess told Rolling Stone. “In fact, they went to great lengths to hide their identities and true intentions, it only became clear later that the Starbucks were behind it.” She also claims the couple “became incredibly disrespectful” when she stopped engaging with them.

The pair left her a voicemail, provided to Rolling Stone, in which Robby Starbuck can allegedly be heard to ask why “you believe it’s a good thing for grown men to dress up as women and do sexual dances for them” and what “you thought about the people who’ve exposed their genitalia to children, and why that would be OK?” 

However, Robby Starbuck claims the couple did nothing wrong, telling Rolling Stone “I don’t think a lack of transparency contributed to any hesitation” among potential interview subjects and adding, “It’s par for the course that left-wing media like Rolling Stone are more interested in writing a negative story about some subjects we asked to interview being upset than to examine the War On Children that we exposed in our film.” 

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