Drag Race star’s GLAAD Awards opening speech disrupted by drag queen’s pro-Palestine protest

The second part of the 2024 GLAAD Media Awards was interrupted by a drag queen leading a pro-Palestinian protest.

RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Ross Mathews’ opening monologue at the 35th annual GLAAD Media awards in New York, which came two months after its Los Angeles counterpart, was disrupted by the protest on Saturday (11 May).

In a clip posted by the human rights group ACT UP’s New York chapter, trans advocate and drag performer Chiquitita can be seen interrupting Matthews as he took to the stage and chanting.

Prior to the event, about 150 people, including Grey’s Anatomy and And Just Like That… star Sara Ramirez, gathered to protest outside the Hilton hotel venue. The group were protesting against Israel’s military action in Palestine and GLAAD’s partnership with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 11: Ross Matthews speaks onstage during the 35th Annual GLAAD Media Awards New York on May 11, 2024 in New York City.  (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for GLAAD)
Ross Matthews speaks onstage during the 35th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. (Bryan Bedder/Getty)

The advocacy group is an international Jewish non-governmental organisation whose mission, according to their website, is to “fight all forms of antisemitism and bias” and to “ensure a just and inclusive society for all”.

ACT UP member Emmaia Gelman called the partnership a “betrayal of queer communities”, adding: “GLAAD can call attention to anti-LGBTQ violence without legitimating the ADL’s Center on Extremism, which smears Palestinian, Jewish, BIPOC and queer-led social justice movements as ‘terror’ supporters.”

Drag Race season nine winner Sasha Velour, who also attended the awards ceremony, took to X/Twitter to praise the protesters, writing: “Although the ADL has helped track anti-LGBTQ+ hate across the country, they have destroyed their own credibility by consistently labelling human rights advocacy for Palestine as antisemitism, vilifying protestors and working to suppress all activism for Gaza.”

She ended the thread by calling on GLAAD to “publicly suspend all future work” with the ADL and to “support queer Palestinians”.

A spokesperson for the advocacy group told PinkNews: “ADL is proud of its 111-year history of fighting all forms of hate, including antisemitism and anti-LGBTQ+ hate. This includes the critical work of our Center on Extremism, whose focus on tracking, exposing and mitigating extremist threats has been especially critical over the past several years.

“It’s deeply troubling, especially as antisemitic incidents are skyrocketing and when ADL is working to expose extremists [amid] a surge in anti-LGBTQ+ hate, that such baseless claims would be made solely on ADL’s belief in the right of Jewish self-determination and for the existence of the democratic state of Israel in its ancestral homeland.”