The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus released a magnificently funny video last week, but a barrage of threats and doxxing has forced them to change their key.
We’d like to show you an extremely amusing, uplifting, and clever video recently posted by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. But we’re not sure if we can. It may or may not still appear below, as the Youtube version has been set to private. And amidst a 36-hour onslaught of threats, doxxing, and online right-wing mob harassment, the chorus is removing unauthorized versions of the video as quickly as they can. We’re not even sure if the version below is authorized, but goddammit, this a very funny satirical video that deserves to be watched umpteen times.
The ditty is called “A Message From the Gay Community,” and it’s a clever victory anthem about the gradual normalization of gay culture among the youth of America (“even grandma likes Rupaul / And the world's getting kinder / Gen Z's gayer than Grindr”). The wingnut furor has focused entirely on two lyrics — “We'll convert your children” and “We're coming for your children” — which the QAnon set assumes is an open declaration of sexually exploitating minors. But a full listen to the track (lyrics here) makes it clear to any reasonable listener that the choir is talking about winning hearts and minds by being funnier, more likable, and better dressed (“Your children will care about / Fairness and justice for others / Your children will work to convert / All their sisters and brothers”).
The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus have now made this sick video private, where they boast about "converting" the children of conservatives.— Jack Hadfield 👍🇬🇧 (@JackHadders) July 8, 2021
"We're coming for your children!"
(Split into two parts due to Twitter's video limit) pic.twitter.com/1XpUG0fEja
Yet in the mind of a frothing Trumper, the word “convert” can only mean “have sex with” if spoken by a gay man. And because we live in the QAnon era, the chorus' leadership tells SFist they've gotten death threats in the last 36 hours.
"We have received emails, phone messages, threats across all of our social media platforms — not just the chorus, but the staff, as well as the soloists who were featured in the song," SF Gay Men's Chorus executive director Chris Verdugo told SFist Thursday. "The [Youtube] comment that continues to stick out in my head is the one that said 'We're going to put lead in your head.'"
"Someone on Twitter took a screenshot of the singing members of the chorus and created a speadsheet and was starting to identify them," he added. "Some of our members' jobs were contacted saying, 'Do you know you have a pedophile working for you?' or things of that nature. Singers on their social media have been getting threats. It's been a harrowing 36 hours."
"The leadership team met yesterday evening and we decided to close the office and out of an abundance of caution, send eveyone home," Verdugo said.
Bottom-feeding websites you’re better off not clicking on are having a field day with this; Pajamas Media fumed that “the people who want to convert your children to their lifestyle and way of thinking don’t even bother to hide it anymore.” Breitbart notes in their complaint that “In June, the choir similarly went viral for creepy political propaganda — a brief clip barking commands to receive a coronavirus vaccine, simply titled ‘Vaccinate!’” (That song is set to the tune of Three Dog Night’s “Celebrate,” and would only be “creepy political propaganda” to someone who’s amped up on too much hydroxychloroquine.)
An Important Message to the Chorus Family. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/XBpSY6r4j7— SF Gay Men's Chorus (@SFGMC) July 8, 2021
The chorus posted a statement early Thursday. “The far-right conservative media found our ‘Message…’ video and have taken it as their cause,” the statement says. “This has all happened in the last 24 hours and it continues to pick up steam. They have taken the lyrics out of context to support a narrative that suits their intolerant and hateful needs. It is obvious the tongue-in-cheek humor is lost on many. As a result, we have seen the user comments on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram become increasingly alarming. Emails to individuals and the chorus office are vitriolic — including threats of harm.”
“We feel the first action we must take to keep everyone involved with the chorus and the making of this video safe is to turn the video to private. We are communicating with law-enforcement both locally and nationally,” the statement continues. What they do not acknowledge is the troubling nature of some of this harassment.
SFist will not link the post, but some joker has more than a thousand quote-tweets claiming that many members of the chorus are registered sex offenders. We won't name these individuals' names, as these choralists are surely living through hell right now. But we checked the Megan’s Law database, and each of these were mere “similar name” deals citing offenders who are registered hundreds of miles away from San Francisco, and the offender’s photos do not even remotely match the appearance of the choir member.
The trolls harassing the chorus members are the same trolls who’ve never said a word about Matt Gaetz’ trafficking of a minor issues, nor former Republican House speaker Denny Hastert’s serial molestation charges, nor the widespread abuses of the Boy Scouts of America or the Catholic Church. But this 42-year-old, first openly gay chorus in the U.S. has faced violent threats before, and homophobic bullying has never changed their tenor.
"For us, it's not only about the artistic product that we put out, but also about our being activists," Verdugo told SFist. "Social justice is a mantle we take up, and we take it up loudly. We won't back down."
Note: This post has been updated with comment from the executive director of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus.
Related: SF Gay Men's Chorus Serenades Healthcare Workers [SFist]
Image: San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus via Streamable
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