Pizza Hut’s LGBT-themed book promotion sparks Twitter debate on ‘going woke’, boycott calls
It didn’t take long for the online debate over Pizza Hut’s promotion of a book about “drag kids” during Pride Month to devolve into a Republican versus Democrat narrative.
In honour of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride month, celebrated each year in June, fast-food giant Pizza Hut featured a book about a drag performer in its kids literacy program in the US. However, the inclusion hasn’t gone down well with a certain segment of social media, who panned the brand for “going woke” and even threatened to boycott it.
The controversy erupted after Pizza Hut promoted a book called ‘Big Wig’ in its Book It! reading incentive program, aimed at children aged four to 12. Big Wig is about a child who dresses in drag to compete in a costume contest.
WHAT IS DRAG?
Drag is a gender-bending art form in which a person puts on highly stylized clothing and exaggerated make-up to present themselves as a member of the opposite sex.
It is commonly associated with gay men who dress up flamboyantly in women’s clothes and adopt female personas, and are known as drag queens. They are not to be confused with transgenders or transvestites.
Big Wig, a picture book which attempts to educate children in a fun way about drag performers, was therefore part of Pizza Hut’s Pride Month themed reading recommendations. But it raised the hackles of conservatives on social media platforms, and soon climbed to the top of trending topics on Twitter. From there, it didn’t take long for the debate to devolve into a Republican vs Democrat narrative.
“Pizza Hut has gone full woke, now we must make them full broke,” said Brigitte Gabriel, founder of anti-Muslim advocacy group Act for America.
Conservative political commentator and author Nick Adams tweeted, “Boycott Pizza Hut, order from Papa John’s instead. Better ingredients. Better pizza. No wokeness.”
Alt-right political activist Jack Posobiec said in a tweet that Pizza Hut “has taken everything from us”.
Other so-called Republican Twitterati echoed the sentiment that Pizza Hut’s promotion of the drag kids book was “a problem” and avowed that they would stop patronizing the fast food chain.
PUSHBACK AGAINST CONSERVATIVES
But not everyone agreed. Liberals on the platform pointed out that there were much more pressing issues to be concerned about than a children’s book. For instance, the recent spate of deadly mass shootings across the country.
“We’ve had like 30+ mass shootings the last 3 weeks and we got morons worried about Pizza Hut and rainbows,” said one Twitter user.
“The right wing pissed off about Pizza Hut, but not about gun violence is f***** disturbing,” said another.
Underscoring the partisanship prevalent in US politics, a Twitter user said, “GOP is furious at Pizza Hut for celebrating pride month; Democrats are furious that kids are getting slaughtered in school. Let that sink in.”
A Twitter user who identifies themselves as a “liberal progressive socialist” summed up the entire brouhaha thus:
The right-wing outrage over the Pride-themed book for kids is the latest in a series of assaults on the ability to inform and sensitise young persons about the LGBTQIA+ community. Back in March, Florida enacted the ‘don’t say gay bill’, a law which dictates that public school teachers may not instruct on sexual orientation or gender identity in grades kindergarten through third grade.