GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Peter Meijer says he is doing the right thing and he is not going to apologize.
"I am standing by the decision," he says.
The ACLU accuses Meijer, a Republican candidate for congress, of discrimination because he will not permit individuals with Down syndrome to perform a drag show at a building he owns.
“I’ve been called a racist, a bigot, a homophobe, jack-booted thug and some things I can’t say,” he says.
Until Meijer withdrew permission, the British group Drag Syndrome was scheduled to perform this weekend in the Tanglefoot Building as part Project 1 by ArtPrize. Meijer, grandson of supermarket developer Fred Meijer, says he is disappointed the ACLU has filed a complaint with the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, but he is concerned individuals with Down Syndrome can be exploited.
“I’ve received dozens of letters, handwritten letters, from folks saying thank you for making this decision,” he says. “I’m not going to apologize for doing what is right.”
“I want people to know I’m a drag king,” says Drag Syndrome performer Justin Bond. “I am special, have uniqueness, nerve and talent. When we perform, we feel great on stage.”
The Drag Syndrome show is relocating to the Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids. Performances are Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m.
“Come to the show and see what we can do and show our talents,” says Bond. “It is interesting. They will love it.”
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