Rep. Ben Baker said the backlash against his bill is ‘unprecedented’
A Missouri lawmaker who introduced a bill earlier this year to allow parents to block the controversial Drag Queen Story Hour events has faced fierce opposition and even death threats from angry liberals.
Rep. Ben Baker described how he faced ”vitriol” and “hate” from opponents of the bill.
Since Baker introduced the bill seeking to ban Drag Queen Story Hour in public libraries, he has been met with Drag Queen Story Hour defenders, liberals, LGBTQ proponents, and even the American Library Association.
The lawmaker said he received thousands of emails from people roused by the American Library Association’s political action committee and death threats over social media.
Baker said the backlash against his bill is “unprecedented,” while saying left-leaning media coverage has been mostly negative.
Many media outlets have described the legislation as a bill that seeks to ban “inappropriate books” rather than ban Drag Queen Story Hour.
After Baker introduced the bill, Every Library wrote in a statement:
“We are deeply concerned by Missouri House Bill 2044, ‘Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act.’”
“It sets up quasi-governmental tribunals that circumvent the normal way libraries review materials challenges and imposes fines or jail time on librarians who violate the act. It’s a bad bill and needs to be stopped.”
“When you take on some of these issues that are controversial, the push back from media and from even the American Library Association, you know, was astounding,” Baker told the DCNF.
“I got thousands of emails, I’ve had death threats for me and my family.”
“I’ve taken on some controversial issues in my time in public office, but this one has by far been the worst when it comes to the vitriol and the hate that we have received for doing this,” he added.
Here’s the world we live in today. Try to protect children from age inappropriate content in our libraries and in response get death threats. It seems we no longer live in a society where you can have civil discourse about ideas. #Isaiahfivetwenty #HB2044
— Ben Baker (@BenBakerMO) January 17, 2020
— Ben Baker (@BenBakerMO) January 28, 2020
A friendly note of inclusive tolerance of all views from “All librarians” at the St. Louis City and County Libraries.
In other words their desire is to censor the freedom of speech and any opposing views. Such blatant hypocrisy! #Hb2044 pic.twitter.com/j8GGzfBihP
— Ben Baker (@BenBakerMO) January 23, 2020
The lawmaker also revealed several photographs of hateful messages he had received social media.
One Facebook user commented on a Baker family photo and called the family a “bunch of repulsive swines.”
One facebook user called Baker’s family a “bunch of repulsive swines.”
“Fucking diseased pig and his disgusting inbred little piglets,” the user commented.
“Hope you all die a slow and painful death.”
“Dear Rep. Baker,” stated a note Baker said was signed by librarians in St. Louis City and County.
“Please just STOP it with your imbecile proclivities.”
The bill is mostly a response to the spread of Drag Queen Story Hour events, in which adult drag queens read to young children.
The organizers argue one of their central purposes is to teach pupils about “learn[ing] to see beyond the pink and blue gender binary.”
But parents argue children are exposed to sexually-charged and inappropriate performances from drag queens.