Google has removed its promotion of a drag show in San Francisco, after an employee petition deeming the performance as “an affront” to Christians amassed hundreds of signatures.
The tech giant removed the "Pride and Drag Show" from a list of company-sponsored LGBTQ+ Pride events, after objections were raised about the featured drag artist known as "Peaches Christ," according to US cable news channel, CNBC.
The petition accused Google of endorsing religious discrimination by supporting a "provocative and inflammatory" artist who is considered “a direct affront to the religion, beliefs and sensitivities of Christians".
Christian employees also complained, alleging that the venue for the performance violated company event guidelines on sexually explicit activity. Google subsequently removed the listing originally promoted as the finale to "an amazing month", claiming the event had been posted prior to going through the company’s “standard events process”.
Google sponsors a range of San Francisco Pride events across the month of June.
"We’ve long been very proud to celebrate and support the LGBTQ+ community. Our Pride celebrations have regularly featured drag artists for many years, including several this year," a Google spokesperson told CNBC, explaining that while the company’s official team event had been relocated, the drag performance would still be running at Beaux, a gay bar in San Francisco, and was open for anyone to attend.
Performer known as "Peaches Christ", whose real name is Joshua Grannell, responded to the controversy on Facebook, accusing petitioners of “anti-queer and anti-gay rhetoric".
“Anyone who knows me and knows my career knows that I use this drag character and name to present love, to make people laugh, to create entertainment and to create space for outsiders,” Grannell said.