Eastern Carolina drag show canceled after threats

ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – A business in the East has canceled a drag show event after receiving a number of threats on social media.

Salty Sistas restaurant in Sneads Ferry made the decision to cancel a holiday-themed drag show scheduled for Saturday after they received threats of retaliation and possible protests of the event.

WITN’s Deric Rush learned more about what went into the decision after speaking with management and local law enforcement.

Kristin Neely from Salty Sistas said the decision to cancel is “just a preventative measure to make sure that everyone is safe.”

Salty Sistas restaurant hosts a drag show every other month at the restaurant for members of the LGBTQ community. This month would have been a Christmas-themed “Nice and Naughty” drag show, but they made the decision to call it off because of multiple threats they received on social media.

“The day after we posted the event, we got a phone call into the restaurant stating that if we did not change the wording on the event to where it was 18 and over and specifically say no children allowed, we would have 40 to 50 plus protesters and then, quote, ‘we would be sorry,’” Neely said.

Onslow County Sheriff Chris Thomas says his office and State Highway Patrol were made aware of the threats and informed the restaurant of the risks.

He also said, “Over the course of a day or two we had calls about people wanting to protest. Most of the threats were vague, veiled threats and they were on social media, but there were enough of them that sparked our concern.”

Neely said after deputies explained the risk, and in the wake of recent acts of violence towards the LGBTQ Community, they decided they had to put safety first.

“It doesn’t take away from what we support or who we support and what we stand for… with everything happening in Moore County and South Carolina, we had a lot of options to weigh,” Neely said.

The restaurant ownership says it hopes to continue to have bi-monthly drag shows, but will reassess whether they will indeed host them next year.