Holocaust-denial, religious bigotry and pepper spray: A damning account of what really happened at Boston’s Straight Pride
When the news first went viral that Boston would be hosting a Straight Pride Parade, the internet relentlessly mocked the concept. Now that the parade has actually occurred, some argue it ended up as a bigger joke than anyone could have imagined.
The parade was going to be the largest event of its kind. Up to a thousand adults and children who travelled from nearly every corner of the country and from nations across the globe would line the streets of Boston to march alongside floats in celebration of heterosexuality.
At least that’s what the event organisers had planned. Instead Boston’s Straight Pride Parade ended up with only a third of the promised marchers and being vastly outnumbered by counter protesters who came out en masse to counter the rally with their own.
This underwhelming ending for what was supposed to be a massive march was the culmination of six months of planning by a group known as Super Happy Fun America, a self described civil rights organisation whose stated goal is to fight the oppression of the straight community and who’s membership consists of three men: failed Republican congressional candidate John Hugo, who serves as the group’s president, along with software engineer Mark Sahady and law student Samson Racioppi.
The group managed to cross many hurdles before their event became a reality. From being threatened with a lawsuit by Brad Pitt over the use of his likeness as their mascot, to its organisers being the victims of what they describe as a “domestic terrorist attack”, because someone mailed them an envelope filled with glitter.
Boston’s #StraightPride, organised by a group with several ties to far-right and white nationalist organisations, was outnumbered counter-protestors. Read more: https://t.co/r50T11gQIO pic.twitter.com/c2UkxFu5eh
— PinkNews (@PinkNews) September 1, 2019
Despite the initial assumptions when news of the parade went viral that its founders were a group of homophobes, they insisted that they supported all sexualities and simply wanted to celebrate their own. Yet actually researching the group painted a different picture.
Looking deeper into the group behind the event, many have discovered that, despite their claims of inclusion and continued assertions that the group isn’t bigoted, Super Happy Fun America appears to simply be a rebranded attempt at reforming, Resist Marxism, an umbrella organisation made up of coalitions of members from alt-right and white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys, American Guard, Oath Keepers and Patriot Front.
Resist Marxism was defined by many as “alt-light”, an organisation that internally shared beliefs in line with outright fascists and white supremacists, but publicly claims to not be racist in order to appeal to mainstream conservatives. It often used justification like “opposition to political correctness” or “supporting of free speech” to justify showing up to book fairs in masks while shouting Nazi slogans.
During their time organising in the group, Super Happy Fun America founders Mark Sahady and Samson Racioppi were no strangers to getting into violent confrontations.
Sahady was reportedly recorded on video attacking a transgender woman during the Boston Woman’s March after he and other Resist Marxism members attempted to disrupt the event, and in 2018 he travelled to Portland donning body armour and a wooden pole while he participated in what police described as “riot”.
Racioppi on the other hand previously organised or spoke at a number of rallies and events which ended in violence and was charged in 2014 with aggravated reckless conduct after allegedly assaulting a person.
Resist Marxism primarily collapsed in Boston after chat logs from its members were leaked by ThinkPiece and the groups founder, Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman, was jailed facing felony assault charges in multiple states.
Since that collapse, the newest scheme at reforming the group has been through the banner of Super Happy Fun America and using the justification of advocating for the “oppressed majority” of heterosexuals to hold their ‘family-friendly’ Pride parades for.
Yet families celebrating heterosexuality didn’t turn out to be the demographic who was attracted when the parade actually began.
“With how much Jews lie, do you really expect me to believe their claim that so many of them died back during the Holocaust?” A man named David said while going into an unprovoked 15 minute anti-Semitic rant about how Jews control the world and are responsible for the LGBT+ movement in a plot to feminize men and destroy America.
“I’m here to remind the world that this is a Christian nation,” another man, Steve Bladsarri, gave as his reason for attending Straight Pride, while insisting he isn’t homophobic because he’s trying to save gays from the eternal damnation of hell.
“People want to claim I’m a Nazi. My grandfather fought in World War 2! How can I be a Nazi?” He added. Other reasons given by attendees for why they showed up included simply, “Leviticus 20:13” and a lengthy story about how a man had his gym membership revoked after reporting how he saw two gay men having sex in the locker room.
Once the event got underway, many of the floats that were supposed to participate turned out to simply be cars with the words “blue lives matter” written on a piece of paper and taped to the door.
The parade itself proved to be peaceful minus some profanity-laced insults from the parade goers and and a few empty water bottles being thrown by protesters. Not much violence occurred between the two groups, even after police didn’t bother to separate them at one point and allowed them to mingle on the parade route.
Once the rally had begun at city hall and the numbers of marchers had decreased from the low hundreds into the dozens, the Straight Pride marchers paid little attention to the protesters and their rhetoric. Moving instead to focus on their speakers and the rallies true purpose.
“It’s not OK to be gay and, if someone told you otherwise, they lied to you,” spiritual adviser Teresa Richenberger said during a lengthy speech about how homosexuals need to accept Christ.
No focus seemed to be pushed onto actually celebrating Straight Pride and the main agenda of the speakers seemed to be on condemning LGBT+ people. The same situation occurred during the speech of former New Jersey public school reading coach and educational consultant Felecia Nace, who spent the entirety of her time talking about how children are being hurt by LGBT+ literature and sex ed classes in school.
Nace then claimed the purpose of these classes was to enrich textbook manufacturers as part of a massive conspiracy.
Other guests billed for Straight Pride included musician G.Notes Justice, a conservative rapper and Proud Boy member whose songs have dozens and sometimes even hundreds of views, according to soundcloud, and more notable figures like Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and Libertarian presidential candidate Adam Kokesh. Tarrio never showed up to the event and Kokesh was kicked out after being booed off stage after insulting the crowd and labelling the parade as a “safe space”. As his mic was pulled away, Kokesh argued the parade goers should team up with protesters to fight the real enemy instead of each other. That real enemy being the government.
The final speaker proved to be the most bizarre of all. A gay former Breitbart employee who resigned after making pro-pedophilia comments and who had been named as the parade’s grand Marshall, Milo Yiannopoulos. “I hear talk about reparations,” he said. “Well I agree, gays should have to pay reparations to the family members of everyone who has died of AIDS.”
Milo also claimed during his speech that wherever gays go, degenerate collapse follows, and joked that Hurricane Dorian may be Gods’ punishment to Florida for allowing Disney to create so many gay characters.
He also suggesting the police helicopter overseeing the parade was proof that allegedly fascist Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet must have returned. Pinochet’s use of helicopters to murder political prisoners remains a meme among the alt-right.
Once Milo finished his speech the event began to simmer down. “It was actually better than expected,” John Hugo said regarding the parade. Hugo also announced he would franchise Super Happy Fun America and expected branches to be formed in every major city and more parades to happen nationwide.
When asked to comment on the fact his group had insisted for months to not be homophobic, while having nearly every one of their speakers give lengthy speeches that solely focused on attacking homosexuality, John Hugo defended that as being within the speakers’ right to do since they could say whatever they wanted.
Meanwhile on the other side of the barricades things appeared to not be as orderly. Protesters interviewed described a number of confrontations with police resulting in dozens of injuries and arrests. Whether the protester was a black bandanna wearing anti-fascist or an elderly church goer whose granddaughter recently came out as gay and who felt they had a duty to oppose the parade, their descriptions of what happen to the opposition during the parade were identical.
Police responded with unprovoked and unnecessary violence at every occasion. One man described a girl who “couldn’t have weighed more then 90 pounds” refusing to move to where an officer instructed her to go and being immediately sucker punched without warning.
A separate witness described the event identically. During this time PinkNews witnessed multiple protesters at Straight Pride being singled out and wrestled to the ground while pepper spray was used on the crowd when photographers attempted to get close and film the arrests.
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One officer used his bicycle as a weapon and slammed it into a man’s chest to move him back as the crowd was being ushered up the street. The slam came without warning and the officer didn’t bother asking the man to move until after bruising his chest. Another woman, who appeared elderly and was using crutches to walk, was slammed to the ground and after being handcuffed and forced to limp to the police car while struggling to walk.
After making it up the street, several others on both sides, including media members and Libertarian presidential candidate Adam Kokesh, were found suffering from pepper spray injuries after allegedly being attacked by police. Kokesh said that he would consider bringing legal action against the department if he found video showing his assault.
It wasn’t long after that before the police again charged the crowd to make more arrests, an action that according to witnesses they had been doing throughout the event with peaceful protesters. One officer wielding a baton ordered members of the press to move back and then charged towards them with his weapon.
One photographer complied by moving back so quickly that the officer was forced to sprint after him in order to violently shove him to the ground. Several others were attacked and the PinkNews reporter who covered the event was nearly assaulted and arrested by the police without cause, despite fully complying with their orders.
In the end, 34 were arrested and 4 hospitalised over injuries. Though the message against hate from the city of Boston was clear, its evident that if Hugo gets his wish and cities across the country open chapters for his group and hold their own Straight Pride, then this might simply be the first example of what may end up being a string of protests that end in mass violence.
PinkNews has contacted Boston Police Department for comment.