The right-wing outrage over the White House Pride event on Saturday is now reaching its fourth day.
The event in past years has gone off without any outcry, but as a wave of anti-LGBTQ sentiment has swept the nation, this year’s event was ripe for bad-faith backlash.
Initially, critics claimed President Joe Biden was disrespecting the military by flying the Pride flag from the White House portico. They then denounced the event as a bacchanalia after an influencer flashed her chest.
Now they’re arguing the administration is outright promoting pedophilia by displaying the flag.
A recent story on Fox News cited prominent critics within the anti-trans movement to support its claim Biden flew a “controversial new transgender flag that promotes grooming and pedophilia.”
In the piece, Fox News said the flag, dubbed the Progress Pride Flag and designed to include people of color and trans, intersex, and non-binary communities was “an homage to the cult of pedophilia infecting many institutions.”
Fox News quoted noted anti-trans activist Jaimee Michell of Gays Against Groomers, who claimed “the flag represents to us an ideology, a political statement of indoctrinating kids and trans kids and pushing kids to sterilize and mutilate themselves.”
Over the past several years, right-wingers have sought to demonize the trans community by calling them “groomers,” claiming that transgender individuals are pedophiles attempting to brainwash children, despite not providing any reasonable proof that kind of behavior is going on.
Fox News’ assertion the flag is pro-pedophilia was backed up by one source.
Fox said the claim it is a “pedophile flag” was made in a TikTok by Black Guns Matter, noting the TikTok has since been deleted. Fox News went on to note that accusations the flag was secretly designed to promote pedophilia have repeatedly been debunked.
The online backlash to Fox News’ smearing of the flag and the trans community was swift.
“Outright lies and dehumanization. This is why people are storming into Target stores threatening employees when Target has carried pride merch for years,” wrote one critic, referencing the recent backlash against Target selling Pride merch, like it has always done.
“Fox News is promoting stochastic terrorism against the LGBTQ community. Pure and simple,” said one person, highlighting how the right-wing fervor over trans rights has sparked armed protests and threats of violence against hospitals and schools.
While most people were outraged by the story, some chose to have fun with it, joking that it was clear the White House didn’t hoist a flag for the Catholic Church.
Numerous right-wingers have reminded silent or indifferent as repeated pedophilia scandals have hit churches, instead focusing on things like drag shows.
“The Catholic Church has a flag?” asked one user.
Fox News did not immediately respond to request for comment.
As the criticisms intensified, Fox News deleted the tweet and the story.
While backlash to the White House Pride event continues, by other metrics, it was a wildly successful day.
According to reports, it was the largest Pride event ever thrown at the White House, with over 1,000 people in attendance.
Update 4:00pm CT: Fox News has since republished the article, with a new headline that removes the reference to pedophilia, instead claiming the flag “troubles some critics in the gay community.”
The claim that it is a “pedophile flag” remains in the piece.