The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh and Michael Knowles called for drastic measures to prevent drag queens from being around children, with Walsh explicitly calling for violence against them by saying “real men” should kick a drag queen “out on his ass” and call the police.
Walsh also said that the adults in a room in which a drag queen danced in front of a child “should be going to prison,” and Knowles called on “the arm of the state to stop this.”
The Daily Wire's official YouTube account uploaded video of Walsh’s extreme comments, made during The Matt Walsh Show podcast, which has received more than 31,000 views. The video cuts off before Walsh’s explicit calls for violence but includes his claim that the adults should be arrested for letting a drag queen perform in front of a child.
YouTube has several policies that address harmful content, including a “violent or graphic content” policy that bans content creators from inciting violence “against individuals or a defined group of people” and a “hate speech policy” that bans “content promoting violence or hatred against individuals” based on attributes including gender identity and expression and sexual orientation.
The Daily Wire has gone after drag in the past, and these calls for violence or state action against performers come as drag queens and programs like Drag Queen Story Hour are facing threats. Anti-LGBTQ media coverage has helped create this dangerous climate; in the last year, anti-LGBTQ folks have attacked programs, forced cancellations of events, threatened arson, and introduced bills in state legislatures to limit drag queen story hours. In Texas, a right-wing radio host attempted to enter such a program while carrying a gun.
Walsh and Knowles are podcast hosts and columnists for The Daily Wire, a right-wing website that regularly promotes anti-LGBTQ, racist, sexist, and anti-abortion rhetoric. The site has several anti-LGBTQ pundits with large media platforms, including Walsh, Knowles, and Ben Shapiro, the site’s founder. They routinely push hateful rhetoric and play an influential role in making anti-LGBTQ content go viral. Just last week, Walsh lied that progressives will fight to legalize pedophilia because openly gay former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg helped a kid come out.
Furthermore, The Daily Wire is a notable example of right-wing content disseminators that social media sites like Facebook let break their rules. According to a Popular Information investigation, The Daily Wire operates a “clandestine network of 14 large Facebook pages that purport to be independent but exclusively promote content from The Daily Wire in a coordinated fashion. … This kind of ‘inauthentic coordinated behavior’ violates Facebook's rules.” The Daily Wire has leveraged this network in the past to fearmonger about trans athletes and spread dangerous misinformation about health care for trans youth.
On the March 2 edition of his podcast The Matt Walsh Show, Walsh claimed a video of a drag queen dancing in front of a child at a drag brunch illustrates “the collapse of Western society.” He called for violence against performers, saying that “real men” would be “grabbing that drag queen by the collar, if he has a collar, and dragging him out of the room, and kicking him out on his ass, out of the room, and then calling the police.” Walsh said that he believes that “all of the adults in that room, in that video, should be going to prison” and that the video should end with police officers storming the event.
Walsh made similar claims in a February 28 column for The Daily Wire.
Also on March 2, Knowles covered the same video of the drag queen on his podcast, The Michael Knowles Show. He similarly called for state action against drag queens, saying, “We should use the arm of the state to stop this ... radical sexual grooming that’s going on for young people.” He also asked for the country to introduce laws to prevent drag queens from being around children, saying, “We have always had laws against this kind of stuff in America.”