Idaho bar The Old State Saloon with a rainbow over it
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Beers for breeders: Right-wing media thirst over Idaho bar celebrating “Heterosexual Awesomeness Month”

Idaho’s Old State Saloon has become a safe space “where conservatism can be appreciated” — and right-wing media are drinking it up

After a 15-month prohibition on Bud Light following the company’s brief promotion with transgender TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney, right-wing media are thirsting for alternatives. Highlighting their animosity toward LGBTQ Pride Month, reactionary pundits are now uplifting The Old State Saloon, a conservative Idaho bar. It is celebrating what it has deemed “Heterosexual Awesomeness Month” this June, one of several right-wing attempts to subvert Pride Month. The event features merchandise including a “Beers for Breeders” T-shirt, as well as discounts for heterosexual couples and “any heterosexual male dressed like a heterosexual male.”

  • Right-wing media have given the bar free publicity for its stunt

  • Fox News published two articles on the bar, one of which pushed for more businesses to hold similar events. Fox emphasized owner Mark Fitzpatrick’s identity as a Christian conservative and framed the event as “counter-programming” to Pride Month. The network also uplifted Fitzpatrick’s claims that local coverage amounted to a “hit piece” against him. In a subsequent interview, the owner called Pride Month events “extreme” and said they’d decided to hold the event, in part, because, “I know there's a lot of deception out there in the world. I want the truth to come out on a lot of things, and I just want [to] glorify God in everything that I do.” [Fox News, 6/3/24, 6/7/24]

  • The Daily Wire also embraced the bar in two separate articles. In posts to its website, The Daily Wire snarked about “expected vitriol from leftists” and uplifted Fox News’ reporting that the bar owner was “fed up” and expected others to feel the same. [The Daily Wire, 6/3/24, 6/7/24]

  • The Daily Wire host Matt Walsh called it “a good little twist” that the bar celebrated “awesomeness” instead of “pride,” but subsequently devolved into calling it “straight pride,” which he compared to “white pride.” Walsh went on to discuss how the right is often “far too reactive” in response to leftist movements, but considered this event “necessary and appropriate.” [The Daily Wire, The Matt Walsh Show, 6/4/24]

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    Citation From the June 4, 2024 edition of the Matt Walsh Show, hosted by The Daily Wire

  • Chaya Raichik, owner of the anti-LGBTQ social media account Libs of TikTok, uplifted the bar several times on her accounts and publicly floated visiting. Two days in a row, the Libs of TikTok account on X (formerly Twitter) posted information about the event, before Raichik said on her personal account, “I’m not really a beer person but I suddenly have an urge to fly to Idaho and visit this establishment.” Rachik is not the only one who has entertained a long-distance trip to the bar, with its own account touting one pair of patrons who “drove 400 miles out of their way” to visit, and another pair who visited from Las Vegas, which is over 600 miles away. [Twitter/X, 6/2/24, 6/3/24, 6/3/24; Facebook, 6/3/24, 6/5/24]

  • The New York Post editorial board claimed that criticism of the event was “what’s wrong with woke culture” and a “joyless, puritanical response.” The Post called the event “gentle political satire” while also blasting the same local opinion piece from the Idaho Statesman that Fox identified. [The New York Post, 6/3/24]

  • The National Review used criticism of the event to claim, “‘Pride month’ and all the corporate power it wields is a reminder that, for some LGBTQ+ activists, the objective isn’t equality but total dominance.” The outlet boasted of how the event “offends LGBTQ+ activists'' and lauded the bar “for having the audacity to puncture this inflated sacred cow.” [National Review, 6/4/24]

  • The Old State Saloon has been a local hub for right-wing ideas

  • Despite the owner’s claims that he “loves” LGBTQ people, the bar called Starbucks an “evil company” for covering gender-affirming care for employees. The bar reposted an image of a Starbucks cup with a sticker advertising its employee benefit covering gender-affirming care, adding, “Please, please don’t support this evil company!” [Facebook, 2/17/24, 5/30/24; Snopes, 2/29/24]

  • On an episode of Stew Peters’ show, owner Mark Fitzpatrick and stand-in host Paul Harrell claimed “Satan” and the “debased mind” of LGBTQ people are controlling the country. During the interview with Harrell, who anchors the Stew Peters Network’s Millstone Report (apparently named for a Bible passage, recently weaponized against LGBTQ people, about drowning people who harm children), Fitzpatrick claimed, “Satan’s basically legislating and taking over and passing laws, and having the media push extremism on all these things.” Later in the interview, Harrell said, “The bigger issue here is also the fact that our whole society — we went from ‘they just want to get married’ to now they are in control — this line of thinking, this debased mind, is in control of our entire country right now.” [Rumble, The Stew Peters Show, 6/6/24; Rumble, The Millstone Report, 6/5/24; Assigned Media, 7/24/23]

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    Citation From the June 6, 2024 edition of The Stew Peters Show, hosted by Rumble

  • Fitzpatrick called an opinion piece denouncing the event “immoral.” Columnist Michael Deeds of the Idaho Statesman said the event “puts ‘trans’ in transparent bigotry” and called it both a “dog whistle” and “insecure reaction to LGBTQ+ Pride Month.” In response, Fitzpatrick called the column a hit piece on Facebook and said, “Michael Deeds is a decently talented writer. Too bad so much of it is just so immoral. Viewer discretion advised.” [Idaho Statesman, 5/30/24; Facebook, 5/30/24]

  • The bar regularly hosts the right-wing social group BRAVERITAS to discuss right-wing conspiracy theories and movements, including Christian nationalism and “the Nefarious Vaccine Agenda.” The Old State Saloon described the group as one that focuses on “revealing truth and exposing deception” and facilitating “dialogue about evidences of alternative truth to the mainstream narrative.” [Facebook, archived 6/18/24, 2/16/24, 5/9/24, 3/11/24]

  • The bar has hosted several “offensive political” and conspiracy theory trivia events where winners received an AR-15 or a Scorpion 3 pistol jokingly referred to as a “fully semi automatic extreme assault rifle.” These events were called “Extremely Offensive Political Trivia” or “Conspiracy Theory Trivia.” [Facebook, 5/10/23, 8/28/23, 11/13/23, 2/25/24]

  • The bar’s event is timed with recent right-wing calls to subvert Pride Month with other observances

  • The Federalist posited the idea of an “American Heritage Month” in June as “a holiday we can all take pride in.” The outlet attacked various months of visibility, such as Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, but considered Pride Month “perhaps the most egregious and in-your-face example of this ideological project of reshaping the American calendar.” [The Federalist, 5/29/24]

  • The Daily Signal promoted June 2 as “Ex-Gay Visibility Day” for people “the LGBTQ movement finds inconvenient.” The article briefly defended conversion therapy efforts by claiming “efforts to change sexual orientation don’t always work, but—contrary to the LGBTQ narrative—they do occasionally succeed.” [The Daily Signal, 5/28/24]

  • On The Five, Fox News host Greg Gutfeld quipped that it was “offensive” for the anniversary of D-Day to happen during Pride Month. Guest host Pete Hegseth agreed, “I think we should change that, Greg.” [Fox News, The Five, 6/3/24]

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    Citation From the June 3, 2024 edition of The Five, hosted by the Fox News Channel

  • On Ben Shapiro’s show, Hegseth chastised the Army for recognizing Pride Month when its birthday is also in June. “It's sort of the perfect end state of what the left would like,” said Hegseth. “You are an individual automaton that we will celebrate.” [The Daily Wire, The Ben Shapiro Show, 6/2/24]