Protest At Prison-Themed Pride Party Turns Violent, Unruly Activists Charged With Felony Assault

costars and Sebastian Young, Johnny Rapid in Men.com's "Prison Shower" series.

At least a half dozen “highly militant” LGBT protesters were arrested and threatened with felony assault charges for their involvement in a violent protest that formed in response to the “Prison of Love” party outside of the Kink.com Armory building in San Francisco on Saturday night.

As you may recall, a handful of angry bloggers and DIY social media activists were offended by the event, a prison fantasy themed dance party marketed largely toward gay men, alleging that it “trivialized” the LGBT incarceration rate and profited from “genocidal practices.” The sentiment was kicked off by a Jezebel blogger known as Kat Callahan, who incorrectly identified the “problematic” event as being one officially-sanctioned by San Francisco Pride.

According to SFBG, around 150 people belonging to an activist group called “Gay Shame” arrived at the Armory to protest around 10pm. The protests quickly turned violent as a handful of “unruly” activists began throwing eggs at security guards, spitting on partygoers at the scene, and launching “metal objects” with slingshots at those across the picket line. In a statement to the paper, Kink.com CEO Peter Acworth said the “protesters were largely peaceful,” but “at least a dozen were highly militant.”

Witnesses say the arrests happened shortly before midnight down the street at the 16th Street Mission BART Plaza, where security guards had followed the protesters in an attempt to identify the provocateurs to police. Witnesses say the protesters turned violent upon their arrest because they felt unfairly targeted by police.

According to San Francisco Police Department spokesman Albie Esparza:

Esparza confirmed that a security guard followed the protesters down to the plaza, though for the purpose of identifying the offenders when the police arrived. One protester reportedly threw a metal object and made threats toward a security guard during the protest, both of which are being charged as felonies, while another allegedly through an egg and spit on a security guard. When the police attempted to arrest the protester for the alleged felonies, Esparza said two other protesters tried to intervene. They were arrested and charged with lynching—a violation of Penal Code 405a, defined as “the taking by means of a riot of any person from the lawful custody of any peace officer.”

Two other protesters were cited for interfering with an officer and resisting arrest, and released, according to Esparza. The protesters who allegedly threw the egg was cited for battery and released, he said.

Armory facilities manager Andrew Harvill confirmed that protesters “’used a slingshot to propel objects at security,’ and punched and spat in the face of the Armory’s manager of security.” Four of the six originally arrested have been released on bail.

Earlier last month, Acworth acknowledged that he had tried to communicate peacefully with protesters to find a middle ground. “I realize that Pride is both a celebration of LGBTQ identities and historically a time when serious issues that affect queer communities are highlighted,” he wrote in an open letter on his blog. “Had I thought that a prison fantasy party would detract from the very serious issue of the prison industrial complex in this country, I would have insisted on another theme.”

In a follow-up email to SFBG, Acworth added: “I attempted to negotiate directly with the crowd, but this proved unsuccessful. This was frustrating, because I agree with the underlying issue that we are in need of prison reform…Had it been possible to change the theme, we would have done so.”

Meanwhile, it appears that everything inside the Armory went off without a hitch:

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  • gskorich

    can we take a guess at which group from LGBT the militant protesters belonged too? brings shame to all, they really should be taken out of LGBT and given their own group considering their agenda is so militant

  • Charlie in Charge

    I don’t want to tell people what they can and cannot be offended by – but it feels like the wrong sort of thing to focus on. Just as children dressed as Jason Voorhees on Halloween are not advocating for serial murder, a prison-themed party is not actually advocating for prison rape. Is it romanticizing it? Sure but any sexual fantasy about power imbalance (teacher/student, coach/athlete, kidnapper/victim) is romanticizing something we would not actually find acceptable.

  • Qjersey

    Yes violence directed at gays will bring people to your side of the debate.

  • Kev

    Seems like working to change sentencing laws, etc. would be a better “activist” approach.

  • Gothrykke

    Moral crusaders without their bibles. If Helen Lovejoy was a ‘liberal’, this is the group she’d be with. Doesn’t surprise me Jezebel’s people are involved in this mess.

  • Stache99

    Social media activists? Lol

    I can pretty much can already figure out the types that were out there with their faux outrage. Yeah, throwing eggs will really show em girls.

    Prison rape has always been a sexual fantasy for some. No different then any other fetish scene. It has nothing to do with reality.

  • Stache99

    Based on the success of the event and the complete non support their getting here it looks like their protest was an epic fail. Good.

  • Stache99

    While I’m at it I might as well add myself to that list. I used to have allot of forced rape fantasies from watching Oz. Made for allot of good J/O sessions. Yeah, I realize that fantasy and reality are two separate things but still..:)

  • Spike

    @gskorich: Angry bitter fringe lesbians.

  • TomMc

    “arrested and threatened with felony assault charges”

    Oh, the irony.

  • bobbyjoe

    They should do a pirate theme next year and see if the same dummies show up to protest because piracy is still a problem in some parts of the world (a la “Captain Phillips”). If they don’t show up, they’re hypocrites; if they do, they’re at least consistent, albeit insane.

  • michael mellor

    Yay for the protest. Peter Acworth oversees a disgusting porn enterprise which exploits women in order to prop up the sleazy straight guy fantasy. Women are often hit and man-handled forcefully, including by other women, for the benefit of straight guys.

    Have gay men lost the plot to the extent that they approve of this violent treatment of women at The Armory?

  • Lvng1tor

    The irony of breaking the law committing battery/felony assault and getting arrested while protesting a party that they feel belittles LGBTQ incarcerated individuals and their treatment in jail….

  • seaguy

    How pathetic are these people they have nothing better to do during pride than harass people attending a private party, and then take it too far assaulting some. I hope they rot in jail.

  • seaguy

    @michael mellor: Whatever. Assaulting people is not legal and is wrong. You probably think porn is evil and should be banned. What a prude.

  • Will L

    @seaguy: Well put. I like the way you think.

    While I personally do not get into prison fantasy, some do and porn definitely sells. Let he who has never looked at porn cast the first stone. Let them have their party. I don’t really see what that has to do with trivializing the LGBT incarceration rate. These protesters sound like nut cases who are no better than Westboro.

  • michael mellor

    I’m not a prude at all. I go to nude beaches.

    The problem with most theme parties is that they hide behind the gay rights banner as if to say that sleaze, fetishes and promiscuity are protected by the gay rights notion. No, they are not.

    The Armory is a hole which features violent sexual acts against women, which are marketed to straight guys. Shut the place down and prosecute them.

  • Tracy Pope

    @michael mellor: You don’t come across as someone who knows much about fetishism or the Armory. You seem quite hostile and reactionary, much like the nut jobs who ended up arrested.

  • michael mellor

    Tracy Pope,

    I’m glad that gay activists are protesting against the sexism and violence that occurs at this porn enterprise. I hope they shut it down.

  • gskorich

    stop saying LGBT. it was the militant transpeople. why do they hide under the LGBT umbrella when they do bad things. they should be called trans-activists

  • Ben Dover

    Great, now they’re going to be experts on what prison life is REALLY like, so they can help plan next year’s prison theme party! Everybody wins!

    @Tracy Pope: It’s always a safe bet that whatever “michael mellor” is against, sane people should be for and vice versa.

  • Mike

    Stupid….. It was Pride for fuck sake not some church picnic!

Comments are closed.