Two people were arrested at a New York City Council member's apartment building Monday after opponents of a drag reading event targeted it with messages the politician called “pure hate, unmasked,” officials said.
Two women were arrested on criminal trespass charges around 5 p.m. at the apartment building of council member Erik Bottcher, police and Bottcher said.
Bottcher said the arrested women had entered the building. He shared photos of messages written on the sidewalk outside calling him a “groomer” and a "predator."
Around 10 people were demonstrating when officers arrived at the building in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, police said. The incident remains under investigation, and the names of those arrested were not released, a department spokesperson said.
Bottcher on Twitter blamed protesters opposed to a recent “Drag Story Hour." A group had targeted the public reading event geared toward neurodiverse children at a library in Chelsea on Saturday, NBC New York reported.
“This is pure hate, unmasked,” Bottcher, who is gay, wrote in a tweet that had pictures showing the sidewalk messages. “If they think this is going to intimidate us, they’re mistaken. Our resolve is strengthened.”
Earlier Monday, the hallways in the building that houses Bottcher’s council district office were also vandalized, police said. Officers responded to that incident around 3 p.m., and no arrests have been made, according to police.
Right-wing figures and influencers have targeted drag events, sometimes with incendiary rhetoric about “groomers."
Bottcher, who was elected to represent District 3 last year and took office in January, said after Saturday's event that reading helps children grow, and he thanked the drag reading event organizers.
“Today I witnessed pure hatred and bigotry outside Drag Queen Story Hour at a public library in Chelsea,” Bottcher said. “Inside, I witnessed a loving and peaceful reading of children’s books to kids.”