Masked men chanting name of neo-Nazi group demonstrate outside JP venue hosting drag queen story hour

The office of Mayor Michelle Wu said the police department’s civil rights unit is investigating “the targeting of the LGBTQ community members” because the demonstration coincided with the drag queen story hour.

“It’s no coincidence that these cowardly groups from outside our city continue to target Boston as we showcase how representative leadership, empowered communities, and bold policies can have immediate impact,” Wu said in a statement. “We are prepared and will not be intimidated in our work to make Boston a city for everyone. We remain ready for citywide deployment of extra public safety resources with a zero tolerance approach to any groups looking to intimidate or harass residents in our city.”

Diane W. Spears, president of the board of directors for the Loring Greenough House said the story hour had concluded and nearly all of the attendees were gone when the masked men assembled outside the venue and began protesting.

The men shouted NSC-131, she said, and made other remarks. NSC-131 is an abbreviation for Nationalist Social Club 131, which the Southern Poverty Law Center classified last year as a neo-Nazi group.

The men displayed a banner that read, “PEDO SCUM OFF OUR STREETS.” They attempted to hang the banner on the iron fence surrounding the mansion, but Spears said representatives from the Loring Greenough House stopped them.

“These guys who came knew nothing about us. They didn’t care in my opinion,” she said. “They had these face masks on to hide their identities. People who are like that are hard to respect.”

Patrick Burr, the drag performer who appeared at the Loring Greenough House as Patty Bourrée, said he began hearing chanting outside the house while he was upstairs changing out of his costume. A representative from the venue drove him away from the property without attracting attention from the demonstrators, he said.

But when he got home, Burr said he realized he left his ukulele at the mansion and returned to retrieve it. Counter-demonstrators had assembled by the time he got back, he said.

“I was so happy to see that,” Burr said. “I think these ‘keep the pedos off our street’ people think they are speaking for a silent majority, but they are not. You have to show up and you have to speak up to show that they are not speaking for you.”

Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden released a statement early Saturday afternoon denouncing the demonstrators in Jamaica Plain and calling them white supremacists.

“It’s clear that Boston is a way point in the crusade of hate launched five years ago in Charlottesville,” he said. “The presence of white supremacists at a Jamaica Plain book reading today, like their downtown Boston march earlier this month, is at once a disgrace and a warning. Society everywhere is targeted by these groups, and society everywhere must reject them.”

Spears said officers from District E-13 in Jamaica Plain had warned the Loring Greenough House in advance that demonstrators may target the story hour, and so the venue rescheduled the event for Saturday morning and held it indoors. Officers were positioned around the property before the event began, she said.

“They knew what they were doing,” Spears said of the police response. “I was very impressed because it could have ended with some fighting or physical harm.”

Laura Crimaldi can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi. John Hilliard can be reached at

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