The LGBT community of Rehoboth Beach, DE has always been known to be a tight-knit one, and their drag performers are truly leaders throughout the community. Whether they are performing at The Pines, Blue Moon or Diego’s Bar & Nightclub, Rehoboth dolls like Magnolia Applebottom are what give the city its endlessly welcoming heart. During her show this past Sunday at Blue Moon (the aptly titled Climax), one of the attendees was Lewes, DE Assistant Fire Chief Bill Buckaloo, who based on his own Facebook post below (which ended up shared numerous times as he tagged the Blue Moon in his original post) was compelled to use an anti-gay slur in his description of the event.
Applebottom’s online response was both prompt and direct; “Tonight Mr Bill Henry Buckaloo attended my show and thought it appropriate to use a slur to describe my show on social media… Mr Buckaloo (Fire Chief of the Lewes Fire Department)… I am a proud member of this LGBT+ community. Also I am a proud employee of the Blue Moon. My shows might not be for everyone and that is totally fine, but you will not use derogatory language to define what I do or what my place of employment is offering to the public. You sir have an obligation as fire chief to protect and serve the people in your community, not to belittle them. Your choices are alarming and inappropriate. I hope you hold yourself responsible for the actions that you took on social media.“
Immediately, the outcry from the vocal and supportive community of Rehoboth Beach has been strong. Local resident and performer Brian Gray (who performs as Fancie Charmington throughout the year) said in part about Buckaloo “your job is a high profile respected profession and you just brought disgrace to all who risk their lives each day.”
Local resident and drag supporter Jeremy Clark said “Had a lovely time at Magnolias Climax show tonight with my friends… however, it seems like someone may have felt a little differently. I’m calling attention to this hate and bringing it to the front for everyone to see. This mentality still very much exists and what is wrong with our country.”
The LGBTQ community is quick to speak out against injustice, but even quicker to take action. Early this morning, calls and emails were directed to the Lewes Fire Department, with Rehoboth Beach resident Mitch Case emailing The Washington Blade a screenshot of the post. Late today, The Washington Blade reported that Lewis Fire Department Chief Steve Evans told the Blade during a telephone interview late Monday that he has removed Buckaloo from his position. “I removed him immediately,” said Evans. Evans also said he expects the department will formally suspend Buckaloo later on Monday.
Magnolia Applebottom spoke exclusively with me, saying of Buckaloo “his actions and choice of words were unacceptable. His empty apology is just words for me. I feel better that he has been held accountable for what he did and hopefully he can learn to be a more accepting person. I will continue to perform and be the best entertainer I can be.”
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(Requests to both Mr. Buckaloo & the Lewes Fire Department for comment went unanswered)