What a drag: Facebook takes down Hennessy’s page after receiving complaints

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Hennessy’s Irish Pub in Merida, Yucatán. Photo: Facebook

Facebook took down the Hennessy’s Irish Pub page after receiving complaints about its upcoming drag trivia night, the restaurant’s owner said.

Sean Hennessy said that right-wing activists in the United States targeted his page, reporting it as offensive. A “war on drag” is currently underway north of the border, where cross-dressing bans are being pushed in Tennessee and Texas, among other jurisdictions.  

But he never expected Facebook — or its bots — to remove his page, even if it’s just temporarily. Followers urged him to submit an appeal.

“I am in shock that a business page can be treated this way and would love to know what community standard we broke,” Hennessy posted on his personal Facebook page. “Drag is very much part of the Mexican community and my community. I am outraged.”

Sean Hennessy. Photo: Abraham Bojórquez / Yucatán Magazine

Indeed, several nightclubs today regularly feature drag acts, and a massive, glittery Pride parade marches past Hennessy’s each June. 

Hennessy’s has its supporters, too. The success of the Aug. 2 drag trivia event exceeded expectations when tickets quickly sold out

The Facebook page has 11,000 followers, normally announcing weekly menu specials and musical acts. Hennessy said he did not know the exact nature of the complaint or when Facebook will restore the page.

Kimmy Bomba introduced Drag Queen Story Hour to Merida in 2019. Photo: Courtesy

Drag has been targeted by U.S. conservatives, especially after appearances aimed at a broader public — like storytime — became popular. 

“Your page has become unpublished,” reads Facebook’s notice, which was posted as a screenshot. “This is because Hennessy’s Irish Pub goes against our Community Standards on account integrity and authentic identity. We have these standards because we want everyone to feel safe, respected and welcome. If your content goes against our Community Standards again, your account may be restricted or disabled.”

Drag Trivia Night’s second edition will go on as planned at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16. Tickets (250 pesos) are available through WhatsApp at 999-509-7089. All proceeds go to the charitable Yucatan Kids organization. All expenses will be covered by Hennessy’s. 

Related: Hennessy’s new mission is helping charities help others

Lee Steele
Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012.
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