The academy drew James’s ire because it’s a one-of-its-kind charter school that, while open to all students, bills itself as being “LGBTQ-affirming,” according to AL.com.
In his campaign ad, James called this “exploitation” of children and “not education.”The ad, entitled “Genesis” (which features the faces of minors who attend the academy, for which reason The Advocate and other outlets are declining to include it in this coverage), contains footage of the school and a drag show fundraiser. “And now, right here in Alabama, millions of your tax dollars are paying for the first transgender public school in the South,” James said in the ad. “Enough of this foolishness.”Michael Wilson, principal of the Magic City Acceptance Academy, has called for the removal of the ad telling Al.com it’s “scaring the hell out of our kids.” He also noted that the drag show was no different than the tradition of “powder puff” football games, in which girls play football while boys cheer from the sidelines — a tradition that happens to occur at Baylor School in Tennessee, James’ alma mater.In response to Wilson’s call to remove the ad, James doubled down. “The principal said that the TV ad scared the children,” a statement read. “What should scare mothers and fathers of these children is what the faculty is doing by presenting this ungodly display through the drag show to which the children were subjected.”“What he’s doing is extremely dangerous to youth,” Alabama Democratic Party vice-chair Patricia Todd (and the state legislature’s first LGBTQ+ lawmaker) said of the campaign ad.
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