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Patrons Outraged Over Racist, Transphobic Show at Famous Leather Bar

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A popular gay leather bar in Chicago celebrated its 45th anniversary with a performance that critics found so offensive that one of the establishment’s bartenders quit on the spot and several patrons got up and left the bar.

The famous kink and leather bar Touché hired puppeteer Jerry Halliday to entertain a crowd assembled for the anniversary soiree.

Video clips of the performance show jokes that played on stereotypes and racist tropes of Black women and transgender people.Halliday, who is white, pulled out a black puppet that he introduced as “Sista Girl,” which, according to bartender Cris Bleaux, made him immediately uncomfortable.Halliday changed his voice to sound like a caricature of a Black person.

Witnesses tell The Advocate that he made jokes about welfare, watermelon, and having multiple kids. He also belittled the names of Black children, witnesses said, and went so far as to reveal what he called an “afro puff...Brillo pad” beneath the puppet’s clothing where human genitalia would be.“Everyone in the crowd thinks this is a little weird for 2022,” says an unidentified patron to Halliday, who is sitting on a stage facing the crowd with the puppet to his side.“Everybody who wants this man to shut up, make some noise [and] clap,” Halliday replies through the voice of his puppet.One can hear multiple people clapping and booing the patron, who appears to leave the bar.Several audience members also walk out mid-performance, including Bleaux.

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