The Hoboken Republican Party is calling for “explicit content” to be removed from tomorrow’s “Banned Books Read-a-Thon” hosted by the public library, though Mayor Ravi Bhalla says none ever existed.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Our concern is that Mayor Bhalla and his administration have not acknowledged the concerns parents have with exposing elementary school aged children to explicit content found in the books listed on the Hoboken Public Library’s table of contents for this event,” Hoboken GOP Chair Joe Branco said in a statement.
“The books showed included graphic sexual acts that regardless of the participants gender identity or sexuality would be considered inappropriate for children, many felt it was just not age-appropriate material. Mayor Bhalla is very focused, as is the Hoboken Republican Party in supporting our LBGTQIA+ community. We feel the content chosen should be reconsidered to be more age appropriate.”
Hoboken has regularly celebrated Pride month with a number of public events for the past decade, though this particular event came under fire after LibsofTikTok, a popular far right Twitter account with 2.2 million followers, tweeted remarks opposing the event on Wednesday, as HCV first reported.
Branco, also the 5th District Republican nominee for Hudson County commissioner, said that the administration too often writes off different points of view that doesn’t align with their own and this is an opportunity to take a different approach.
“We believe in respect and inclusivity. Our concern is that too often, we have an administration that turns community input that challenges their ideas into hateful rhetoric, and that is not leadership,” he added.
In response, Bhalla told HCV that right wing extremists, including Neo-Nazi sympathizers, Proud Boys, and homophobes, have continually spread misinformation about the event and the local Republican party has bought into it.
“ … These accounts spread the misinformation that children were going to be ‘groomed’ and that pornography was going to be distributed to minors. Nothing could be further from the truth, however the truth does not matter to these far right-wing accounts, and unsurprisingly don’t matter to the party of Donald Trump,” he stated
“Facts matter: as the Hoboken Public Library has stated, no explicit materials will be read or shown to children of any kind, full stop, and only age-appropriate books will be read to respective audiences. The city would never endorse any event where explicit content was provided to children. The adult book with graphics circulated by far-right wing accounts will not be read to children.”
He also called on the Hoboken GOP to focus their energy on working with him and other legislators on critical issues such as ending gun violence, securing women’s reproductive rights, and addressing climate change.
The event, hosted at Church Square Park tomorrow, begins with a “Drag Queen Story Hour” with Harmonica Sunbeam, with the Banned Book Read-a-Thon beginning at 11:30 a.m. and running until about 4 p.m.