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Colorado City May Cancel Future Pride Events Over Drag Queen Nip Slip

This City May Cancel All Future Pride Events Over Drag Queen Nip Slip

Apparently the nipple wasn’t even real.

CASTLE ROCK, Colorado (KCNC) -- One of Douglas County's commissioners says he's considering banning future PrideFests from county property after an incident at this past weekend's event.

An annual celebration of the LGBTQ community, Douglas County PrideFest returned to the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock this weekend. The event is put on by the non-profit group, Castle Rock Pride.

Video of this year's Douglas County PrideFest drew criticism from a county commissioner after a wardrobe malfunction involving a fake nipple.

Now, the event's future at the fairgrounds could be in jeopardy. It all surrounds a wardrobe malfunction during a drag routine, in which a performer's clothing slipped, showing the audience a nipple on a silicone breastplate included in their costume.

In a statement released Sunday, Castle Rock Pride and the planning committee for Douglas County PrideFest acknowledged and apologized for the incident, saying the accidental slip was not approved and unacceptable.

"We are adding additional steps and oversight to our entertainment planning process to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future," organizers said in the statement.

The following night, Douglas County Commissioner George Teal denounced the incident in a Facebook post, labeling the performance as "exotic adult entertainment" and a zoning violation.

"Given this Zoning Violation, and our current rules of use that require all users of the Fairgrounds to follow all applicable laws and regulations, I do believe I have a second vote to ban the return of Pridefest in the future," Teal said in his Facebook post.

CBS4 requested an interview with Teal Tuesday but he declined.

A second statement released by Castle Rock Pride once again apologized for the incident but also said it should not tarnish the reputation of the future of the event.

"It's unacceptable that there are politicians who characterize our family friendly entertainment as exotic adult dancing and who want to make this single incident an excuse to follow their agenda to erode diversity, equity, and inclusion for all in Douglas County," the statement read.

Andy McNulty is a civil rights attorney who successfully fought a topless ban for women in Fort Collins. He says in this case, there's no legal basis for indecency or zoning issues, but if commissioners ban future pride events it would violate the 1st amendment, as well as the 14th amendment's equal protection clause.

Civil rights attorney Andy McNulty says banning a PrideFest would be unconstitutional.

"The idea that someone wearing a costume at a pride event could lead to a zoning violation for exotic dancing is just so farcical it's beyond comprehension," McNulty said. "I hope they don't take this action, but if they do, I'm sure that they will be in federal court pretty soon."

On Tuesday, the Denver PrideFest organizers also weighed in, applauding Castle Cock Pride for creating a safe and welcoming environment for the LGBTQ community. In the same statement, the organization's CEO denounced Teal's statements.

"It is unfortunate that a misguided county official is trying to score some cheap political points by using a simple wardrobe malfunction for which Castle Rock Pride has already issued an apology as an excuse to ban that community's annual Pride celebration," said Rex Fuller, CEO of The Center on Colfax.

"The Pride movement was started in response to attempts to keep the LBGTQ community in the closet and stifle free expression, he continued. "This is a reminder that although we have made great progress since then, we still have a long way to go until we can enjoy full equality."

Douglas County's two other commissioners also weighed in on the issue Tuesday.

"Unlike my colleagues, I believe accusations and condemnation should be based on all available facts and evidence," Commissioner Lora Thomas said in a statement sent to CBS4. "As such, I am reserving my decision until all facts/evidence are in, along with any legal advice/counsel we receive."

On Twitter, Commissioner Abe Laydon said he was not part of any discussions to ban PrideFest.

In a statement, Laydon said, "I will not use the power of government to support thinly veiled bigotry and anti-gay rhetoric."

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