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Drag performer files defamation suit against North Idaho blogger

A banner hanging in a park with painted letters says, "So much Pride! In freedom of speech. Exist louder."
North Idaho Pride Alliance

A drag performer in the Coeur d’Alene LGBTQ+ pride event this summer filed a defamation lawsuit against a North Idaho blogger who accused him of exposing himself on stage.

The suit filed in Kootenai County Monday alleges Summer Bushnell, who runs a Facebook page and blog called “The Bushnell Report,” falsely stated Eric Posey flashed his genitalia to the public, including children.

Posey, whose drag name is “Mona Liza Million,” performed at Pride in the Park on June 11.

The complaint alleged Bushnell edited a video of Posey’s performance with a blur around his pelvic area to imply he exposed himself.

A blog post sharing the video is titled, “Why isn’t this man in jail?” More than 19,000 people viewed it on Facebook and, in the caption, Bushnell encouraged people to call the police.

A few weeks later, the city prosecutor’s office announced it had reviewed the unedited footage and found the claims against Posey to be unfounded.

Posey’s complaint alleged Bushnell knew the claims she made were false because she shared the unedited video with the city of Coeur d’Alene.

Bushnell did not respond to a request for comment sent by email Tuesday.

Wendy Olson, a lawyer for Posey, said he wants to set the record straight.

“He is speaking through this legal action against Ms. Bushnell to hold her accountable, and to put a stop to the hateful disinformation campaign that is being waged throughout Idaho,” she said.

Posey claims he has suffered extreme emotional distress as many believed he had committed a serious crime. He also said he received consequences from his employer. He’s seeking a jury trial for more than $10,000 in damages.

The Pride in the Park event was also the target of a white nationalist group called the Patriot Front. Thirty-one members found in the back of a U-Haul were charged with the misdemeanor of conspiring to riot during the celebration.

They came to Coeur d’Alene after local politicians shared anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric in relation to the event.

Earlier this month, Boise Pride Festival postponed its “Drag Kids” event due to safety concerns because a far-right group announced a protest. Before that, sponsors of the event had dropped out due to pressure from Idaho Republican Party Chair Dorothy Moon.

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen

Copyright 2022 Boise State Public Radio

As the south-central Idaho reporter, I cover the Magic and Wood River valleys. I also enjoy writing about issues related to health and the environment.