After the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus uploaded a YouTube video song, they were inundated with death threats from conservatives. The reason for the death threats stemmed from a “joke” that the choir thought was going to go over well with their viewers. As part of the lyrics of the video performance, the choir sings that they “convert” children into tolerant, open-minded free thinkers.

The video, which the chorus has since taken down from their YouTube channel, starts with a serious message from the members of the group. It stated: “As we celebrate Pride and progress we’ve made over these past years, there’s still work to be done,” the singer says directly into the camera. “So to those of you out there who are still working against equal rights, we have a message for you.”

The gay man then breaks into song: “You think we’re sinful, you fight against our rights, you say we all lead lives you can’t respect, but you’re just frightened, you think that we’ll corrupt your kids if our agenda goes unchecked, funny, just this once, you’re correct.”

At this point, the song becomes a satire. The sarcastic singer continues, “We’ll convert your children, happens bit by bit, quietly and subtly, and you will barely notice it. You can keep them from disco, warn about San Francisco, make ’em wear pleated pants. We don’t care. We’ll convert your children. We’ll make them tolerant and fair.”

Although most people realized the tongue-in-cheek message, the chorus admitted that they were slammed with some aggressive responses, including death threats from “alt-right” viewers.

“The far-right conservative media found our ‘Message…’ video and have taken it as their cause. This has all happened in the last twenty-four hours, and it continues to pick up steam. They have taken the lyrics out of context to support a narrative that suits their intolerant and hateful needs. It is obvious the tongue-in-cheek humor is lost on many. As a result, we have seen the user comments on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram become increasingly alarming. Emails to individuals and the chorus office are vitriolic- including threats of harm.”

Unfortunately, the critics seemed to miss the message entirely.

“They have taken the lyrics out of context to support a narrative that suits their intolerant and hateful needs,” a statement from the chorus said. “It is obvious the tongue-in-cheek humor is lost on many. As a result, we have seen the user comments on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram become increasingly alarming. Emails to individuals and the chorus office are vitriolic- including threats of harm.”

Eventually, the hate from the far-right grew too hot, and the group decided to take their video down.

“It was a difficult decision because we are an organization whose mission really is both artistic but also activist,” said chorus director Chris Verdugo to Yahoo Life. “We are the first gay men’s chorus on the planet. … We are a social justice organization … so it’s very difficult for us to decide to take down that video. But the soloists — who are not in the chorus but, in their own right, rising Broadway stars, have received death threats.”

What do you think about the lyrics?

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