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Nashville-based drag queen Veronika Electronika said she was tricked into participating in the right-wing, anti-transgender documentary The War on Children, and that her interview was heavily edited to change what she said.
In a recent article, Rolling Stone detailed the “deceptive tactics” allegedly used by filmmakers Robby and Landon Starbuck, whose film purports to explore the so-called sexualizing and grooming of children. The official description of the film on its website says that it features “whistleblowers, leftists caught on camera, survivors of child mutilation, trafficking victims, corporate executives exposing the plan to sexualize children, the creator of Libs of TikTok, Senator Rand Paul, Riley Gaines, Drag Performer, Pornhub’s Sex Ed Instructor, and many more.”
But according to Rolling Stone’s reporting, LGBTQ+ people and allies were approached under false pretenses. Emails obtained by the magazine show that Starbuck’s staff approached potential subjects about being interviewed for a movie with working titles like Identity Rising and It Takes a Village. Per Rolling Stone, Elektronika and others were told that the documentary would focus on the struggles of trans children, and how queer and trans people’s lives and mental health have been affected by the recent onslaught of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.
Some emails obtained by the magazine also claimed that the documentary would be directed by “award-winning” cinematographer Matt Rodgers, with no mention of Starbuck’s involvement, and that it would be distributed by a “household name” streaming service. When participants pressed for further information on the documentary, staffers claimed that they were under non-disclosure agreements, according to the emails. Almost all of the details that were shared, according to Rolling Stone,were “misleading or outright false.” Robby Starbuck is credited as the director and producer, and the film is only available on X and the right-wing video services Rumble and My Movies Plus.
Elektronika told Rolling Stone that last June, she arrived at a studio space to participate in what she was told would be an interview "on her views regarding the struggles faced by children in the trans community, and how the lives and mental health of LGBTQ+ people were being affected by the recent slew of bans and restrictions” on gender-affirming care and drag. She asked the interviewers what their last names were, and when they answered the latter with “Starbuck,” she attempted to exit the conversation.
“When I saw Mr. Starbuck walk through the hallway, I was like, ‘Wait a minute. I know this fucker,” Electronika told Rolling Stone. She added that the couple “tried to convince me to stay and I said, ‘You need to stop recording right now.’ The little red light kept going ... and then they wouldn’t stop. So I started recording myself.”
The incident is featured in the documentary, with the Starbucks asking her to “denounce behavior that is sexually explicit around children.” Elektronika provided her own recording to Rolling Stone, and the magazine wrote that her recording “makes clear that her conversation with the filmmakers was heavily edited to make it seem like she was completely unwilling to condemn the exposure of children to sexual material.” According to Rolling Stone, some of Elektronika’s answers were “used piecemeal,” and some were entirely left out of the final cut.
Sprinkled in among the thousands of glowing reviews are a few negative ones: “Watching this made me feel like a bad person."
“Obviously, parents can dictate what materials their children are exposed to,” Electronika told Rolling Stone. “There are no drag shows, or drag story hours, or LGBT events that are happening where children are showing up unaccompanied by a guardian or an adult. ... When we do have a drag event that is happening, where minors may be present, it would be a rare occurrence for anything sexually explicit to be occurring on stage.”
As Rolling Stone notes, these manipulative interview tactics are commonplace within right-wing media. The magazine also wrote that right-wing influencers are increasingly using the documentary format to “bypass social media and platform guidelines prohibiting hate speech

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