Philadelphia drag performer Satine Harlow sparked some backlash after wearing a costume that many are calling offensive during a performance at the bar ICandy.
Harlow posted a pic on her Instagram of her outfit, a red bomber jacket with a swastika made out of black mechanical tape on the back. She also featured the caption “Heil Hitler.” This is what really stirred people, because many saw the outfit with no additional context, not knowing why she was wearing the outfit in the first place.
“When I saw the musical number,” one audience member said, “I realized Satine was inspired by the Broadway musical The Producers. But when I checked Satine’s Instagram page, how they promoted themselves was a different story.”
Some were upset that the performance took place at ICandy, a bar that has a negative history itself after the owner was caught on video saying the “n-word.”
“I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. Choosing to perform at ICandy is a political statement,” wrote drag performer Ann Artist. “Given the fact that this is the stance these performers choose I’m never surprised when they do anything that’s tacky and in poor taste like this. This level of bad taste is reflected in the name of the establishment and mirrored through the irreverence the performers have for their fellow community members.”
On Tuesday morning, Satine Harlow, who is Jewish, took to her Instagram story to post the following statement:
Are people really freaking the fuck out about a Jewish gay man doing an iconic number from a musical? Jesus Christ. Lighten the fuck up. It’s drag. We’re professional, some of us, pigs in wigs. Breathe. I stand by what I did…and if you disagree, unfollow me because you have no sense of humor.
But after an article was published on G Philly, Harlow out-of-drag posted a Facebook Live video, proclaiming her Jewish identity and explaining that the bar had no foreknowledge of her costume or performance. She also apologized that people were upset by her performance and post.
In the video (above), Satine Harlow said:
I’d rather just address this out loud and rather not type a huge long thing. I’d rather you hear it from my mouth. Today, was def a learning experience for me. I just want to say from the bottom of my heart I’m really sorry if people were offended by what I did last night by my performance. It was a Broadway themed show and so I did a number from one of my favorite musicals which is The Producers, which is a “Springtime for Hitler.”
I am no stranger to doing slapstick, borderline offensive comedy. That is what I have always done in my seen years in performing in drag. However, that being said, I forget that we are in a very different time right now and that maybe a little censorship could have gone a long way.
Harlow later added: “I’m sorry if anyone is upset or offended. That def was not my intention. I just wanted everyone to know from the bottom of my heart that I am a good person who I guess made a mistake. I am a human and I can take this as a learning experience. And I’m sorry.”