The effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on the performing arts has been little short of catastrophic: no indoor live performances, so most live entertainment has ceased. From this, it follows that performers, and indeed the venues where they perform, have had their income streams more or less terminated until the country gets back to whatever will pass for the new normal. So Arts Council England have intervened.
Readers are also told “Arts Council England are distributing £500 million to cash-strapped venues … £215,000 went to Le Gateau Chocolat Ltd, run by performer George Ikediashi … But several renowned clubs and venues have had their applications rejected”, before the grudging addition of “The council defending the grant size saying it would go towards hiring freelancers to put on planned shows”. So it’s not just about one man.
So he, by implication, can’t be popular and cash-strapped. Also, “The sum - which is more than seven times the average national salary - came despite the act never grossing even half that sum in a year”. By now, the not-really-racist-honestly buttons have been pressed, and with the knowledge that this is about an LBGTQ+ drag artist, the screaming-paranoia-at-anything-not-straight-and-white buttons soon will be.
In other words, it’s not just about one gay black man. But the story had already been shaped that way before it got to the Mail: the initial exposé had come from yet another posh white hack, Tom Harwood, replacement teaboy to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog. Harwood had told his audience “Arts Council Gave £215,305 In Coronavirus Recovery To Solo Drag Act”, and later “Arts Council Defends Handing £215,305 To One Drag Performer”. It was an “enormous pot of free money”.
Bigotry and dishonesty is the name of this particular game. No change there, then.