Macy’s has responded to the controversy that was sparked by an online petition regarding the planned participation of a few nonbinary individuals in its upcoming Thanksgiving Day Parade.
As of Tuesday afternoon, nearly 22,000 people had signed the petition organized by One Million Moms that challenged what was described as “the not family-friendly’ parade. Signers did so in opposition to what was described as “the LGBTQ agenda” that Macy’s “is pushing on families” during its parade. Part of the American Family Association, the conservative organization’s goal is “to stop the exploitation of our children, especially by the entertainment media (TV, movies, music, etc.)”
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Asked for comment about the criticism of the performers, a Macy’s spokesperson issued the following statement. “For nearly 100 years the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has showcased the very best in entertainment, delighting Americans everywhere with the most popular music acts, the best of Broadway, our country’s finest marching bands and dance teams, and giant balloons and floats that capture your imagination.“
The statement continued, “Every performer and volunteer is there with one mission — to entertain millions of spectators and kick off the holiday season. We look forward to celebrating this iconic Thanksgiving tradition again next week.”
The 97th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade follows a 2.5-mile route from the Upper West Side to Herald Square, the location of its flagship. This year Cher and Jon Batiste will be among the performers. The petition signers reportedly are opposed to the inclusion of nonbinary cast members Justin David Sullivan and Alex Newell, who are respectively from the Broadway musicals “&Juliet” and “Shucked.” Media representatives for “& Juliet,” “Shucked” and NBC did not respond immediately to requests for comment Tuesday.
Signers adhered to the suggestions that, “Since this event goes against our beliefs and values, Macy’s has left conservative and Christian families with no choice but to avoid the parade and its stores, even during the holiday season. My family will not support Macy’s; you have lost our trust.”
In addition to attracting upward of 2 million spectators on the streets of New York, the parade is viewed by millions in 50 countries. This year’s new balloon additions will include Peanuts Worldwide’s Beagle Scout Snoopy, Cool Cats’ Blue Cat & Chugs, Universal Pictures’ Kung Fu Panda, Netflix’s Leo and Pillsbury’s Pillsbury Doughboy among others. Along with a slew of parade-related products, Macy’s will be serving up a metaverse experience.
Next week’s parade will be broadcast on NBC and Peacock starting at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 23. Last year’s parade attracted 27.7 million viewers via NBC and Peacock — a slight uptick compared to the 2022 base of 24.4 million, according to Variety.
This year’s lineup will include performances by the Big Apple Circus, Tap Dancing Christmas Trees and the Harlem Globetrotters. As in years past, thousands of New York City police officers will be stationed along the parade route. Asked if the police detail will be increased or security in the flagship will be enhanced, the Macy’s spokesperson said, “Each year Macy’s works hand-in-hand with the NYPD, city, state and federal law enforcement agencies to put in place extensive security plans for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The safety of our participants and spectators is our top priority.”
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