SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. (WNCN) — The power in Moore County went out Saturday night during a drag show in Southern Pines.
Drag artist Naomi Dix was performing in the Downtown Divas drag show at Sunrise Theater when it happened.
She said she initially thought the lights going out was part of the lighting in the show.
A few minutes later, Dix learned the outage was across Moore County.
“Then my initial reaction after that was that it potentially could have something to do with the hatred that we were receiving because of the event,” Dix said.
Sandhills Pride, BlueprintNC, the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP and local drag artists held a news conference Thursday to discuss what they say were weeks of bullying, threats, and a protest against the drag show and a potential connection to the timing of the substation attack.
“I am a person in a community and I think we all have the ability to note these things at a minimum happened at the same time, at a minimum we had a hotly contested disagreement in the community about the existence of a drag show,” said Blueprint NC Executive Director Serena Sebring.
A spokesperson for the FBI said it’s premature to discuss a motive.
Speakers also pointed to anti-drag attacks across the country.
According to GLAAD, Texas and North Carolina had the highest number of drag events targeted by protests and threats this year at ten each.
“This is to a larger issue here, and that larger issue is is that the queer, trans, and drag community are being attacked,” Dix said. “Whether it had anything to do with the show or not, that I don’t know, that’s why we have FBI investigating.”
On Sunday, Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields was asked about a potential connection between the attack and the drag show.
“None that I’m aware of,” Fields said. “Is it possible, yes, anything’s possible, but we have not been able to tie anything back to the drag show.”
When CBS 17 asked on Thursday, Chief Deputy Richard Maness said nothing is leading them back to the drag show, but every possibility is still on the table in this investigation.
Dix said she has not been questioned by investigators.
Dix said she will continue to work in Moore County and is helping plan a food drive there this Saturday that will also offer mental health resources to people.
Officials will not say if they’re looking at any connections to the outage and domestic extremism, saying they don’t want to release any information that could jeopardize the investigation.