Organizers of the controversial "drag queen story time" in Houston, Texas, have thrown in the towel and are canceling the program over revelations about one of their participants and the public outrage that followed.
In a letter published Tuesday, program directors Trent Lira and Devin Will said that they could not continue because of threats made against them and their performers.
They said that they were shocked and disappointed when it was discovered that one of their former readers was a convicted sex offender.
"We had insisted and insisted that what we were doing was safe for children, and yet here was a performer who had been charged with sexual assault of a minor," they explained in the letter. "We didn't know about the conviction prior to last week, but it would have come up if a background check had been conducted.
"It was a systematic mistake," they concluded.
They said that one protester was arrested and later found to be carrying a gun, although legally and licensed to do so.
"People are being threatened. People are being hurt," they said.
"We believe in what we're doing, but we don't believe in putting our friends, our families, or our children in danger," they concluded.
The controversial program was also the subject of a lawsuit against the library that was dismissed.
The program directors and participants say that it was meant to inculcate tolerance in children, but critics argue that it introduces children too early to a controversial narrative about issues of gender and sexuality.
"I just want to expose them to things they don't get to see every day," explained mom Erin Burnett, "and want it to become more normal and more accepted."
Here's how the local media covered the controversy:
Houston's 'Drag Queen Storytime' at center of legal, political fight www.youtube.com