Viral kids creator Ms. Rachel brushes off conservative backlash toward Pride Month post

The social media creator told NBC News that she believes "there should be less division and more dialogue.”

Rachel Griffin Accurso, the social media creator and teacher known as Ms. Rachel, is standing firm in her celebration of Pride Month amid public outcry from some conservative parents to boycott her.

On Saturday, the preschool teacher-turned-YouTube star posted a 25-second video on the first day of Pride Month, which is celebrated annually in June to honor the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.

“Happy Pride to all of our wonderful families and friends,” Accurso, who has an audience of more than 10 million subscribers on YouTube and 2.1 million followers on Instagram, said. “This month and every month I celebrate you. I’m so glad you’re here. I’m so glad you’re exactly who you are.”

The post, which garnered more than 120,000 likes on Instagram and 393,000 on TikTok, became immediate fodder for the anti-LGBTQ culture war, which has infiltrated classrooms, libraries and online rhetoric. Right-wing circles in recent years have pushed anti-LGBTQ narratives by accusing the community of being pedophiles, weaponizing the term “groomer” to antagonize LGBTQ people and their allies.

A slew of right-wing figures blasted Accurso online and used their platforms to encourage parents to bar their children from watching her content.

Daily Wire host Matt Walsh, who describes himself in his social media bio as a “theocratic fascist,” reposted Accurso’s Pride-themed video to X, writing: “This is a message to conservatives parents. She doesn’t want your business. You should respond accordingly.”

2022: Meet Ms. Rachel, the preschool teacher turned YouTube star

Several popular commentators in right-wing circles, including YouTuber Abby Shapiro (the sister of popular conservative pundit Ben Shapiro) and Morgonn McMichael (a Turning Point USA contributor), echoed Walsh’s criticism. The inflammatory Libs of TikTok social media account also posted about the creator on X.

Walsh, Shapiro and McMichael did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday.

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Accurso appeared to have anticipated the backlash, as she noted the potential loss of anti-LGBTQ viewers in her Saturday video. She said that she is “not chasing fame or views” but rather “standing strong in love.”

This vocal social media criticism led her to make a response video on Monday morning, in which she told viewers her faith is “really important” to her and is part of why she chooses to “love every neighbor,” citing one of the most alluded to Christian principles in the Bible.

In a statement to NBC News, Accurso said that she has received some emails from those who said they “couldn’t watch anymore due to [her] support of the LGBTQ+ community.” But she said she “responded to that with love which was genuine.”

“We have met so many wonderful families who watch the show, all with different beliefs, religions and political views,” Accurso wrote in an email on Monday. “We treat everyone with empathy and respect. I think it’s important to find common ground, and we all want what’s best for our little ones. I believe there should be less division and more dialogue.”

Some online showed gratitude for Accurso’s open acceptance of the LGBTQ community and defended her from the right-wing criticism.

This is not the first time the creator has been at the target of conservatives’ ire. Last year, some parents expressed anger and frustration around her featuring a nonbinary co-star in her videos. The outcry grew so intense that Accurso announced she was taking a break from TikTok, writing, “Hurtful videos and comments, no matter how much attention they get, will not bring you want you want. Only love can do that.”

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But Accurso has not shied away from being vocal on topics that may generate political controversy. Earlier this month, she said she experienced bullying after launching a fundraiser for children living in conflict zones, including the Gaza Strip.

“That is who I am,” she said in an emotional video at the time. “I love my neighbor. I love every child.”

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