In a newly released New York Times article, now-retired Huntsville drag queen teacher, James Miller, discusses backlash after his drag queen story hour videos went viral.
Miller, a recently retired teacher at Mountain Gap Middle School, has moonlighted as a drag queen for decades under the persona of Madge D. Vine (Majesty Divine).
Miller came under fire in Oct. 2022 after LibsofTikTok released videos of Miller reading a children's book at a dog rescue where children were present, making quips that some found inappropriate.
In the videos posted to the Madge D Vine Facebook page, Miller can be heard commenting that "everybody likes a big bone," also saying all men "have meat on their mind."
After the videos surfaced, Miller was placed on paid leave from Mountain Gap but returned to the classroom within two weeks.
After 1819 News uncovered audio of Miller admitting to "strategically" and "covertly" placing LGBTQ+ material in his classroom in December 2022, it was revealed by state education officials that Miller was retiring that month.
Miller's story grabbed national attention, leading to an opinion piece written in the New York Times by Lydia Polgreen.
In the piece, Polgreen traveled to Alabama and spoke to Miller on the eve of his retirement as he was about to perform at a bar.
In the piece, Miller opined on the response to the revelation of his performances, claiming he received messages of hate and support.
"It's funny — all these people who complain about cancel culture, and now they are trying to cancel my whole existence," Miller told Polgreen.
The article claims that Miller "kept a strict divide between his classroom and his life outside of school." This seemingly contradicts statements made by Miller in which he boasted of promulgating LGBTQ+ material in his classroom.
In the article, Miller says he tested the hiring committee before accepting the job at Mountain Gap Middle School, insinuating that he would have to discuss the job with his husband and son. Even though the hiring committee passed his test, it was unclear if he informed them of his drag queen pastime.
"When I was interviewing, I said to myself: I don't want to spend another 20 years in the closet," Miller said.
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