A Chicago-area café postponed an evening drag show after the business was vandalized over the weekend.
UpRising Bakery and Café in Lake in the Hills was to host a “brunch at night” event Saturday with performances by three drag queens and a raffle drawing, alongside the café’s standard brunch offerings.
It was not billed as a kids’ event — tickets were $35 for the show and a meal, or $50 with “bottomless mimosas” — but the cafe’s Facebook announcement early this month described it as family-friendly. Owner Corinna Sac said that was to let people know the show would not include nudity or sexual content.
After an onslaught of insults and attacks both online and in the cafe, the “family-friendly” designation was omitted from the advertising. Still, the threats continued, with employees being called “groomers” and “pedophiles.”
Several days before the event — which had sold out in advance — the town’s police department issued a statement warning against disruptive protests.
Shortly after midnight on Saturday, police officers were notified of “in-progress criminal damage to property,” the department said in a news release. Upon arrival, they arrested a suspect, who was charged with a hate crime and criminal damage to property. Both charges are Class 4 felonies, according to the police news release.
They said the 24-year-old man was from Alsip, 60 miles away.
Sac said that three windows and a door were broken, and “there was graffiti on the side of our building on the brick walls,” which included hate speech, a vulgar insult about “groomers” and the statement “Christ is King.”
“When I first saw it, I just started crying. … I was scared, I was hurt, I was angry, I was disgusted, and I was a little bit worried that my employees might have been here or seen it as well, so I contacted them, and they, fortunately, had gone home already.”
“The Police Department is disheartened this happened in our village, remain steadfast in our commitment to public safety and have zero tolerance to crimes against all members (of) our community,” police said in the release.
The incident comes just weeks after a Drag Queen Story Hour at the San Leandro library was disrupted by men believed to be members of the Proud Boys. Drag performances have come under attack by conservative politicians and activists over the past months.
Sac commended the police’s response to the incident and the controversy around the event. “They have been so amazing working with us, working with the community, working with the protesters and counterprotesters,” Sac said. “I cannot give more credit to the police department.”
And while the Saturday show has been postponed, Sac is planning on hosting another event.
“We’re not going to back down to these bullies and harassment,” she said. “It’s unacceptable what they’re doing and we’re not going to back down.”
“We’re going to show them that this might have stopped us for a day, but we are a force to be reckoned with.”
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