Police are investigating after threatening phone calls were received by Victoria business, leading to an all-ages drag show being cancelled.
Sashay Cafe: Emo Edition, presented by For The Love of Drag, was scheduled for Saturday (June 18) but organizers cancelled the event after a phone call threatening violence.
In a social media post, For the Love Of Drag said authorities have been involved and it is being taken very seriously.
In an earlier post that has since been deleted to avoid confusion about the show, the group had asked the community to come out to Caffe Fantastico, where the event was scheduled to take place, in a show of support after receiving hate-filled calls from one individual threatening to protest the event.
Caffe Fantastico owner Ryan Taylor said in a follow-up post that “in the past week our staff here have been harassed by callers, who have been ignorant to what a drag show is, and have berated us for hosting a family-friendly drag show event. We’ve proudly hosted this show (for) three years now, and there has never been any concerns raised about the content of the show.”
Taylor credited staff for taking the time to try to educate callers and inform them the show is a dance or musical performance that is hosted to be open, safe and accessible.
“We do not discriminate against any, and will not allow or tolerate any such behaviour or attitudes. We create a space for all walks of life to meet, get to know each other and see past any differences,” Taylor wrote.
Taylor said one of these calls had escalated, threatening gun violence, and it was immediately reported to police.
“The threat, understandably, was very upsetting to our staff and the organizers and scheduled performers for the event.”
Taylor plans to stay open Saturday evening in support of the LGBTQIA2S+ community.
VicPD said they are investigating after receiving two separate reports from staff who received “concerning and threatening phone calls,” according to a release.
“It is very disappointing to learn of these deeply concerning calls and the impact that they have had on staff, event organizers and those who were looking forward to this event,” said Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee Co-chair and VicPD Staff Sgt. Jennifer Ames. “Hate has no place in Victoria. We want those who were looking forward to this event to know that we’re responding to ensure that they are safe and that we hope for the return of this event.”
Anyone with information on the threats who have not already spoken with police are asked to contact VicPD at (250) 995-7654, extension 1, or to provide anonymous information through Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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