A bakery in a Chicago-area suburb that has been the target of vandalism and harassmentdue to a planned family-friendly drag event has now been ordered to stop hosting public events.
In a video posted to Facebook over the weekend, UpRising Bakery and Café owner Corrina Sac said that she had received a letter from Village of Lake in the Hills officials threatening fines and the revocation of her business and liquor licenses if she continues to host events.
“I feel like this is discrimination and a conspiracy to interfere with my business,” Sac said. “Unfortunately, when the attention waned from all the hate this week, they shifted gears and started victim blaming me after we were attacked by a known domestic terrorist who committed hate crimes against us just one week ago.”
Sac says she was first informed that her business was not zoned for entertainment purposes at a Thursday meeting, which she described as “very threatening.” She says city officials also expressed concerns over public resources being used to protect UpRising Bakery after it was the target of a hate crime late last month.
“This issue is about a business conducting activities it was never permitted to conduct,” Village of Lake in the Hills officials said in a statement. “This zoning designation prohibits entertainment in large part due to the close proximity to residential neighborhoods and shared tenant parking.”
In a letter to village attorney Bradford S. Stewart, the ACLU of Illinois accused the city of unconstitutional retaliation against UpRising Bakery.
“We dispute the letter’s characterization of UpRising programs as ‘entertainment events’ that are prohibited in a B-2 zoning district,” writes senior staff attorney Rebecca K. Glenberg. “Even if that characterization is correct, however, the Village’s sudden determination to enforce the code against UpRising or Ms. Sac based on their exercise of First Amendment rights constitutes unconstitutional retaliation.”
UpRising Bakery became the target of repeated harassment last month after announcing a planned “child-friendly” drag event. “One morning I came in and there was a bag of feces outside,” Sac told Chicago’s ABC7 News. “There was a letter taped to the door that said pedophiles work here.”
The event had to be cancelled after the bakery was vandalized. On July 23, Lake in the Hills Police arrested 24-year-old Joseph I. Collins after he allegedly shattered windows and spray-painted hateful messages on the bakery.
The UpRising Bakery incident is just the latest in a series of attacks and disruptions at drag events this summer, stoked by anti-LGBTQ rhetoric online and from Republican lawmakers. Social media accounts like Libs of TikTok have been spreading misleading accounts of family-friendly drag events along with accusations of “grooming” aimed at LGBTQ people, leading to far-right hate groups like the Proud Boys showing up at drag story hour events at libraries and at other LGBTQ events around the country in recent weeks.