The manager of a Los Angeles restaurant believes a recent wave of crimes against its premises has been motivated by homophobia due to the establishment’s support of the LGBTQ+ community.
Police are currently investigating a series of crimes against the Sawtelle eatery Sorry not Sorry and its staff, including incidents of burglary, and cars outside the restaurant being set on fire.
General manager Brandon Waller is worried that the business’ openly supportive stance on LGBTQ+ rights is causing it to be targeted.
“We had a swastika drawn in marker on the front of our restaurant. We had the word ‘AIDS’ drawn on the pole in front of our restaurant,” Waller told NBC.
During a burlesque show hosted at Sorry not Sorry on 25 August, Waller said that someone poured accelerant onto the hood of three employees’ cars, slashed their tires and set the vehicles ablaze.
‘We can’t let that hold us back. We’re not going anywhere’
One of its bartenders, Logan Elliot, had parked their car behind the restaurant as usual before starting his shift, but later looked outside and saw it on fire. He explained that the fire could have been fatal if it had gone unnoticed much longer.
“I’m like, ‘This is really bad’ because my car is parked next to a cabinet full of propane tanks,” Elliot said.
Despite the series of attacks, Waller said the restaurant would not shut down, hide its support for the LGBTQ+ community or stop queer-related events such as burlesque nights.
According to national statistics from the Los Angeles Police Department, LGBTQ+ related hate crimes are at an all time high as of last year, rising by 15 per cent from the previous year.
“We can’t let that hold us back. We’re not going anywhere,” Waller added.
“We’re not shutting down, we’re not stopping anything, but we are taking better safety measures, and we are taking this very seriously.”