An upcoming all-ages drag show at a cafe in Victoria’s Quadra Village is facing cancellation following harassment and threats targeting the venue’s staff and customers.
Caffe Fantastico owner Ryan Taylor says the show scheduled for Saturday, June 18th got the axe due to an influx of concerning calls, including from one caller who suggested someone should “shoot up the place and everyone in it.”
“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,” according to Taylor.
“We’ve proudly hosted this show three years now, and there have never been any concerns raised about the content of the show.”
Taylor says the Wednesday gun threat was “very upsetting” to his staff and scheduled performers, as well as the event’s organizer who ultimately decided to pull the plug.
“Caffe Fantastico has been supportive every step of the way, so please do not disparage them…” wrote Sloane from For The Love Of Drag.
“In fact, please continue to support them and show them the same community love that you’ve shown us,” said Sloane, noting the subsequent outpour of support has been “a silver lining.”
Taylor says the upcoming show was a dance performance to be hosted at his welcoming, open and accessible venue for artists and performers to showcase their talents.
The show has received rave reviews in the past, including from one mother who says it’s “one of the best experiences” they have been able to attend with their child, Taylor recalls.
He says providing his cafe as a venue over the past decade has been “deeply meaningful to myself and my family, and our team here at Caffe Fantastico.”
“I hope these incidents are a one-off event, which will never be repeated again. We are planning to be open this Saturday evening in support of the wonderful LGBTQIA+ community that we all know and love,” added Taylor.
Police launch investigation
The caller incidents have been reported to police, with VicPD launching an investigation and seeking anyone with information to come forward.
“Hate has no place in Victoria,” said VicPD Staff Sgt. Jennifer Ames.
“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.”
VicPD asks tipsters to call its Report Desk at (250) 995-7654. To remain anonymous, reach out to Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 222-8477.