Police in far suburban Lake of the Hills over the weekend arrested and charged a suspect accused of vandalizing UpRising Bakery and Cafe, located about 45 miles northwest of Chicago. The incident forced the bakery’s owner to cancel a “very, very family friendly” all-ages drag show planned over the weekend.
Joseph I. Collins, 24, of Alsip was charged with a felony hate crime and criminal damage to property. Collins’s arrest comes after escalating in-person and online threats in response to the scheduled drag show, with anti-LGBTQ critics spitting on the bakery’s display case, leaving a bag of feces outside its door, and leaving a sign outside the business that read “Pedophiles work here,” UpRising owner Corrina Sac told the Tribune.
Lake of the Hills police arrested Collins after responding to a call just after midnight on Saturday, July 23, reporting that someone was vandalizing the bakery, according to the Daily Herald. Officers told reporters that UpRising was subjected to extensive physical damage, including broken windows and spray-painted messages that police describe as “hateful.”
Sac officially canceled the drag event on Friday. “For the safety of the performers, staff, and community, we have canceled tomorrow’s event and will be closed Saturday...,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “We did not want to back down from Bullies but absolutely cannot in good conscience continue with tomorrow’s plan. It breaks our hearts.”
The bakery had scheduled a “Rise and Shine” drag brunch event in early August. Tickets are entirely sold out on Eventbrite, but Sac declined to tell Trib reporters whether or not she’ll move forward with the event.
Supporters of LGBTQ equity have linked the attacks on UpRising as part of a larger pattern of dangerous far-right rhetoric that falsely links queer people to abuse of children. Drag performers and venue staff across the country have been subjected to baseless attacks from lawmakers and their adherents: Extremist groups have shown up at LGBTQ events to aggressively disrupt them, wearing shirts bearing phrases like “Kill your local pedophile” and sending threats to organizers, forcing them — like Sac — to cancel out of concerns for their own safety.
A McHenry County circuit court judge set Collins’ bail at $10,000. Despite boarded-up windows and other physical damage, UpRising reopened on Sunday, July 24, with Sac writing on Facebook, “We live here. This is our home. This is our town. This is our country. This is our fight. We’re not turning our backs or backing down. Zero tolerance for fuckery today and everyday.”