Three LGBTQ bars in St. Louis’s Tower Grove neighborhood received phoned threats in a single night this past weekend.
St. Louis NBC affiliate KSDK reported that Rehab, Just John and PRISM STL received the calls over Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Staff at the bars told the TV station that they think the caller, who called themselves the “Joker” may be someone who’s been banned from local bars.
The threats come as the LGBTQ community nationwide is fighting against hostile laws and increasing political pressure from the far right.
“It hurts. It’s very invasive cause this is our safe space. I’ve been here for over ten years and this is my home away from home,” Angela Basta, a manager at one of the bars, told KSDK.
The owners of PRISM STL said they blame politics for both the threat to their bar and threats across the country.
“Some politicians in this state that are bigoted toward my community and are trying to create laws with no data behind them that create a sense of more hate toward my community,” Sean Abernathy told the station.
Missouri currently leads the country in the number of anti-LGBTQ laws being proposed, with at least nine being debated in a single day last month.
All three bars plan to keeping being safe places.