Daily Herald opinion: Harassing a business and its customers is never acceptable

This editorial is a consensus opinion of the Daily Herald Editorial Board.

Imagine walking into a store and being yelled at for shopping there.

Imagine going to a local restaurant and being harassed just for wanting a bite to eat.

Imagine going to UpRising Bakery and Cafe in Lake in the Hills and having protesters take pictures of you and your vehicle's license plate because they don't agree with the owner's choice to host drag events.

UpRising's owner Corinna Sac says this happened outside her bakery after she held drag brunches there, potentially scaring away anyone who wanted to support her small business. Now, she faces the possibility of having to close her business.

"Local customers no longer come here because of the perceived threat that tarnished our good name and the fears of their license plates are photographed, and they are harassed," the business said in a news release last week.

Behavior like that is wrong, no matter what the reason.

Showing disapproval for the drag events by intimidating customers, verbally harassing them, and taking pictures of their license plates is not OK.

For the record, there is nothing wrong with drag brunches, and a business and its customers should not be shamed for it. People dressed in drag are not promoting grooming of children or pedophilia - a false narrative that's been spread time and time again.

Some may not agree with Sac's decision to hold the brunches, and that's fine. If anyone doesn't like the idea of a drag brunch - or any event a business hosts - they can just not attend. That should be enough.

But for some, it wasn't enough, and it didn't stop there.

Along with harassing customers outside the shop, the online community has been relentless with its verbal attacks on the bakery, applauding the business's potential undoing, which no business should have to face.

Unfortunately, this harassment and intimidation may be part of the reason if Sac has to close in just over a week. She's hoping the community pulls together to help her raise funds to stay afloat. It seems the Lake in the Hills community is very much divided, and it's a shame to see a community lose a legitimate business.

Whether you choose to support a local business or not, harassing that business and its customers is nothing to be proud of. In the end, we encourage people to take a step back and see that there are better ways to handle differences of opinion that don't include threats and intimidation.

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