Metro Weekly

Motorkat’s Drag Brunch Evacuated After Bomb Threat

The Takoma Park restaurant Motorkat was forced to cancel two drag events after someone made a bomb threat against it.

Motorkat’s Drag Brunch – Photos: Instagram

A Maryland restaurant was forced to temporarily close and cancel two planned drag events after it received a bomb threat on Saturday, Dec. 9.

Patrons and employees of the Motorkat restaurant in Takoma Park, Maryland, were evacuated for four hours following the threat, forcing the cancellation of a morning drag story hour event for children, followed by a drag brunch for adults scheduled to start around noon.

Takoma Park police later confirmed that there was “no credible threat in the area” after a thorough search of the 6900 block of Laurel Avenue.

Cathy Plevy, a spokeswoman for Takoma Park police, said investigators were looking to see whether the threat was related to the drag events. “[There is] no evidence that the threats were attributed to the events,” she told The Washington Post.

Danny Wells, the restaurant’s executive chef and co-owner, said the restaurant staff “assumed” the threat was related to the drag events. Last Saturday’s events were to mark the third time that the restaurant hosted drag programs since it opened in May. No threats were previously directed at the restaurant for the two previous events. 

Wells told the Post that the restaurant plans to host drag events in the future. Those with tickets to the Dec. 9 events will be able to obtain refunds.

“We will not be deterred,” he said. “We will absolutely be hosting another one, and we are very confident the community will come out and support us, full force.”

In a post on its Instagram page, Motorkat updated its followers on the most recent developments and pledged solidarity with the LGBTQ community.

“We stand with the LGBTQ+ community and are determined to overcome this incident,” the post read. “Motorkat will continue to be a safe space for everyone. Thank you to our loyal patrons and the community for their continued support during this difficult time.”

Local business and political leaders lamented the bomb threat, with Laura Barclay of Main Street Takoma saying the forced closure of not only Motorkat, but other businesses in the area, was detrimental to small businesses, forcing them to close and miss out on potential revenue.

“All businesses were able to reopen later in the day, but lost a critical pre-holiday shopping/dining/service day which is so important to a small business,” Barclay said, according to the local Silver Spring-area community news outlet Source of the Spring.

Takoma Park Mayor Talisha Searcy released a statement saying the bomb threat had sent “a shockwave through our community.”

“The City of Takoma Park is a welcoming community to all. We support and stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ+ residents and visitors alike,” Searcy said.

Tara Hoot, one of the chief drag performers involved with the events at Motorkat, pledged not to be waylaid by “bogus bomb threats.”

She also posted a video of herself dancing in a Mrs. Claus-themed dress while lipsyncing to Leslie Gore’s 1963 song “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows” while unleashing a stream of bubbles from two bubble guns as she navigated her way between tables and booths at the restaurant.

“MY STORY TIME BRUNCHES AND EVENTS WILL CONTINUE! And I can’t wait to see all of you gorgeous humans there!” Hoot wrote. “Onward, darlings!”

Threats of violence have escalated against venues hosting drag shows, especially as conservatives have launched anti-LGBTQ legislation targeting drag, and anti-LGBTQ pundits have adopted rhetoric accusing drag performers of “sexualizing children.”

Between late 2022 and early 2023, the LGBTQ media advocacy organization GLAAD counted 161 different incidents targeting drag events. Examples of anti-drag backlash include an Illinois bakery that had its windows broken and was spray-painted with anti-gay slurs, an Ohio church that was firebombed for hosting drag shows, and an Oklahoma doughnut shop that was firebombed for hosting a drag art installation.

Locally, a Drag Queen Story event in Silver Spring was disrupted by protesters from the right-wing group the Proud Boys. The group also placed the now closed Crazy Aunt Helen’s on a “protest list” due to a drag brunch hosted by the restaurant, only to be met by hundreds of counter-protesters lining the streets of Barracks Row in support of the LGBTQ community and the drag performers.

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