Drag show protests throughout Tri-Cities lead to death threat, vandalism — Part Three
After supporters and protesters demonstrated for and against family-friendly drag shows in the Tri-Cities, the Emerald of Siam restaurant in Richland received a threatening envelope.
Tim Thornton is the general manager of The Emerald of Siam.
“This is the first real tech tactile threat that I’ve seen [in] our establishment. So, I know that it being an actual threat, and us getting it to the police, that’s I would say our next step of just them being aware with the vandalism and a real threat, a death threat,” said Thornton.
The envelope Thornton received had a return address from, “Josh Shooter AR-15 Die St. in Pasco, Washington.” Thornton says they didn’t open it and gave it to the police. The FBI has also been informed.
“We are not taking anything lightly anymore,” Thornton added.
The owner of The Emerald of Siam posted a photo of the envelope containing the threatening message to Facebook. She said the police took the mail to examine it, and later told her, “the contents were a death threat if we host drag.”
The threats come after the business held a family-friendly drag show event during the weekend. On Sunday night the restaurant was vandalized when threatening posters were pasted to its windows.
Drag shows that allow children to attend are under criticism in the Tri-Cities.
Public comments at Richland’s regular council meeting have fueled discussions. In one meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Theresa Richardson suggested those opposed to Emerald of Siam’s drag shows should send polite notes to the restaurant.
But Richardson said she does not condone hostile messages.
“I have never promoted or encouraged hate speech or harassment of any kind to any establishment or individual. Vile profane rants and death threats have no place in our civilized society,” she said.
Richardson said she also, along with the owner of the Emerald of Siam, has received “disgusting communications.”
“I do believe in the First Amendment and the freedom of speech. I do believe in decorum and respect. I love this community and will continue to work to represent our community with those values,” Richardson said.
More stories in this series: