If you noticed extra police presence on WeHo’s Boystown area around the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente Boulevard this week, it could be in response to the recent threats and homophobic harassment of gay clothing store Block Party WeHo.
According to Larry Block, the owner of “The gayest store on earth,” the colorful clothing store has been a victim of numerous threatening, harassing and homophobic calls this past weekend on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr Day.
“Being harassed” Block, posted on his Facebook timeline on January 20, 6:44pm. “…call after call – ‘is this a faggot store’ and answered how can I help you- and he ranted – ‘it’s not ok to be a faggot’ so blocked his number – so he calls on a second line – ‘you faggots are sinners’ ‘it’s not okay to be a faggot’. After a good luck you closet case a third call, from another number ‘watch out you faggot’ to which I blocked then a forth number – multiple calls each line then unknown number calls – its 2019 and it’s scary.”
Block added the phone numbers that were marked on his cellphone, “…323-387-7312, 323-985-5418, 323-840-0295, 323-699-9730, and they keep calling – the phone does not ring at shop and forwards to my cell. Can this be reported to police? Add another number -213-478- 5605. Add another number-323-498-4400. Add another number – 845-622-0088.”
Block eventually called the Sheriff’s who showed up at his home.
There was an immediate response in the comments section from friends who are concerned for his safety and the safety of those who work at the store.
“OMG — This is serious, Larry!” Posted Marcy Norton. “And not ‘just’ harassment, but also a hate crime — he’s targeting you either b/c [sic] he knows or assumes you’re gay or b/c your store sells gay-themed/gay-centric merchandise. Has the Sheriff shown up yet? Do you have someone with you? I think we should all share your post to put the community on notice and see if anyone recognizes any of the numbers (although not likely). Were you able to record any of the live talking? Stay safe!!!”
“They come for you, they come for the ENTIRE community,” posted Kris Scott-Slawosky.
“Larry, you can stay with me if that would help you feel safer,” Robert Gamboa responded. “I hear the sheriffs are on patrol. Hopefully this will be solved right away!”
West Hollywood Mayor Pro-Tempore, John D’Amico, chimed in to let Block know that he had called Kristin Cook, the City of West Hollywood’s Public Safety Director and that she would follow up with the Sheriffs.
Block mentioned that there are details and developments to the homophobic harassment that he’s not able to share on social media. He did however post that this isn’t the first Block Party Weho has been on the receiving end of homophobic calls. “We get these calls many times,” he commented. “That’s why the phone rings to my cell, none has ever been reported or mentioned and sadly it’s commonplace…and as this developed there were more things that were learned. I don’t know, maybe its the price to pay for having the gayest store on earth but there is more than i knew before posting and lets just leave it at that for now.. never expected the sheriff would be needed.”
He also thanked D’Amico and council member Lindsey Horvath and other city officials for the quick follow with the hastags: #quickresponseweho #hatecrimesstillhappen #notinmybackyard.
This is a reminder that if you see something, say something.