Some 100 people responded to the call of the Chicago Anti-Bashing Network (CABN) on the evening of March 18 to picket the Liar's Club, a nightclub located at 1665 W. Fullerton. Organized contingents at the bar picket included the Lesbian Avengers and Chicago Anti-Racist Action, as well as CABN.
The Liar's Club was the scene of a January 23 gay bashing of Chad Edwards, his lover, and Kurt Schneider. After being called by the victims, police charged the victims with battery and assault, even though they alone suffered physical injuries and property damage. Rubbing further salt on their wounds, Cook County States' Attorney Dick Divine is prosecuting the victims, and an Assistant States' Attorney offered an insulting and perhaps illegal "deal" February 23 to trade dropping the criminal charges in exchange for a promise by the victims not to sue for damages.
Liar's Club, which has gone to considerable effort to defame the victims, can't seem to stop insulting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. The week before the picket the club took out a full page ad advertising a party celebrating its "diversity," scheduled for the same time as the picket.
"When we got to the picket that night, a poster on the door of the club proclaimed that their party was a fundraiser for AIDS Ride," said CABN's Bob Schwartz. "It was a cynical attempt to pit anti-AIDS activists against anti-gay bashing activists. Liar's Club was so manipulative, they didn't even tell the activist with AIDS Ride that they had slated her benefit for the very same time as the picket. They used her. She was obviously very upset when she showed up and found that her attempt to promote a good cause had fallen victim to the Club's manuever to deflect the gay-bashing charges."
CABN considers the picket successful in meeting its objectives of calling public attention to the bashing, the police cover up, and the shameless prosecution of the victims by States' Attorney Dick Divine. "And if anyone had any doubts about Liar's Club management's lack of integrity, their stunt of manipulating of an AIDS Ride activist should put that to rest. It can only serve to further isolate them from support by all those who oppose hate crimes and support the battle against AIDS," said Schwartz.
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