Quad Cities Unity Pride welcomed an estimated 2,000 people for their June 1-June 2 celebration to kick off a nine-day celebration.
Even with the party, the event has got some attention for the wrong reason.
Organizers said a Village of East Davenport business owner yelled homophobic remarks.
QC Unity Pride said John Wisor, who owns 11th Street Precinct made the remarks on two separate occasions during the event.
Local Four News reached out to John Wisor for comment about the statements people said he made, but Wisor said he would not talk at this time because of possible legal action.
For organizers with QC Unity Pride, they said now they’re working to move forward as they continue their celebrations.
QC Unity Pride Michelle Royal said, “It’s been a very joyous weekend of love and happiness and sharing, and knowing that the L-G-B-T can come together as a family.”
The more than week-long event to mark Pride Month for QC Unity Pride, organizers said is both a remembrance and celebration of their community.
Royal said, “To remember stonewall and the riots that happened that created the first pride fest but it’s also a bridge to help people get from year to year.”
But some of what happened over the weekend is taking the spotlight off that goal.
QC Unity Pride Cody Hootman said, “He was yelling at us and calling us f****g queers.”
Royal said, “His quote was this was not the proper event and the kind of event that the village should put on.”
Twice, organizers said Village of East Davenport business owner John Wisor made the derogatory statements at people setting up for the Friday-Saturday StreetFest and again later Friday evening while the event was going on.
Hootman said, “Stood our ground. Like, we’re here, we’re not letting you win. We had permission to be here, and we’re not going to roll over just because someone yells at us and calls us names.”
Cody Hootman said even the police were called as a precaution because they didn’t know if the situation would escalate.
He and other organizers of the event said this language had been met with a stern condemnation including a social media campaign to boycott Wisor’s 11th Street Precinct Bar and Grill.
Royal said, “Feel sorry for the staff that works there because it’s going to affect their livelihood but bigotry cannot be tolerated.”
For Hootman, the overall support from the community serves as a good counter to Wisor’s words
Hootman said, “Nice to know the community at large is very supportive here, and it makes me feel welcomed.”
Wisor isn’t a stranger to controversy. Several years ago, his attempts to build a house of his liking in the Village was met with some opposition until he spray-painted graffiti on his property to demo and construct a new home.
Pride week continues through Saturday with a parade.