London’s historic LGBT+ club Heaven was the target of a “sick” bomb hoax as RuPaul’s Drag Race UK stars were inside the building rehearsing for a West End show.
Metropolitan Police officers evacuated the LGBT+ venue, and nearby Charing Cross Station, on Monday afternoon after a suspicious package was reported.
The club has been closed since December, and it is thought the premises were targeted after the stars posted about their rehearsal on on social media.
Jeremy Joseph, owner of the Villiers Street venue, said Drag Race stars The Vivienne, Tia Kofi and Veronica Green and were “all on stage performing” alongside Liverpool-based drag queen Shania Pain – in preparation for the upcoming Drag Queens of Pop musical– when police entered the venue.
“There had been a bomb threat and everyone was evacuated, except poor me, as we waited for police dogs to arrive,” Mr Joseph wrote on social media.
“As the venue has been in lockdown apart from rehearsals, I had to walk round with the police and sniffer dogs to check the venue, in the meantime Charing Cross station, Villier Street & Craven Street, all evacuated.”
“I’m not going to lie, it was frightening, but I cant praise the police dog team enough, they were amazing, they have to enter a building, not knowing if a threat is real or a hoax.”
Mr Joseph added: “Whoever made that call is nothing but a sick individual.”
Scotland Yard would not confirm the exact target of the apparent hoax, but said in a statement that specialist officers attended “a commercial premises in Villiers Street and examined the item which was subsequently confirmed as non-suspicious.
“The circumstances in which the item was found suggest that it was part of an intentional hoax and an investigation is under way to identify the person or persons responsible,” the Met said.
“There is no indication, at this early stage, of a particular motive but that will form one of the key lines of enquiry for officers as their investigation continues.”
Tia Kofi described the ordeal as “terrifying”, writing on Twitter: “We’re all safe but shaken up. Thank you for all the kind messages.”
Simon Jones, a spokesperson for three of the performers, said: “It was all pretty scary. We do believe it was targeted as Heaven has been closed since December and the girls put on Instagram that they were at Heaven earlier in the day.”