Awake Illinois Sends Casten 'Cease And Desist' Letter For 'Defamation'

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DOWNERS GROVE, IL — U.S. Congressman Sean Casten is calling on Keith Pekau to disavow Awake Illinois and the award he received from them, after the congressman received a cease and desist order from Pekau’s allies at the grassroots conservative advocacy group that aims to fight the existential threat of critical race theory in schools, among other programs.

Casten and GOP challenger Pekau are facing each other in Illinois’s 6th Congressional District in the November election.

In a letter dated Sept. 4, members of the self-described “social welfare and community advocacy” group, accused Casten of “unlawfully exploiting the mission of Awake Illinois with defamatory claims per the common law elements of ‘defamation.’”

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Casten was ordered to “immediately cease and desist from further acts of defamation to any third party” and “remove committed acts of defamation from any third-party sites to which defamatory statements have been posted,” including Casten’s campaign website, the Daily Herald, and other third parties.

Awake Illinois also asked the congressman to confirm receipt of the letter and his compliance with the organization’s demands and legal remedies as a result of Casten’s “unlawful acts of defamation.”

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“I will not cease nor desist in supporting the interests of everybody in the community I represent and making sure that there’s space for decency and kindness and love,” Casten said in a written statement. “Keith Pekau and Awake Illinois should be ashamed of themselves for the unsafe environment they have created in our community. They have used their platform to promote hatred, homophobia, and bigotry.”

Tom Devore, the Republican nominee for Attorney General in Illinois, was also CC’d on the cease and desist, Casten campaign officials said. The letter was signed by Awake Illinois president Shannon Adcock, vice president Josh McBroom, and director Steve Lucie.

Earlier this year, Awake Illinois recognized Pekau with an Advancing Freedom Award, for challenging Pritzker in federal court over the state’s face mask and COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

This week, the Downers Grove Public Library announced it was canceling an upcoming Drag Queen Bingo program for teens after it received severe threats regarding the event, including calls to bring weapons to the event. Casten claims these threats occurred after Keith Pekau and Awake Illinois issued a call-to-action to their supporters.

Similarly, Pekau called on Casten to join him and other parents in denouncing the Downers Grove library’s drag show, calling it “an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds” because it was promoting adult-themed entertainment to children.

An anonymous donor paid Aurora Divine’s $125 appearance fee at the library to call Bingo numbers and lip sync a Katy Perry song.

In July, Uprising Bakery in Lake in the Hills was attacked after it announced it was hosting a kid-friendly drag show. This occurred after Awake Illinois and Members of the Proud Boys’ Northern Illinois chapter promoted a protest of the event.

In January, the St. Charles Public Library was forced to temporarily close due to threats after Awake Illinois publicly criticized the library’s COVID-19 safety measures.

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