Police have released video of a man who hit another man over the head at the Chelsea Dallas BBQ this week in an alleged anti-gay attack (above). Meanwhile, others are questioning the narrative of one of the victims, Jonathan Snipes, by claiming that his attacker was also gay.
Via Gothamist comes a post from a blog called The G-List titled, “Gay Hate Crime Or White Gay Privileged Media Manipulation On NYC’s Chair Throwing Fight?” That is a good, responsible question. Writer Waddie G., describes his experiences with the media coverage of the fight:
Yeah, all right, but it’s also believing a victim in the absence of a counter narrative since his attacker is such a coward that he fled the scene. Snipes claimed he was called a “faggot,” which led him to confront the guy who ultimately banged a chair over his head. Is it conceivable that this incident happened as he described it? Of course. Homophobia thrives even in a cosmopolitan melting pot/salad bowl like New York. Is it possible that there is more to the story, that perhaps Snipes said something racist triggering the event and then left it out of his story? Of course. People are racist as hell, and that includes many white gay people (look no further than the comments section of this Towleroad post on the incident for more proof than you could probably ever stomach).
The story gets more complicated, according to Waddie G.:
Now, what Snipes chose to leave out in his interview was that during his exchange of words with the two alleged Black aggressive homophobes is that he struck one of the Black men first which kicked off the entire brawl. How do I know this information? My friend, the concerned citizen who caught the latter part of the fight on camera, gave me the T because he sat next to the table of the Black men, where the fight originated upon Snipes’ confrontation.
[THE VIDEO HAS BEEN TAKEN DOWN DUE TO RACIST WHITE GAY MEN WHO SUPPORTS THE AGGRESSIVE SNIPES’ DECEITFUL NARRATIVE WITH THREATENING MESSAGES TO THE VIDEOGRAPHER WHO WAS A CONCERNED CITIZEN WHO HELPED MAKE SURE THAT THE TRUTH WAS EXPRESSED.]
Additionally, the word “faggot,” according to the concerned videographer, seemed to be a response to Snipes’ arrogance after knowing that he bumped the Black men’s table and knocking their drinks rather than homophobia.
And here is where we encounter some holes. Waddie G. is referring to Isaam Sharef. Sharef is openly gay and uploaded the Instagram and YouTube videos of the fight that went viral but has since removed them. Here they are again, in case you missed them:
[There was a video here]
[There was a video here]
Sharef said he never hear gay slurs and doubts the incident was a hate crime. The restaurant, in the heart of Chelsea’s gay club district, is known as a gay hangout, he said.
So, which is it? Did the attacker not say “faggot” or did he say “faggot” in a way that Sharef felt was justified and not hateful? (I messaged Sharef about this very matter via Facebook and have yet to hear back).
Additionally, Waddie G., claims that Sharef “sat next to the table of the Black men, where the fight originated upon Snipes’ confrontation,” but the video is clearly taken from further away. The original YouTube video’s description claimed that this happened while he waited for his food, which seemed to imply that he had taken the video from his table. Perhaps he got up and walked across the restaurant to film the fight between ordering his food and receiving it. Perhaps he knows more than he’s letting on, too—yesterday via Facebook, Sharef told me, “I think people are assuming the other male in the video was straight.” But if he had that information, why wouldn’t he have told it to the Daily News or CBS2, which also interviewed him, especially when directly responding to allegations that a hate crime had occurred?
(Note that initially the NYPD said it wasn’t investigating the incident as a hate crime but that has since changed.)
Waddie G goes on:
One of the patrons at the restaurant called me and identified the chair thrower by name. I looked up the chair tosser’s Facebook profile, and he is
allegedlygay, gay, gay and pretty popular in the ballroom scene. I am not going to snitch the guy out because I am on his side of self-defense minus the chair tossingand hate the white gay privileged narratives by gay bloggers, blogs and organizations who sensationalized this incident into more than what it was to protect the white gay hot head who wanted to demonize the Black gay men as aggressors over a physical altercation that he provoked when he could have ignored their foul language like I always do when insults are hurled my way.
If the story happened the way Snipes said it did, though, he was completely justified to respond to someone who had called him a faggot. Calling people out on their bullshit curbs homophobia. Gay people have put up with this shit their whole lives, and if they’re sick of it, you can hardly blame them. Snipes still didn’t deserve to be pummeled in response, at least, not in the way he told the story.
Gothamist points to an account in which Snipes called his attacker a “nigger” first (and in which his attacker is referred to as “trade,” or a gay man who could pass for straight):
Without the attacker’s story, and with people apparently working to keep his identity concealed, though, what can we do except rely on what Snipes said? This is especially so when the other most vocal witness, Isaam Sharef, has already proven himself unreliable.
Update: On the contrary, Isaam Sharef told me that his story has remained consistent throughout interviews and that Waddie G., misconstrued his story in the aforementioned G List post. “A lot of people are taking their own quotes and making their own quotes. I never stated that I heard a gay slur.” He also says that Waddie G.’s assertion that he sat next to the attacker’s table was incorrect: “It’s clear where I sat. The video was taken from where I was sitting.”
Finally, though Sharef claims to know neither Snipes nor his attacker “at all,” nonetheless, he said, “I don’t believe the other party [the attacker] to be straight.” Nor does he believe that the attacker is closeted. I asked him why and he said it’s because the Chelsea Dallas BBQ is always filled with gay men. I asked him if there were additional indicators that he is not revealing and he admitted that there is a piece of information he is withholding. “It’s very difficult, but I would love to believe the truth with come out,” Sharef said. I urged him to share this information with me should he have a change of heart.