A gay man was brutally beaten but fought back in an unbelievable bias attack inside Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn, the cradle of the gay rights movement, authorities said.
Two Staten Island men are facing hate-crime charges for allegedly hurling gay slurs and pummeling 34-year-old Benjamin Carver on Sunday in the bar’s bathroom, authorities said.
One of the suspects, Matthew Francis, 21, reportedly asked the victim, who was using a urinal, whether Stonewall was a gay bar. Told it was, he then asked the victim for money, and when he was refused, authorities said Francis and another man, Christopher Orlando, 17, began to beat him. Francis allegedly used a gay slur, then said: “I don’t like gay people. Don’t pee next to me.”
Carver told the New York Post he was never scared and that the men thought that gay men are “easy targets.”
Francis was arraigned last night and was being held on $10,000 bond. Orlando was awaiting arraignment.
The attack was one of two anti-gay incidents over the weekend. On Friday night, young thugs jumped three men they saw kissing and hugging on a street corner in Chelsea. The attacks follow a startling nationwide spate of suicides by gay youths.
New Yorkers were dumbfounded by the attack at the Stonewall, where days of rioting against police harassment in June 1969 helped launch the gay rights movement.
“I don’t know how to make sense of this,” Chelsea resident Bryan Fuhr, 39, said yesterday at the Stonewall.
The alleged attackers hurt the entire community, said Ross Levi, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda.
“It highlights the need to address bias incidents through not just prosecution but also education,” he said.