Showing posts with label gay hate Crime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gay hate Crime. Show all posts

March 20, 2019

A Mob of 10 Men Attacks a Gay Man in Arizona

Phoenix assault
 A gay man in Phoenix says he was attacked by several people on Friday night in a case that police are now investigating, a local Arizona CBS affiliate reports. 
Cesar Marin, the survivor of the attack, says that he felt someone hit him from behind and on his side.
“I didn’t know that I was surrounded by people,” he told 3TV/CBS5. The attack occurred in downtown Phoenix. Marin was driving home when a woman jaywalked in front of his car, prompting him to push his brakes.
Marin said in a public Facebook post that the woman walked to the side of his vehicle, flicked a cigarette at his face then called him a faggot.

Marin said that he did a U-turn and pulled over and got out of his car to search for the lit cigarette to prevent a fire. That’s when he was attacked.
“Before I knew it, I was surrounded in a hail of punches. One guy kicked me in the face when I fell down,” Marin says. He added that the attackers broke his nose and he now has several bruises.
Marin says a bystander intervened and he was taken to the hospital.
According to Marin, there are decals on his car that have rainbows on them, meaning the woman may have been able to tell just from his car that he was gay.
Despite the use of the slur, Phoenix police have not confirmed that they’re treating the case as a hate crime, according to 3TV/CBS5.
Marin’s story comes less than a month after a Salt Lake City man caught his homophobic assault on camera. 

February 21, 2019

Jussie Smollett Is Getting Close to A Police Decision Unless Jussie Gets Ahead With The Police He Faces Jail

The reason I say Jussie is not getting ahead with the police is becuae he does not seem to be trying to be completely open with them. It's been like pulling teeth to getr elevant information from his cell phone and he just seems that getting in front a of camera and telling his side of events is enough. That might not be true even if he was a better actor. One thing is to read a page and act on that page's story which has nothing to do with you, another thing is to put up an act about something personal that happemed to you. The words will come out but you will need more than the words to convince an skeptical police and negate the evidence that indicate he concocted this story. If he wanted publicity because he was being cut off from the show, either way he is getting plenty.  Adam Gonzalez


Jussie Smollett is facing prison time and the implosion of his career if it turns out he lied about being the target of a hate crime, legal and public relations experts say.

“The best thing that Jussie can do is pray and pray a lot,” said Ronn Torossian, founder of 5W Public Relations. “If he made it up, he has big problems in both the court of law and the court of public opinion.”

The “Empire” star claimed he was beaten up on Jan. 29 by two men who used racial and homophobic slurs. Smollett’s co-stars and colleagues on “Empire,” celebrities such as Ellen Page and Zendaya, and public figures such as Sen. Kamala Harris rallied behind the actor, releasing statements of support. However, Smollett’s account is now being challenged, with police investigating whether or not he paid two acquaintances, Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, to stage the attack.

Chicago police confirmed on Tuesday that they received a tip from someone claiming to have seen the three men together in an elevator of Smollett’s apartment building on the evening of the attack. However, later in the day, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted that the tip was unfounded.

'Empire' Star Jussie Smollett on His Journey to 'Freedom'
If Smollett falsified a police report, the charge is a Class 4 felony in Illinois, and carries a potential sentence of one to three years in prison. Smollett could also be ordered to pay restitution to compensate for the cost of the Chicago Police Department investigation.

“It’s a very, very, very serious situation,” said Phil Turner, a former federal prosecutor who now works in criminal defense in Chicago. “He’s got some very significant exposure.”

Smollett told police that two men attacked him at 2 a.m., poured bleach on him, and put a noose around his neck. He also claimed they told him that it was “MAGA country,” a reference to Donald Trump’s campaign slogan. Chicago investigators are now seeking to speak with Smollett.

Federal investigators are also probing a threatening letter that was sent to the “Empire” set. The letter included homophobic language and contained a white powder, which was later determined to be a crushed painkiller tablet. Should that letter turn out to be fake, federal prosecutors could also pursue a mail fraud charge, legal experts say.

Andrew Weisberg, a former prosecutor in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, said Smollett could get probation, assuming that he has a clean record. Update: NBC News reported Tuesday, and Variety confirmed, that Smollett pleaded no contest in 2007 to three misdemeanor counts stemming from a DUI incident in Los Angeles, including one count of giving false information to the police. According to the criminal complaint filed by the L.A. City Attorney’s office, Smollett gave a false name, pretending to be his brother Jake. He was sentenced to three years of probation.

Weisberg also said prosecutors may face pressure not to be lenient.

“It’s a very high-profile case,” he said. “Prosecutors tend to be tougher because everybody’s watching. … I think they may come down hard, in terms of not reducing it to a misdemeanor.” 

Steve Greenberg, a Chicago defense attorney, said prosecutors could also file a charge of obstruction of justice. He said it was likely, though, that Smollett would be allowed to plead to a misdemeanor, and not serve jail time.

“They’re not going to ruin a guy’s life over this,” Greenberg said. “People make false reports all the time to the police. They get in a DUI, they call police and say, ‘My car was stolen.’ Ninety percent of the time, even if they’re charged with a felony, those people end up pleading to a misdemeanor.”

Smollett has retained two criminal defense attorneys, Victor Henderson and Todd Pugh. They have denied that Smollett staged the attack, and said he will continue to cooperate.

“His lawyers may be having a psychiatrist examine the guy so they could prepare some kind of psychiatric defense,” Turner said.

Smollett, like celebrity fabulists such as Lance Armstrong and Ryan Lochte, may see endorsement opportunities and roles dry up if he is found to have been untruthful. Public relations experts say he will need to demonstrate that he’s learned a lesson.

“If he made this up, he broke the trust of a lot of his fans,” said Ray Drasnin, founder of Purple Penguin PR. “Say you lied and you’re sorry for that lie. Apologize to the people who have supported you, promise to make it up, and find a cause that’s near and dear to your heart and devote yourself to it.”

Richard Levick, chairman and CEO of LEVICK, said people shouldn’t rush to judgment regarding Smollet and cautioned that there are still, in the words of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, “too many unknown unknowns.” Yet if Smollett did fabricate the attack, Levick says he needs to be more proactive.

“He needs to get ahead of this as much as he can,” he said. “He needs to go see the police. He needs to apologize. He needs to make the announcement about what happened instead of letting the facts leak out. If he lied, there’s no excuse, but there may be some explanation.”

Latest:Anthony Guglielmi, chief communications officer, shared early Thursday morning on Twitter that Smollett had been arrested. Guglielmi told The Associated Press that Smollett turned himself in at central booking.

February 18, 2019

“I doubted Jussie Smollett, breaks my heart I might be right” Doubts About Jussie’s Account

By Nana Efua Mumford
Washington Post

Nana Efua Mumford is the executive assistant to The Post’s editorial board. She lives in Virginia with her family but will always call Chicago home.

“Empire,” Fox’s drama about a family-run hip-hop label, has always been defined by its bizarre plot twists. The show has featured a ghost who haunts her loving husband, a child whose stepfather is also his grandfather and an amnesia-inducing car bomb. But the latest real-world twist involving a member of its cast is the strangest — and saddest — yet.

On Jan. 29, Jussie Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon, the openly gay heir to the show’s hip-hop record label throne, was allegedly attacked in a baroque hate crime. He told police that his attackers immediately identified him as a gay actor from “Empire,” then proceeded to yell racial and homophobic slurs, shout “this is MAGA country,” pour an unknown chemical on him and place a noose around his neck. The story has since become even more complicated: The Chicago police questioned two Nigerian brothers, one of whom said that he played a small part on “Empire,” about their possible role in the attack. As of this writing, the department is seeking to interview Smollett again; he has hired a criminal defense attorney.

Actor and singer Jussie Smollett in Los Angeles in 2016. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

But even before these latest details emerged, when I first heard of the attack on Smollett, I had to pause. On “Empire,” Jamal Lyon came out as gay in front of his homophobic, abusive father; took a bullet for that same father and overcame an addiction to pain pills. Was I reading last week’s episode recap, or did this actually happen in my hometown of Chicago? Almost immediately, I had a terrible feeling that I was victim blaming, or worse, that I am so brainwashed that I no longer can hear cries of hurt and outrage from my own black community. It was a horrifying feeling that I am still trying to work through almost three weeks later.

Actor and singer Jussie Smollett in Los Angeles in 2016. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
I wanted to believe Smollett. I really did. I know that there is a deep, dark racist history in Chicago and, if proved true, this would be just one more point on the list. I wanted to believe him with every fiber of my being, most of all because the consequences if he were lying, were almost too awful to contemplate.

And yet I struggled with Smollett’s story.

I tried telling myself that it is possible that two assailants were walking around downtown Chicago at 2 a.m. in January in 10-degree weather, waiting for a black victim. In addition to that, they were stalking around with a bottle of bleach and a rope. And ultimately, the prey they selected was an actor on a show that they must’ve been somewhat familiar with because they were able to not only name the show but also know that he played a gay character. Never mind the fact that he was likely bundled up because again: Chicago, January, 10 degrees. Also, after he fought to get away, he left the rope around his neck until he got to the hospital.

Perhaps I don’t want to believe him because this is a stark and scary reminder of the poor condition of the country (and city) that I call home. Maybe this story makes the boogeyman in my nightmares all too real, too close and too calculating. Maybe it’s because while I consider myself an ally to the LGBTQ community, I still don’t understand and appreciate the daily harassment that they endure. Or maybe even though I am a black woman, I still don’t know what it’s like to be a black man in America.

Over the past few hours, there have been speculations that have confirmed my worst fears. Unnamed “police sources” have claimed that Smollett orchestrated the entire thing.

Surveillance images show alleged attackers in an assault of ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett

Chicago police released images Jan. 30 of two “people of interest” in the assault against actor Jussie Smollett. (Reuters)
If Smollett’s story is found to be untrue, it will cause irreparable damage to the communities most affected. Smollett would be the first example skeptics cite when they say we should be dubious of victims who step forward to share their experiences of racist hate crimes or sexual violence. The incident would be touted as proof that there is a leftist conspiracy to cast Trump supporters as violent, murderous racists. It would be the very embodiment of “fake news.”

And that reason, more than any other, is why I need this story to be true, despite its ugliness and despite what it would say about the danger of the world I live in. The damage done would be too deep and long-lasting. This could be one tragedy that the Lyon family — and more importantly, the ordinary people who loved the show and invested in Smollett and his character — could never overcome.

Suspect Who Attacked Gay Man on Video Sought

(Gephardt Daily) — Police investigators are asking for the public’s help in finding the suspect who was recorded on video attacking a gay man on Main Street in Salt Lake City Saturday night.

The 8-second video was posted on social media Sunday afternoon by Sal Trejo. It was accompanied by Trejos’ own description of events before and after the assault.
“It started with him approaching us out of the blue and making homophobic and misogynistic comments toward our group,” Trejos wrote. “We started recording him and asked him to leave, he wouldn’t, and then he went on to hit me and shove one of our girlfriends. At this point, we became verbally aggressive to protect ourselves. We called the police immediately. He then pulled out a knife and pointed it toward us while continuing to call us faggots. He eventually ran off, got into his car (in his intoxicated state) and drove on the light-rail tracks until he spends off away from Main Street. This man is dangerous and needs to be held accountable for his actions. He drives what looked like a 2007 BMW X5.”
The video has sparked outrage on Twitter and been viewed more than 100,000 times within hours of its release.
Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and former state legislator Jim Dabakis both shared the video on their Twitter accounts.
Utah State Senator Derek Kitchen also posted the clip and called on fellow legislators to pass a hate crimes law. Just last week a gay pride flag hanging outside Kitchen’s restaurant at 912 S. Jefferson Street was vandalized. 
The Salt Lake City Police Department is asking anyone with information on Trejos’ case to call 801-799-3000.

February 17, 2019

Two Brothers Released After Questioning About Jussie Smollett (Empire) Reported Attack

Annie Sweeney, Jeremy Gorner, Tracy SwartzChicago Tribune
Chicago police late Friday released two brothers they had been questioning about a reported attack on “Empire” star Jussie Smollett, saying they no longer were considered suspects.
“Due to new evidence as a result of today’s interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a tweet. 
He did not say what the evidence was or what work detectives still must do. His statement was released about 12 hours after he had called the brothers “possible suspects” and said that detectives had “probable cause” that they might have committed a crime.
Guglielmi did not explain what happened in the meantime. The men had been arrested Wednesday night after detectives tracked their movements on surveillance cameras in the Streeterville area, where Smollett says two men shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him late last month, hit him and wrapped a rope around his neck while yelling, “This is MAGA country!”
Smollett, in his first TV interview Thursday, said he believed the two people captured by those cameras are his attackers. “’Cause … I was there,” he told “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts. “I don’t have any doubt in my mind that that’s them. Never did.”
But police sources have said detectives are investigating the possibility that Smollett staged the incident with the help of the brothers, who according to their attorney know the actor from working on the show and also have spent time with him at a gym.
Earlier in the day, Guglielmi said there was “no evidence to say that this is a hoax” but that detectives were “working to corroborate the allegations and investigative timeline as our investigation continues.” 
Smollett has told police the attack occurred around 2 a.m. Jan. 29 in the 300 block of East North Water Street as he was walking from a Subway shop to his apartment building. The brothers, who are in their 20s and are black, were traced from that area through surveillance cameras and ride-share records, according to police sources. 

The brothers are of Nigerian descent. The oldest received his secondary education in Nigeria and the younger brother attended high school in Chicago, a few blocks away from their North Side home. They both played football for Quincy University, a small liberal arts college in western Illinois, and since then have offered online courses in bodybuilding.
Smollett follows the brothers’ bodybuilding page on Instagram. 
The brothers are both aspiring actors who have posted auditions online, including a scene in which each of them was interrogated by police for murder. They signed with the Babes ’N Beaus Model and Talent Agency in 2016, according to Don Underwood, one of the owners of the Hinsdale-based agency. They each appeared on an episode of NBC’s “Chicago P.D.” last year.

The younger one’s episode initially aired Nov. 14, while the 27-year-old’s episode premiered a year ago. They both had roles in the 2017 indie movie “The Worst Nightmare.” One of them also had a part in Spike Lee’s 2015 film “Chi-Raq.”

Neither brother has been credited for work on “Empire,” though the older brother said in a 2015 interview that he played the prison bodyguard for Chris Rock’s character. Rock guest-starred on the Season 2 premiere of “Empire” in 2015.

The brothers also have struggled with their finances, filing for bankruptcy in 2016, federal court records show.

They owed thousands in student loans — one owed about $85,000 and the other’s exceeded $39,000. But the two reported earning just $160 and about $140 a month, respectively, money they often earned with odd jobs, the records show. One of the men reported having $300 in investments, including a single share of investment giant Berkshire Hathaway.

The two also had a business, a party and decoration store that was established in 2015 but dissolved last year, according to state records. At the time the brothers filed for bankruptcy, records described the store as “operating at a loss.”

Both brothers have had run-ins with the law. The older one pleaded guilty in 2012 to aggravated battery and was sentenced to two years of probation for a stabbing that occurred a year earlier about a block away from the brothers’ home, according to Cook County records. His brother was ticketed for a DUI in 2015.

On the day police announced they had taken the brothers into custody, Smollett gave his first TV interview about the incident and tried to end doubts that have grown about the attack.

“I respect too much the people who — I am now one of those people — who have been attacked in any way,” he told “Good Morning America” co-anchor Roberts. “You do such a disservice when you lie about things like this.”

A week before the attack, Smollett told police he received a threatening letter at work. Witnesses told police a postal worker dropped off the letter at the Chicago studio where “Empire” is filmed. It was postmarked in southwest suburban Bedford Park on Jan. 18 and bore two American flag stamps. The letters “MAGA” were written in the upper-left corner of the envelope.

Smollett said a stick figure was shown hanging from a tree with the words, “Smollett Jussie you will die black (expletive).”

“Did I make that up too?” Smollett asked in the interview with Roberts.

Police have not said whether they believe the two incidents are related, and so far they are being investigated separately — the letter by the FBI and the alleged attack by Chicago police.

Chicago detectives have sought Smollett’s phone records since shortly after he reported the attack because he said he was on the phone with his manager when it occurred. But police said this week that the records Smollett and his manager provided were redacted PDFs that were not sufficient for solving the case.

“They wanted me to give my phone to the tech for three to four hours. I’m sorry but — I’m not gonna do that,” Smollett said. “Because I have private pictures and videos and numbers: my partner’s number, my family’s number, my castmates’ numbers, my friends’ numbers, my private emails, my private songs, my private voice memos.”

He added: “I don’t know what that’s gonna be, to hand over my phone for — and honestly, by then, inaccurate, false statements had already been put out there.”

February 12, 2019

11 Yr Old Sixth Grader Savannah Tirre, Targeted and Assaulted Left With Scary Anti Gay Threats

Algernon D'Ammassa, Las Cruces Sun-News
LAS CRUCES - Social media threats targeting a sixth-grader at Zia Middle School over the weekend led to a brief "shelter in place" order at the school Monday morning.
Despite the threats, and a violent encounter on school grounds Friday, 11-year-old Savannah Tirre returned to school Monday, arriving with a group of friends and family members. 
The student's mother, Chelsea Tirre, told the Sun-news her daughter was being escorted between classes Monday by the school resource officer, a Mesilla town marshal regularly assigned to the school.  
Tirre said her daughter has been the target of bullying since October, when her daughter came out as gay. She said the bullying began "right off the bat" when Savannah started attending Picacho Middle School, ultimately moving the family to transfer her to Zia where the bullying continued.  
On Friday, Savannah was involved in a fight with an unidentified student at school. A mobile phone video published on Facebook shows Tirre on the ground being punched at least six times by a student standing over her before Tirre attempts to push her off with her foot, as recess monitors are heard blowing whistles.
Tirre said her daughter reported the other student punched her from behind. When she saw the video of the encounter later, Tirre said, "My heart just dropped," and she filed a police report.
The video does not show how the encounter began or whether it was instigated over the student's sexual orientation. However, social media comments included threats of further violence toward the student and referred to her being gay.
One example, shared as a screenshot on Facebook by the student's aunt, included a threat with the poster's name obscured that stated, "This little girl is about to get jumped Monday again so get your phones out," describing Tirre as "a little lesbian."
An additional social media threat by an unnamed male, currently under investigation by police, led to security measures Monday which the Las Cruces Public Schools said it took "out of an abundance of caution."
The shelter-in-place order was lifted sometime before 9 a.m., according to the district.
"Savannah is doing surprisingly well," Tirre said of her daughter Monday morning. "She's had a lot of people reach out to her, lots of support. Her adrenaline is still going really strong so it really hasn't hit yet ... Savannah has gone through a lot." 
Mom says attack was preventable
Tirre said that her daughter came out to her as gay the summer after graduating from fifth grade at Mesilla Elementary School.
Tirre recalled hugging her daughter, who was in tears. "We said, 'We don't care, we just want you happy.' It's never been an issue in this family."
Soon after enrolling at Picacho Middle School, however, Tirre said intense bullying began, and she ultimately decided to move Savannah and her brother to Zia because she was not satisfied with the school administration's response. 
Picacho Middle School Principal Fred Montalvo referred the Sun-News to the school district's central office.
LCPS spokesman Damien Willis responded, "While we are unable to comment on matters pertaining to specific students, we take all reports of bullying very seriously and address them in accordance with the district’s policies and regulations. The safety and well-being of all students is our top concern.”
The bullying was so intense, Tirre said, that in October Savannah began experiencing seizures that required treatment in the pediatric intensive care unit at Memorial Medical Center. 
"The bullying has never stopped, although she has more friends at Zia who have protected her from this sort of thing," Tirre said. "It's one group of girls that's doing this, along with two boys." 
Tirre praised Zia Middle School Principal Joel Aguilar for being responsive to the bullying and for his communication with Savannah's family. She said that following Savannah's hospital stay, all of her teachers participated in an action plan to monitor the bullying as well Savannah's physical and emotional health.
"She went to a dark place," Tirre said, "and has worked really, really hard to love herself, respect herself, and reach out to me when she needs me." Savannah has also restricted her time with certain peers along with mobile phone use, "so she could let herself be 11 and not grow up so quickly."
While expressing confidence in Zia's staff, Tirre believes Friday's attack could have been prevented.
"Savannah found out she would be jumped (Friday) morning," Tirre said. "I'm very disappointed the (recess) monitors were not informed of this situation." 
She said meetings were scheduled later Monday to decide the next steps for Savannah, but that she had been told her daughter will not face suspension for the fight, the school having told her "she did not try to do anything but cover herself and defend herself." 
Disciplinary measures for the other student had not been determined, but Tirre said she hoped for a constructive intervention. 
"Middle school, for girls, is tough, I get that, but I think this little girl needs to be set on the right path," Tirre said. "I think she needs to be in some sort of program that can help redirect her. I don't think she should be locked and put away. I hope her parents guide her in the right direction." 
Otherwise, Tirre said, "My focus is on my daughter only ... My daughter is being threatened for her life because she's gay." 
Algernon D'Ammassa can be reached at 575-541-5451, or @AlgernonActor on Twitter.

February 11, 2019

There Could Be Problems with Jussie Smollett Account of A Hate Crime

(Latest from NBC News 2/12)
"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has turned over partial records of his cellphone use to detectives investigating an alleged assault by two men hurling racial and homophobic slurs, Chicago police said Monday.
Smollett, who is African-American and openly gay, has told police that he was beaten up by two men who shouted racist and homophobic slurs early on Jan. 29. Police say they are investigating the report as a possible hate crime.
The actor told police that he was on the phone with his manager as the alleged attack occurred.
His manager told police that he heard the attackers say "this is MAGA country," police officials said. "MAGA" is a common shorthand for "Make America Great Again," President Donald Trump's campaign slogan.

Some things about the account of Jussie being beaten does not make sense. For one all the cams in the area show him but no one else. The two men of interest are two homeless men and not close to where the incident was supposed to have happened. Secondly, there is a sense that Jussie is not cooperating fully with the police. He never even notified the cops but went for medical help and that is how the police became involved.

Many of us know that a little lie can become a volcano if the truth doesn't come in right away t stop the growth. I hate the whole thing no matter what happened and it does not help the community nor Jussie.  There is a lot of talks and I'm publishing some of it and letting you be the judge but at this point, this is news and is not being touched by main media. We have to keep our eye on this in case there is a couple of racist men out to do damage to the gay community. Why they have not been caught? Why the silence from the cops?

A false report will get Jussie's case flipped back on him. Jussie Smollett ‘will be held accountable’ if he made a false report, per the Chicago Police Superintendent!

So, basically they are not saying that he's lying, but they are saying he might be lying. They are going for the phone records and that's a bit deal. As you may recall, Jussie declined to give the police his phone initially.
Here are some more.
(AllHipHop Rumors) Jussie Smollett got the support of everybody a week or two ago because he was allegedly attacked by some MAGA hat wearing, bleach having, racial slurring maggots!!!! The words of Lee Daniels ring in my head: something about hunting the animals down. Well, that's all I needed to hear until now. I am still waiting for ANYTHING FURTHER to emerge in this hunt! But, Jussie said he just wanted to move on and some other stuff that seemed to suggest that nothing more would be made of the matter. I am confused. 

I want to help with the hunt and revenge! I don't want to move on! I wanna get these MAGA Maggots! Anyway, Jussie has gone back to work on "Empire" back in Chicago. He reportedly has more security than before, because of the alleged attack. According to TMZ, the cops want to talk to him as a part of the investigation, which is ongoing. The police have more video footage, but nothing that shows an actual attack. Those MAGA Hatters were slick to avoid ALL the cameras!

I am not saying he is lying, but I want to make sure he gets the justice he's entitled to!
Joe Budden has not held anything back.
All Hip Hop

February 5, 2019

70 yr Vladimir and His Gay Life Time Partner of 64 Nikolai Were Found Murdered in Their Home_Russian Town Shrugs It Off

A playground in the town of Ilsky
A playground in the town of Ilsky

In a special report for Novaya Gazeta, correspondent Elena Kostyuchenko traveled to the town of Ilsky in Russia’s Krasnodar Krai to learn about the murder of an elderly gay couple. She found a community where homophobia is so common and accepted that many locals don't even hide their relief to be rid of two men who enjoyed a loving relationship. Meduza summarizes Kostyuchenko's report below. 
On January 10, neighbors reluctantly checked in on 70-year-old Vladimir Dubentsov and 64-year-old Nikolai Galdin and discovered their bodies. People in Ilsky repeatedly asked Novaya Gazeta correspondent Elena Kostyuchenko not to name them in her story — not because they were ashamed of how these two men were harassed or even murdered, but because they were embarrassed that a gay couple lived in their town at all.
Many in Ilsky don’t conceal their hatred of Dubentsov and Galdin, and complained to Kostyuchenko that the couple was openly gay. Starting roughly five years ago, the two men started feuding with neighbors, and local youths began tormenting and abusing them. The trouble apparently intensified when Dubentsov started lobbying the local government for priority housing that many in the community felt he didn’t deserve. He regularly called local officials, demanding the assistance and entitlements he was owed as the son of a World War II veteran (his mother served in the USSR’s brief naval war against Japan).
Dubentsov reportedly had a tense relationship with the local Cossacks, as well, who allegedly refused to let him join their May 9 Victory Day March as the son of a veteran, claiming that his homosexuality made him “less than a man.” The group’s leader, Ataman Viktor Pikalov, denies these rumors. Pikalov says he met Dubentsov twice: once to help him when his home flooded, and a second time when he asked for help being buried beside his mother. The Cossack elder even took Kostyuchenko to a former factory dormitory where some of the town’s gay men apparently live, in order to demonstrate his supposed benevolence toward the LGBTQ community.
While Kostyuchenko was in Ilsky, detectives told her that homophobia was the most likely motive for the double homicide. Police working the case had interviewed all the known gay men in town, and the senior investigator joked to Kostyuchenko that the murders might have been a crime of passion committed by a jealous lover. The victims had just received their pensions, but the killer left the money and everything else in the house. In connection with the case, police interrogated the neighbor’s son, Alexander Panteleenko — a 53-year-old unmarried, childless, nearly blind man, whose detention mortified his mother. When he was released after three days, Panteleenko’s biggest concern was that the town would think he is gay, like Dubentsov and Galdin.
After Kostyuchenko left Ilsky, police arrested 23-year-old Alexander Fet-Ogly for the murders. Previously incarcerated for burglary, Fet-Ogly has history with the local Cossacks: as a teenager, he traveled to Krymsk in 2012 with the group and helped with flood relief efforts. Fet-Ogly’s father was also a Cossack member. The young man was arrested a day before he was due to ship out for contract military service. He’s confessed to the killings, claiming that Dubentsov and Galdin made a pass at him while they were all drinking together, and he “defended himself.” “It seems he went a bit overboard,” the police told Kostyuchenko.
On January 13, Dubentsov’s remains were laid to rest next to his mother's grave. Galdin’s body is still at the town morgue, as officials search for his relatives. He won’t be buried beside his long-time partner.
Report by Novaya Gazeta's Elena Kostyuchenko
Summary by Kevin Rothrock

February 3, 2019

Actor Jussie Smollett Explain Why He Was Hesitant toComing Out and It Is Related to his Attack

Actor Jussie Smollett is best known for playing Jamal Lyon on the Fox TV series Empire. Just like his character, Smollett is a gay man. And also like his character, revealing he was gay was a bit complicated. Here’s why Jussie Smollett was hesitant to tell his fans he’s gay.

Jussie Smollett’s Empire character comes out as gay

Fox’s Empire caused quite a stir when Smollett’s TV character came out as gay. The revelation was made in 2015 during episode eight of season one. Jamal was performing his song You’re So Beautiful. In that scene, Terrence Howard’s character, Lucious Lyon, looked disturbed after he heard Jamal sing the lyrics ‘This is the kind of song that makes a man love a man.’

The series’ early episodes showed how Lucious struggled to come to terms with the fact that his son is gay. One episode even showed a flashback of Lucious picking up his son as a little boy and putting him in a trash can after seeing him trying on his mother’s high heels. Here’s a clip of the shocking episode where Jamal comes out to the world.

Jussie Smollett revealed he is gay soon after his Empire character

Soon after that Empire episode, Smollett came out as gay. He shared this revelation during an interview on Ellen with host Ellen DeGeneres. He spoke about how he was receiving hateful messages on social media from some viewers after his TV character came out. Smollett initially didn’t mention his sexual orientation but chose to speak up after the show and do an additional interview.

Why Jussie Smollett hesitated to reveal he was gay

Jussie Smollett | Roy Rochlin/Getty Images
Smollett told Ellen he is not ashamed to be gay but that he didn’t say anything because he desires to protect his personal life. Here’s what Smollett told DeGeneres:

It was really important to me to make sure that it got across that there is no closet, there’s never been a closet that I’ve been in… I don’t have a closet. But I have a home and that is my responsibility to protect that home. So that’s why I choose not to talk about my personal life. But there is, without a doubt, no closet that I’ve ever been in. And I just wanted to make that clear.

Here’s a clip of Smollett’s chat with Ellen:

Jussie Smollett has allegedly been facing harassment for being gay

In January 2019, Smollett made headlines after he was allegedly attacked by two men in what has been labeled a hate crime. The actor reportedly said the two men shouted homophobic and racial slurs and placed a noose around his neck, reports The New York Times.

It was also revealed Smollett received a threatening letter at Fox’s studios before he was attacked, according to TMZ. The publication said Smollett was offered additional security after receiving a death threat, but he reportedly declined.

January 22, 2019

Couple Attacked and Targeted as Gay in Austin

A photo of Tristan Perry in the hospital after he says he and his boyfriend were attacked along Red River Street for holding hands. (Photo Courtesy Spencer Deehring).  



AUSTIN (KXAN) —  A gay couple in Austin say they were the target of a homophobic slur, then attacked in downtown Austin in the early hours of Saturday morning. Both were hospitalized for their injuries.

Spencer Deehring and Tristan Perry say they love holding hands with each other and being affectionate. A friend had a birthday party Friday night, so the couple and their friends went to several bars downtown to celebrate. The two say they only had two drinks early on in the night and drove downtown so they wanted to make sure they were sober by the time the night was over.

The two were walking out from Rain nightclub on 4th Street at around 2:45 a.m.

Because of the head trauma he sustained, Perry doesn't remember any of what happened next.

Deehring believes that they were walking near 7th Street and Red River Street (though he says it's possible they could have been a block or two away from that point) when a man walked past them and said a homophobic slur to them.

"I hate that word," Perry interjected. "I'm not going to have someone walk all over me, but that also doesn't warrant getting punched in the face or having a broken nose."

Deehring recalls making a retort back to the man, saying something like "I'm sorry I couldn't hear you."

Then he said that man called over to his group of friends who were out of sight, motioned for them to come over, and within a few seconds, the group was following Deehring and Perry as they walked to their car.

"They started following behind us pretty closely yelling every expletive you can think of," Deehring said. "The last thing I said to one of the guys before they attacked both of us was like, 'I don't have anything more to say to you guys, we're just going home, leave us alone.'"

That's when Deehring said one of the men punched Perry in the face, breaking his nose and causing him to fall to his knees. Next, he recalls two other men stepped in and hit Perry again until he was laying on the ground. Then, Deehring said another man kicked Perry in the back of the head.

Deehring said he immediately tried to tackle the men who were attacking his boyfriend.

"That was my first reaction, was to stop them from kicking him because he couldn't receive one more blow to the head or he may well have been dead," he said.

But Deehring said he was knocked unconscious by the men punching him.

A bystander called 911 and waited there until police and EMS arrived, which Deehring estimates took more than 20 minutes. Both Deehring and Perry were hospitalized.

"If the bystander had not been there [the attackers] may have continued, it may have been much worse," Deehring said.

The couple believes that their attackers were set off by seeing them holding hands.

Perry has a laceration on the back of his head, his nose is broken,  he has swelling in his face up to his cheekbones, his lip is busted, his teeth are chipped, he has neck and upper back pain and his memory has some lapses.

Perry was planning to take the state board exam for his cosmetology license this week, now he fears he will have to delay it. He was rehospitalized Sunday morning after his bleeding continued and symptoms persisted but he has since been discharged.

Deehring has swelling to his mouth and jaw as well as lacerations on his forehead that required skin glue. He also thinks he has bruising from blows to the back of his head and neck.

Both Perry and Deehring have difficulty chewing and are experiencing pain.

"It shouldn't happen to anyone else, and it breaks my heart that it's probably going to [keep happening] until these guys are caught," Perry said.

"Living in Corpus Christi and moving to Austin,  I thought, 'Oh everyone is going to be so open-minded,'" Perry said. "I think that a lot of people think that and it's overlooked that this could happen to anybody, anywhere, anytime."


A photo of Tristan Perry in the hospital, he says he and his boyfriend were attacked while holding hands in downtown Austin. Photo Courtesy Spencer Deehring. 
Anna Nguyen, the president of the Austin chapter of PFLAG, told KXAN Sunday she sees this attack as "alarming."

In her 26 years living in Austin, she recalls many attacks on LGBTQIA individuals.

"But it feels as if lately the frequency has ratcheted up quite a bit," she said.

"I think Austin as a community needs to step up its game and prove its one of the most LGBTQIA friendly cities in the country by deeds and not just by words," she said.

She hopes that APD can quickly make headway on finding the person who attacked Perry and Deehring. Nguyen added that in the meantime there are many LGBTQIA groups in Austin that victims of attacks can turn to for support. The couple says they have filed a police report and KXAN is waiting to hear back from Austin police and Austin-Travis County EMS for their records on the case.

In the last few months KXAN has spoken with Austin Police several times about the crimes they see downtown, Assistant Chief Justin Newsom told KXAN that the most common type of calls APD officers responds to downtown are "disturbances" or fights. He estimates around one happens every day and that these calls often involve people who are intoxicated. Newsom told KXAN in December and Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday reiterated in January that they feel more officers are needed to meet the growing number of demands downtown.

While Perry and Deehring wait to hear from an APD detective, they are trying to encourage others to be cautious when out at night and not to travel alone.

"If he wasn't there I don't know that I would still be here today," Perry said looking at Deehring.

They decided to share what happened to them over Facebook for the benefit of others who may have gone through something similar but might not feel comfortable talking about it.

"We want people to understand that it is possible for this to happen, it's not something where you could say its 2019, this doesn't happen anymore, we are living proof of it," Deehring said.

Deehring explained that in sharing about this attack, he also came out to his loved ones about his sexuality. Both he and his boyfriend said they were grateful for the outpouring of support they've received since.

They have a message they want to share:

"Spread love, end all this hatred, end all this closed-mindedness always watch your surroundings, always be aware of your surroundings, don't walk alone," Perry said.

"Be aware of your surroundings, but don't change who you are as a person, don't ever change who you are as a person and don't be afraid to go out there and explore the world, just as you are," Deehring said. "We're gonna do that too."

The couple explained that while this attack has rocked them, they plan to continue going out in public and being affectionate in public.

They have created a GoFundMe page for their medical expenses, which you can find here.

A photo of Tristan Perry and Spencer Deehring. Photo Courtesy Spencer Deehring.
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