Three Boston men say they were verbally and physically attacked outside a popular Boston gay bar, and now police are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Details are still limited, but according to witnesses, the attack occurred just after midnight on Saturday at Jacques’ Cabaret. A group of patrons who had been hanging out at the venue grew belligerent, according to performer Christopher Fijal. In a Facebook post, event promoter Michael Flowers wrote that the group of men kept trying to talk to him outside the bar, and when he indicated he wasn’t interested, they grew violent.
In a joint statement to local news station WFXT, the victims wrote, “The group was shouting homophobic slurs while they punched and kicked one of the victims on the ground before putting him into a chokehold. … They instigated, approached us aggressively, and assaulted us all without us doing anything to them at all.”
Little is known about the extent of the injuries, but Flowers wrote on Facebook that the victims were “hit and bruised/cut up.”
Flowers is the promoter of Fascination, a monthly kink and gear night at the bar. According to a post on Fascination’s Facebook page, the event will go on hiatus while it looks for a new home, “as the events of last night have revealed the venue to be an unsafe space for our queer patrons.”
Last year, the number of hate crimes reported in Massachusetts reached a record high. The state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security collected 427 reports of hate crimes, up from 391 in 2016 and the highest since 2003. According to the reports, LGBTQ+ people constituted 16 percent of the targets. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker instituted a hate crimes task force in 2017.
In 2017, there was a 17 percent increase in hate crimes nationwide, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
But according to statements, nothing is known about the assailants who attacked patrons Jacques’ Cabaret. Although the case is being investigated as an act of targeted hate, the attackers could possibly be members of the LGBTQ+ community.