Police in London are looking for the man who allegedly spat near a gay couple holding hands as they walked in public earlier this month. Josh Barnett, 24, told Pink News he and his boyfriend, Nathan, 21, were walking down a street on May 11 near the Wimbledon Shopping Centre when a man approached them from behind and spat noisily on the ground and called them "dirty homos." A short video clip Barnett shot just moments after the alleged spitting and later posted to Twitter showed the alleged assailant scurrying away when he saw he was being recorded. Barnett filed a report after police reached out and encouraged him to make an official complaint on the incident.
"Normally wouldn't do this, but Nathan and I were walking through Wimbledon holding hands, when this guy spat on the floor just behind us and proceeded to call us 'dirty homos' & swear," Barnett posted to Twitter, calling the act "disgusting" and adding the two boyfriends "continued holding hands and are proud."
\u201cNormally wouldn\u2019t do this, but Nathan and I were walking through Wimbledon holding hands, when this guy spat on the floor just behind us and proceeded to call us \u201cdirty homos\u201d & swear. It\u2019s disgusting. We continued holding hands and are proud, but come on...in 2021? Be kind \u270c\ud83c\udffc\ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08\u201d
Barnett told Pink News he was "absolutely furious" and "just could not believe" what had happened. He had just met Nathan and as the two were walking down the street holding hands, he noticed a man approaching rapidly from the rear until he was "incredibly close." Barnett thought the man's behavior a bit strange, and then he heard the "spit hit the floor."
Saying he was "understandably both shocked and incredibly angry," Barnett turned and confronted the man, who responded by calling the pair "dirty homos." At this point, Barnett decided it was time to document the man's homophobic assault.
"I got you on camera for just spitting at us and calling us homos," Barnett can be heard telling the man in the short video clip posted to his social media. The burly man clad in a white ball cap, black leather jacket, somewhat tight blue jeans shorts, and sneakers quickly flipped off the camera before walking away.
When police saw the video online, they reached out to Barnett and encouraged him to file an official report. He did so the next day and now police are on the hunt for the homophobic spitter.
"I went to Wimbledon Police Station the following day, where I was treated with complete care and consideration for what had happened," Barnett revealed, adding police have kept him fully updated on the case.
"He hasn't yet been tracked down," Barnett said. "However, the case is ongoing."
Barnett also said the outpouring of support from the LGBTQ+ community has been overwhelming and heartwarming.
"It really showed both Nathan and I just how much love and care there is out there within our community, and certainly made us feel like we weren't alone in what had happened, which is unfortunately still a sad reality of being LGBTQ+," Barnett said.
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