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Vandal targets historic New Orleans home of gay rights activist

Sunday, August 4, 2013

NEW ORLEANS — A gay activist says somebody tore a rainbow gay pride flag from his second-floor balcony and spray-painted the word “fags” on the house he and his partner share.

Police said they and the FBI are investigating it as a hate crime.

John Hill, in front of his home where a vadal spray-painted the word “fags.”

A neighbor’s surveillance camera captured video of the crime early Saturday, but it doesn’t show the vandal’s face.

John Hill, 68, is a spokesman for Louisiana Equality Forum, an organization supporting equal rights activist for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. He also served as past president for the group.

He said he found it frightening because the perpetrator had clearly planned what to do and wasn’t in any rush.

Police put the video on YouTube and are asking the public to help identify the man. They offered a $2,500 reward.

The video, filmed from a neighboring gallery, shows a van parking directly in front of Hill’s townhouse in historic Julia Row. A man emerges, walks to the rear of the van and pulls down a ladder, which he uses to rip the gay pride flag from Hill’s second-story balcony.

The man then sprays the anti-gay slur on a shutter before getting back in the van and driving away.

Hill said the flag was one that he and his partner, John Weimer Jr., brought to a rally celebrating the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings about gay marriage. It was waving behind them in an Associated Press photograph of the partners kissing during the rally.

“We’d come home from that rally and hung it from our balcony, We said, ‘Let’s just hang it there until we get married,’” Hill said.

He said he thinks he may have been targeted either because of the flag or because he wrote a newspaper opinion piece saying Louisiana is still hostile toward gays. He was later interviewed on television about it.

Watch a report from WVUE-TV:

The Times-Picayune has the actual surveillance video:

Hill says he won’t be intimindated by the incident, and has replaced the stolen rainbow pride flag with not one, but two rainbow pride flags.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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18 more reader comments:

  1. Good NOPD is treating it as a HATE CRIME!!! No one should have their house vandalized!. Keep your heads up guys!!!

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 1:18am
  2. Glad it is being investigated.

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 1:19am
  3. That´s why I am scared to hang a flag on my house. To many homophobic people in my town. Murrieta Ca.

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 1:36am
  4. shameful

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 1:42am
  5. It´s time for payback time

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 1:43am
  6. putting it on YouTube is just fodder for the homophobes

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 1:49am
  7. no rich, violence will only perpetuate the hate. we can´t hate them and then yell
    NOH8 means us too

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 1:56am
  8. Lydia,
    i know people talk about standing up and just be
    but dig, you be safe. the media´s romantic images of mlk and rev Jackson are n arm marching in Alabama isnt going to be there if your home is invaded or you are attacked. be you, but be safe

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 2:08am
  9. Sad but prejudice is alive and well…… STOP THE HATE !!

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 3:00am
  10. I see all these hate crimes, however the law seems to ignore the reality of these hate crimes. People are never punished for the hate crimes they do. It happens all the time.

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 3:27am
  11. :C

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 4:10am
  12. this is so sad i know john and his heart is so huge . i will never understand peoples hate

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 11:40am
  13. i know john has helped many homeless teens and adults in Nola who hang out at the Jackson square that´s how i met him he bought me many meals and clothing even helped me find a place to stay that was safe God bless this man and i thank him everyday !!!!

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 11:48am
  14. It is ashamed that in 2013, we still have juvenile idiots, whom are are afraid to talk to your face, so they vandalize your home in the cover of darkness. Cowards!

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 11:50am
  15. I posted this here, because this campaign really needs to happen. It is being produced by one of the local folks here in Louisville, if you could share this, it may just help the documentary happen. Thank you!

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 2:26pm
  16. the sick bastard s agasint equality are the same ones who were agasint blacks voting women voting etc…they feel indangered..and sHOULD be

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 5:57pm
  17. That is a hate crime.

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 6:54pm
  18. Welcome to the South.

    …where not everything is cut and dry

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 7:38pm