A 44-year-old man was attacked by a group of young men reportedly “making anti-gay comments” in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood Wednesday night.
The incident occurred around 11:30 p.m. outside a liquor store on West 44rd Street and 10th Avenue in the Manhattan gayborhood. A group of around seven young men started shouting anti-gay comments at the victim before punching him and stabbing him in the left leg. The attackers fled the scene and the victim was taken to New York’s Mount Sinai West Hospital, where he is reportedly in stable condition.
The New York Police Department confirmed that the city’s Hate Crimes Division is investigating the attack.
“At this time we do not have a description of the individuals that attacked the victim,” the NYPD said in a statement. “They were said to be approximately seven ‘young’ males but approximate ages are unknown.”
Out New York City Council member Erik Bottcher released a statement this morning saying that he is “enraged” by news of the attack.
“I am in communication with the NYPD and will share more information as it becomes available,” Bottcher wrote. “New York City is a symbol of diversity and freedom throughout the world, and Hell’s Kitchen is a haven for the LGBTQ+ community, and we will always stand up against hate of all kinds.”
“Hate crimes are among the more pernicious forms of crime because they are intended to strike fear into entire communities,” he continued. “We will not be cowed. We will not be intimidated.”
Out New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal (D), whose district includes Hell’s Kitchen, echoed Bottcher’s outrage in a statement this morning.
“If confirmed, this will be yet another example of the type of vicious and hateful attacks on LGBTQ people that are on the rise across our country,” Hoylman-Sigal wrote. “It’s even more chilling when they happen in the midst of our own LGBTQ community, but we must stand strong against this hatred and outrageous attempts at intimidation.”
Hoylman-Sigal’s statement alluded to the recent spate of anti-LGBTQ+ crimes in the city. The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force reported that hate crimes in the city increased by 76 percent between the first quarters of 2021 and 2022, with anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes increasing by 12 percent during the same period.
Last June, police arrested 52-year-old Runadieo Jordan for a homophobic attack in which he stabbed 31-year-old gay man Tavon Silver while calling the victim a homophobic slur. In November, police arrested 34-year-old Sean Kuilan for allegedly hurling bricks at a Hell’s Kitchen gay bar on four separate occasions. In February, a woman was arrested for setting a Pride flag on fire outside a SoHo restaurant. And the deaths of two gay men who were drugged and robbed after leaving Hell’s Kitchen gay bars last year has had the community on edge, though police say the men arrested in connection with the crimes did not appear to be motivated by anti-LGBTQ+ bias.
“This surge in anti-LGBTQ violence should be surprising to no one as it’s occurred alongside the dramatic increase in inflammatory rhetoric and hate speech directed at the LGBTQ community by right-wing officials and media personalities,” Hoylman-Sigal wrote.
Over the past two years, anti-LGBTQ+ misinformation on social media, most notably the baseless “groomer” narrative that falsely connects LGBTQ+ people with child abuse, has driven anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment and attacks from Republican politicians and far-right groups. Hoylman-Sigal specifically called out a recent social media post from Kid Rock in which the musician fired an AR-15 rifle at a case of Bud Light in protest of the brand’s partnership with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney.