The story of 28-year-old Jeffery Lafayette's beating by a group of guys on the Saturday before the Super Bowl went viral after he posted a video on Facebook in which he was trying to counter their hate with words of love. SFist first reported on the story Monday, but we now have confirmation of the location and circumstances of the attack, via a tearful interview Lafayette gave to CBS 5's Mike Sugarman the only interview Lafayette has agreed to so far.
The larger story here, of course, as Sugarman introduces it, is "Even in San Francisco, in the year 2016, there is gay bashing."
And Lafayette can't be sure if his attackers were from out of town and here for Super Bowl festivities, or if they lived nearby. All he knows is that they were white guys, and he says there were about 20 of them.
The incident took place Saturday night, February 6, outside the Hi Fi Lounge on Lombard in the Marina, and Lafayette says he was outside the bar on the phone with his mom when the attack began. He says he attracted the men's attention because of his tight white pants. "When I looked around there was this huge group of guys and they started calling me 'girly' and they proceeded to call me 'faggot,' and they started approaching me... and they started spitting on me, and punching me, and I couldn't take it. I couldn't take as many hits as they were giving me, so I fell, and I cradled my face in the fetal position."
A coworker of Lafayette's, who appears to be the friend SFist quoted earlier, Ryan Eick, came out of the bar and managed to beat the gang of guys off. "He started running, and swinging, and he broke all of them up," Lafayette tells CBS 5. "He’s six three and pretty nimble."
Lafayette explains that he didn't call police because he was too shaken up and just wanted to go home, however LGBT rights advocates say it's important that there be a police record of the incident especially since people believe such hate crimes don't happen anymore in San Francisco.
Witnesses confirm that the attack took place, and anyone with information about the identities of any these attackers should call the SFPD's anonymous tip line at 415- 575-4444 or text them a tip at TIP411, and remember to begin your message with "SFPD."
Much like he did in the original video, Lafayette doesn't have words of anger for his attackers. He says if he could speak to them, he would only say, "I’m sorry for whatever drives you for your hatred. And if you can forgive yourself, for that hatred, you can move on, to be a better person."
The video has been shared on Facebook over 27,500 times, and has apparently been viewed over a million times. There has been a subsequent outpouring of support on Lafayette's Facebook page from people across the globe after the story was picked up on Towleroad, The Advocate, and elsewhere.