BOSTON - It's an alleged attack that three Boston men are calling "a hate crime." They claim homophobic slurs were shouted during an assault outside a popular drag bar this weekend. One of the victims tells Boston 25 News that he was punched, kicked and even choked.
The nightly drag show at Jacques Cabaret has been a big draw for decades, known for attracting a mixed crowd of both gay and straight people. The three men, who allege they were physically and verbally assaulted with anti-gay slurs, say they still can't believe it happened there.
"The clientele is a very mixed clientele," said Christopher Fijal, a drag performer at Jacques. "We have bachelorette parties, birthday parties — it's gay [and] straight."
It's an environment that Fijal says is welcoming to all. But Friday into Saturday, just after midnight, three men, who attended a special event that caters to the gay community hosted on the basement level of Jacques Cabaret, claim they were accosted with homophobic slurs and physical force.
"The gentlemen involved were at the show," Fijal said. "They were very friendly, they were not remotely homophobic."
Fijal was there for the aftermath and admits he didn't personally witness how things got out of hand. But in a statement, the three men claimed, in part, to Boston 25 News:
The group was shouting homophobic slurs while they punched and kicked one of the victims on the ground before putting him into a chokehold. The victims will be pursuing this as a homophobic hate crime.
What we were always scared of happening to us has finally happened.
One of the alleged victims, who claims he nearly lost consciousness, added this:
I'll reiterate that they instigated, approached us aggressively, and assaulted us all without us doing anything to them at all.
"I've been a customer here for 30 years, never violence never nothing," said Lee Tarr, a regular at Jacques.
The promoter of the special event – called Fascination, which is held twice a month at Jacques – claims he is one of the victims.
A post to the event's Facebook page says the following.
Fascination will no longer be happening at Jacques Cabaret as the events of last night have revealed the venue to be an unsafe space for our queer patrons.
Boston Police confirm that officers with A-1 responded to the scene at 12:40 a.m. on Saturday. A police spokesman says the allegations will now be forwarded to the civil rights unit.
Boston 25 News spoke with the general manager at Jacques inside the establishment Sunday who declined to comment on the allegations.
Anyone with additional information is encouraged to call Boston Police Crime Stoppers at (800) 494-TIPS; you can remain anonymous.
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