Loved-up couple brutally attacked at restaurant for being gay: ‘People were laughing instead of helping’

Maggie Baska
·2-min read

A gay couple were left bloodied and battered after being attacked at a restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona, sparking outrage among the LGBT+ community.

Rudy Haro and Fernando De Los Reyes Lugo were “viciously attacked by a group of men” while visiting the Golden Margarita nightclub on 11 April, according to civil rights organisations the West Valley NAACP and the Arizona Unity Collective.

The group said the two men were “assaulted for being gay“, and the restaurant’s “security failed to protect them” so the men called the police.

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AZ Central reported that an Instagram account named “gayprideapparel”, which has since been taken down, initially posted about the incident. The page reportedly shared a video from one of the men with details about what happened. Haro said in the video that it was his partner’s “birthday and my anniversary” so the couple decided to go out and celebrate.

AZ Central said the video then showed De Los Reyes Lugo with bloodstains on his shirt, and the description for the post said one of the men who assaulted the couple had a gun. The post continued: “People were laughing instead of helping.”

The West Valley NAACP and the Arizona Unity Collective held a press conference on Saturday (17 April) about the assault on Haro and De Los Reyes Lugo. Kenneth Smith, leader of Unity Collective and housing chair for the NAACP, called the incident a “travesty” and called on the police department and nightclub to take care of the incident “appropriately”.

He said one of the alleged attackers went up to a man accompanying the gay couple, told him that he “does not belong here” and then hit him on the side of the head.

“I call out establishments and other establishments like the Golden Margarita to make us inclusive, does not mean once a month making an LGBTQI spectacle, inclusive means protecting everybody, protecting your patrons, that is inclusivity,” Smith said.

The Golden Margarita said in an Instagram post that an incident occurred across the street from their restaurant with two separate parties who were patrons of The Golden Margarita the same evening. The post claimed the incident was “neither racial or sexual prejudice”, and “our staff was not involved”.

“To whom it may concern, but especially to the LGBTQ+ community, we sincerely apologise for any actions that may have occurred recently at the Golden Margarita restaurant over this past weekend,” the statement read.

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The Golden Margarita said the restaurant had “done an internal investigation” concerning the attack of the gay men with its owners and upper management to “rectify any issue” and “to prevent any issues from occurring in the future”. The restaurant also said it gave “our sincerest apologies” for the parties involved in the violent incident.