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Did BlackBook‘s Nick Haramis Actually Start the Corner Bistro Bashing?

haramiscornerbistro

TURN OF EVENTS — That alleged gay bashing at New York’s Corner Bistro with BlackBook magazine editor Nick Haramis that had us raging this week? Turns out Haramis, or someone in his group, might have been the one to instigate the violence by laying the first hand.

A quick recap: Haramis claimed on the night of Jan. 31, his boyfriend, another friend, and himself tried to sit down at a table at Corner Bistro (soon to be joined by two other friends), but was told by a staffer they had to order food in order to sit. And then things got out of control. Haramis wrote: “The man then grabbed the back of [Haramis’ boyfriend’s] shirt, at which point I reached in, instinctively, to take his hand away. I was then thrown down, the side of my head the last thing to hit the ground. There was some confusion as my boyfriend tried to stop the whole thing, and was then punched in the face, while the Bistro worker screamed ‘faggots’ a few times, for good measure.”

But new video surveillance footage of the evening suggests a different story — that Haramis, intervening just a few seconds after the employee and his boyfriend started talking, actually grabbed the employee by his neck in the first instance of physical contact. Only then did the employee react, shoving Haramis to the ground and starting the scuffle.

We’re not video experts, but we played the clip back a number of times, and it appears that’s what happened. The photo above highlights what appears to be the first instance of physical contact between anybody — and it shows Haramis placing his hand on the employee’s neck.

Was the employee justified in throwing around the word “faggot,” as Haramis claims he did? No. But Haramis left out a very crucial part to this story. Namely, that it was he who initiated the physical element. From the video it’s all but impossible to tell when the shouting started, or what words were thrown around, but we can all agree there’s a difference between fighting words and actual fighting.

The notes in this clip’s YouTube page say: “Hidden video of what really happen on Jan 31. Employee was attack first and struck back. This video evidence clearly shows that he was shove in the face or neck first. So who drew First Blood? This is why Nick didn’t file a lawsuit because the video clearly show him smacking the waiter first.”

Sounds like a certain editor needs to post another update on this story.

By:           editor editor
On:           Feb 7, 2009
Tagged: , , , , , ,
  • 36 Comments
    • darien
      darien

      Good for Queerty for posting this update, I suppose. Although I have to say, it should have been apparent to you guys in the beginning that there were plenty of aspects of Haramis’s story that didn’t make sense, and that those of us who were skeptical didn’t really deserve to be accused of perpetrating some sort of “injustice”.

      Feb 7, 2009 at 3:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • petted
      petted

      Watching the video it seems like Haramis had stepped between his boyfriend and the server in order to prevent an act of violence further watching the video you see Haramis move to keep the 2 separated and then when he ends up not being between the 2 he reaches out with his hand to deter the server from getting right up in his boyfriend’s face again – I think a fair reading is that Haramis did not in fact grab the servers neck nor did he punch the server, remember what the angle of the camera is from the incident, I think that he reached out with his hand flat to serve as a barrier between the two and because of the angle of the camera it appears as though he’s touching the server’s neck when in fact at worst his hand is just to side of the server’s neck – given that Haramis intent previously was to prevent a fight I find it odd that he’d seek to start one in the manner suggested – it may not have been smart of Haramis to seek to restrain the server but Haramis had been drinking, not the server so its not unreasonable to expect him to be a little clumsy. Given that later see the server shove Haramis down and kick him in his inner thigh and factoring in the relative sizes of those involved it seems more then reasonable to say the server overreacted to someone attempting to maintain space between two very agitated individuals. Too those who say portions of Haramis’s story don’t make sense need I point out this was a barroom brawl? These incidents never make sense even when your right there sitting next to the people it happened to like that guy messing around with his pda who only looks up once the physical confrontation had started (prior to this the server had taken Haramis’s boyfriend’s drink & you can see he doesn’t look up for that bit or the boyfriend going over to retrieve the drink). Haramis and his boyfriend may have not acted with all their wits about them but a server who hasn’t been drinking and presumably has received T.I.P.S or an equivalent training should not have been that ready to start a fight. If Haramis had clearly started the fight the staff would of taken him straight to the door instead of letting him gather up his things. Like I said earlier keep in mind the camera is pointing down at an angle so there’s going to be some distortion of distance in the film and if you watch closely you can see that the server had been shoving his hands up in front of Haramis’ boyfriend’s face throughout the engagement and given the server’s size, and visible hostility Haramis’s concern is not unreasonable. Should Haramis have reached out to restrain the server probably not but did he grab the server by the neck I rather strongly doubt it but I can say without doubt that was a very extreme reaction by a server who had received conflict resolution training and if that server hasn’t received TIPS or other training clearly he should.

      Feb 7, 2009 at 5:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • nikko
      nikko

      the waiter clearly looks like he’s acting hostile- a homophobic latino, from what I see. But what led him to be so hostile? Were Nick and his gang being rude?

      Feb 7, 2009 at 7:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • getreal
      getreal

      Since we have no idea what either of them are saying calling him a “homophobic latino” is at this point unfounded. Why play the race card why not just stick to the facts.

      Feb 7, 2009 at 9:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tom
      Tom

      I am extremely gratified that Queerty opted to re-visit this issue. Incidents of gay-bashing by stangers, by the police, or at the hands of an employee at a place of business are far too real every day to take lightly. And that’s why it’s just as important that we investigate and keep an open mind until these allegations can be substantiated. An allegation such as this can cost people their jobs and severely damage the livelihood of the entire staff, not to mention the reputation of the business owners accused.

      I pointed out from the beginning that this story had some serious factual problems and as more reports are published, including the video tape, at the very least it seems that Haramis played fast and loose with the truth as he used his access as an editor at BlackBook to cry “gay-bashing!” and damage the reputation of a neighborhood business 42 years in the making.

      And this is without addressing the published reports of Mr. Haramis and his bf returning to the Bistro “almost an hour later” (after having more to drink?), demanding the names of staff be written down for him, screaming that he worked for The New York Times and would “take them down” (his words) and then allegedly hurling a salt shaker or a beer glass at a bartender before being told to “get out and never come back”.

      As a gay man with many, many years behind me as both a bartender and a manager in New York City (and no connection to The Corner Bistro), I want to reiterate that physical confrontations with customers is something that we attempt to avoid as much as possible, and I certainly don’t condone or support anyone being called a “faggot’ or any other slur during a confrontation, but in my experience, restaurant staff almost never just spontaneously haul off and start beating on a customer, bartenders rarely refuse to lift a finger to help out even an obnoxious intoxicated guest.

      The fact that this transpired the way that it did, even in the initial posting by Mr. Haramis himself, raised a ton of red flags to anyone with a modicum of restaurant experience. That explains why the story was met with derision from the beginning.

      While I won’t in turn call for Mr. Haramis to be dragged through the streets or tacked with a Scarlett Letter, he ought to be ashamed of himself for abusing his position with BlackBook to exact revenge on people, he ought to recognize and admit his own culpability in whatever ultimately really went down, he ought to apologize to the employees and owners of the Corner Bistro for the horrible coverage they received this week, and he ought to re-evaluate his behavior when he is drinking and what the possible repercussions of continuing that behavior might be.

      Feb 7, 2009 at 10:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • C.F.
      C.F.

      @petted:
      stop defending a drunk, self absorbed individual that caused much unwanted trouble. this is not “gay bashing”. but an individual that wanted to expolite a situation in which he was at fault.

      Feb 8, 2009 at 12:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • petted
      petted

      @C.F.: I don’t believe I once said that it was a case of gay bashing – all I said was that the reaction of the server was by most standards disproportionate and based on the evidence at hand it seems reasonable to interpret Haramis’ actions as not intending to provoke a fight. If my unwillingness to say he must be lying about everything displeases you, then I will clarify that I don’t necessarily believe he was telling the truth about everything either honestly I haven’t entirely made up my mind and am apt to remain on the fence as to who was ultimately at fault. I think saying that Haramis was grabbing the server’s neck a bit unlikely however it could well be that Haramis in reaching out inadvertently slapped the server – I say inadvertently because barring definitive evidence to the contrary the people who seemed most antagonistic were Haramis’ boyfriend and the server, also I think the reaching out in order to restrain is more consistent with his previous behavior but I digress I always tend to go devils advocate which makes these discussions a little more convoluted as I usually go after both sides in one piece (though I note I did not do so here as one side seemed adequately portrayed) which makes makes my writing on these sort of topics rather convoluted.

      Oh and kudos to Queerty for providing a link to video footage which will allow those so inclined to tie themselves into knots. Well I’m off before I inadvertently step on a rake in the dark.

      Feb 8, 2009 at 1:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Frank
      Frank

      No2 and No3 –
      You are seeing only what you want to see. To say that the man who puts his hand on the waiters neck area is simply pushing him away is not supported by the video. He inserts himself between the waiter and his friend because the friend is the one being aggressive. The waiter is doing his job. As to whether homophobic words were used obviously we can’t tell anything from this evidence but Haramis’ word on the matter is completely unreliable after he lied so badly about this in such a pub;ic way in the first place. Now if someone outside of Haramis’ party comes forward then maybe we’ll know more about whatever words were spoken and when but unless that happens, I’d suggest everyone move along before this boomerang’s in a way which is unpleasant for just about everyone.

      Feb 8, 2009 at 2:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bjyup
      bjyup

      I don’t think this video clears up much. It starts in the middle of things which I find a little suspicious, we have no idea what the audio is and it’s obvious to me the waiter acted very aggressively and very inappropriately throughout. I really can’t see any excuse for him throwing down a customer like that and the rest of the staff (and customers) standing by to watch.

      A lot of you have attacked Nick for being drunk, but I don’t think that’s fair. If you work in a bar, you’re familiar with people who’ve had drinks and should know how to deal with them. People drink, so what? Don’t let your personal feelings about alcohol color how you see this incident.

      Feb 8, 2009 at 2:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GENE
      GENE

      @bjyup:

      I agree with you. It’s obvious that the waiter was downright hostile.

      Feb 8, 2009 at 3:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • koolq76
      koolq76

      I’ve waited tables and had dealt with many drunks. I’d always try my best to aviod confrontations. I had been attack by a customer cause I forgot to bring them a spoon for their soup when he asked for. If it weren’t for my co-workers I would had been in the hospital for weeks. Customer can be very hostile too, because they can leave the establishment in a flash before any law enforcement can come. There is no excuse of some one who is trying to make a living get attack, yet by a customer.

      Feb 8, 2009 at 6:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • C.F.
      C.F.

      i think many people are missing the point here. Gay Bashing and homophobia are serious issues. We do not need someone (from our community) that takes advantage of their position to “cry wolf”. There are serious and very dangerous people who mean to do harm to the gay community. To have someone such as Nick report an episode of “gay bashing” (his words) in a public fourm with no real concrete support, is very disturbing. I would think that if Nick was “really” writing for the NY Times he would have never been able to print his “episode” b/c again, he knows he has no concrete proof. Lets foucus and help peope who have been attacked b/c of their sexual orientation, not on someone who was pissed off b/c he was drunk and got busted for it.

      Feb 8, 2009 at 9:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • derek
      derek

      So, it all comes out in the wash—we have Nick, a probable drama queen made worse with alcohol on board (no shortage of these idiots in our community) and a waiter that should simply have walked away from a situation that was busy escalating. Altercations tend to NOT occur when it’s only one person standing there looking stupid. Waiter should be reprimanded or terminated. I lean towards the termination part—you NEVER get into a physical scuffle with patrons of the establishment you’re hired to represent. Now, on to important issues and real news… BTW, I agree with C.F. and let’s focus on the bona fide attacks.

      Feb 8, 2009 at 10:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian Miller
      Brian Miller

      One of the problems the LGBTQ community has to deal with is idiots exploiting their LGBTQ status as a club with which to bash others.

      While we don’t want to pursue every allegation with skepticism, we should keep in mind that lying is de-riguer for some. We all know the lazy queer guy who did a shitty job and got fired who screams “homophobia,” the rude abusive lesbian who hired her partner and got fired for it who claims “discrimination,” the aggressive street-wise gay guy who started a fight yet claimed “gay bashing,” etc.

      We shouldn’t allow such folks to pin their problems on the community and claim discrimination when they’re not experiencing it.

      Feb 8, 2009 at 11:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hardmannyc
      hardmannyc

      As I said earlier, this story stank from the beginning. If this guy had really suffered damages, he would have:
      contacted the police
      contacted a lawyer.

      Instead, he contacted the media. Sure sign of a phony.

      Feb 8, 2009 at 12:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bjyup
      bjyup

      Wow, you people are mean and maybe a little crazy. This video clearly shows the guy getting pummeled on the floor. Why are you all so quick to say he’s a lying idiot or a “drama queen” maligning the gay community? What’s wrong with you people?

      Feb 8, 2009 at 2:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • darien
      darien

      @ bjyup

      We’re so quick to say he’s a lying idiot AND a drama queen because his initial story, in which he and his bf were sitting at the table when the employee grabbed his bf’s shirt, isn’t even close to what happened on the video.

      Sorry for being mean.

      Feb 8, 2009 at 4:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dgz
      dgz

      hey everybody, this isn’t about laying blame. this is a fight (mutually entered into), which is why the cops didn’t do anything. one person always starts it, one always loses. using “faggot” sucks, but it’s not illegal.

      thanks for revisiting this, Queerty! it’s important that our community not cry wolf.

      Feb 8, 2009 at 4:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • alan brickman
      alan brickman

      I’ve seen gay patrons being rude to waiters a lot lately just because they can….and then playing hate crime card if the serving staff try to defend themselves …..quite tasteless…not all gays are automatically victims you know…..

      Feb 8, 2009 at 6:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • derrysf
      derrysf

      And do we know the waiter *really* called him a faggot, or is this also possibly part of what appears to be a fabricated or at least embellished story…?

      Feb 8, 2009 at 7:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bjyup
      bjyup

      @alan brickman: Come on, really? You’ve personally seen this a lot?

      Feb 8, 2009 at 8:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MR
      MR

      @bjyup: Why not? I have. Just because we’re fabulous (he said with tongue firmly planted in cheek) doesn’t mean we’re perfect.

      I am not a violent person, but if someone grabbed me by the throat as it appears happened in this video, I’d take him down in a similar manner. That is a major breach of personal space and can feel very threatening.

      That said, it may be harsh to call Haramis a liar or accuse him of making this up. When something like this happens, when the adrenaline starts surging, the stories always vary. We each remember things differently. Eye witnesses to a crime often describe vastly different perpetrators. He may remember things as he describes.

      Video, on the other hand, usually gets its story right.

      Feb 8, 2009 at 9:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paul Raposo
      Paul Raposo

      It looks to me like the waiter was holding the table for someone–possibly the first couple at the table whom he was friendly with–and when Haramis and crew wouldn’t leave he got hostile. He seemed aggressive with everyone who went near the table. Either way, he had no right to shove people around and use anti-gay language.

      What have we learned? Always keep three feet between you and an agressive person. If they violate that three foot buffer, leave or throw down. I still say boycott the dump.

      Feb 8, 2009 at 10:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paul Raposo
      Paul Raposo

      The person who posted the video also wrote this in the comment section:

      He just wants publicity since gay bashing are common. It has nothing to do with him being queer. It’s all about him being an asshole. Enough said..

      Enough said, indeed.

      Feb 8, 2009 at 10:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • getreal
      getreal

      @Paul Raposo: That person used badly chosen terminology that does not make them a homophobe. I was in London several times last year and had to let my english friends know that calling african americans colored could be construed as offensive. The poster may just be unaware of the proper terminology that does not necessarily make that person hateful. That being said I fully support a boycott of this establishment at least until they make a statement explaining their reaction to their employee brutalizing a customer. Has this man been fired? Can they assure us that they have taken steps to insure this won’t happen again? If not we should all spread the word in every way possible for people to avoid this establishment like the plague.

      Feb 9, 2009 at 1:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JJJJ
      JJJJ

      Hauslaib does it again. Blindly believing any story no matter how sketchy it is, because he WANTS to. At least this case he has revisited with this new info. But why did he? When the Duke lacrosse case (much worse, because it involved possible prison time for the innocent) didn’t go the way he wanted, he flitted away and hid. But with that case he was even more deeply involved, which might explain things. Harvard law Prof. Alan Dershowitz, this January, named the Duke case as one of the most important to study on momentous legal cases, one “(using) innocent students as a bizarre form of racial reparation.” Take heed, Hauslaib…..or else you don’t belong here in NYC. We’re not gullible hicks here.

      Feb 9, 2009 at 4:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hardmannyc
      hardmannyc

      Alan Brickman is right. I’ve seen a lot of gay men act like assholes – not so much because they’re gay but because they’re assholes. Then they play the gay-victim card when they’re called out on it.

      Feb 9, 2009 at 9:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BootsieGee
      BootsieGee

      If you read my comments in the original post I called BS on this story and laid out what I guessed happened. it looks like I was not far off with my guess.

      After posting,I was called bitter and sad because I did not blindly accept the story as true. All I said was that there was more to the story and that there appeared to be large holes in the story. So I am guessing the apology will be coming any moment now.

      It bugs me that people are so quick to throw the homo-card and race-card when in reality it is simply the ass-hole card that should be thrown. I remember visiting LA a few years back and my best friend and I were standing outside Rage waiting for our designated driver to pick us up and were playing around wrestling. Out of no where some queen started yelling at us that we needed to take our “hate crime” somewhere else and suggested that we take our playground drama to the playground. He was one of those “my brothers and sisters did not die at Stonewall so that I could be treated like this, blah blah blah” queers. Such a shame that people like feel as though everything that happens to them is a direct result of them being gay.

      Feb 9, 2009 at 10:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sceptic
      sceptic

      @nikko:
      Possibly the dumbest most stereotypical comment I have EVER read online. Way to generalize asshole.

      Feb 9, 2009 at 12:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • nikko
      nikko

      SCEPTIC, NOT!

      Feb 9, 2009 at 2:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • koolq76
      koolq76

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FGX6RTtyc0

      How it all stated….

      Feb 9, 2009 at 4:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charles J. Mueller
      Charles J. Mueller

      @dgz:

      “using “faggot” sucks, but it’s not illegal.”

      Well, it should be. Try calling someone the “N” word in a public restaurant, and see what happens to you?

      If one denigrating term is not politically correct and unacceptable, then why should the other be?

      Damn. I wish some of the gay people who post on these threads, would start showing a little more love and respect for themselves. Then, perhaps, they could show a little more love and respect for their fellow gay brothers and sisters.

      Just saying….

      Feb 9, 2009 at 7:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dgz
      dgz

      @Charles J. Mueller:

      and i wish people would respect the 1st Amndmt.
      show me where i said it was okay to say “faggot.” but unacceptable =/= illegal.

      and please don’t insinuate that i don’t support the community, or that i harbor some sort of self-hatred. that’s unkind and unwarranted, but sadly given what i’ve read of your posts, not entirely unexpected.

      Feb 9, 2009 at 8:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • petted
      petted

      @koolq76: Not to pry but given that the username of the utube up loader is the same as yours – I think its fair to ask where you got the video from?

      That said it does appear that as though the server was asking them to sit elsewhere however both videos are time stamped in the right hand corner which raises a couple of questions what happened to the ~ 4 minutes between the 2 videos and two the fight started approximately 17 minutes after they sat down at the table – given that there’s only 4 minutes missing between the tapes & it doesn’t look like the server was talking to them during that entire time I pose that it appears as though the server spoke with them only 3 times during the entire scenario and I’m counting right before the fight as one, the one bit in the video linked to by koolq76 and a hypothetical third in the missing 4 minutes – my point is it still seems a very strong reaction assuming that the two were there for only ~ 20 minutes perhaps they’d been a bother elsewhere in the bar or maybe I’m mistaken about how this place stamps their videos but it seems strange regardless. Like I said before I’m still on the fence though I’m heavily leaning towards everyone involved did something wrong.

      Feb 10, 2009 at 12:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charles J. Mueller
      Charles J. Mueller

      @dgz:

      Post no. 18: “using “faggot” sucks, but it’s not illegal.”

      Those were your exact words. And while you said using that word sucks, you then went on to give it legitimacy and tacit approval by saying it’s not illegal.

      Suppose that we substitute the “N” for the one you used, decry it in the first breath and in the next breath say, “but it’s not illegal” as justification for calling someone by that denigrating name? Would that make it okay?

      As a matter of fact, several famous celebrities as of late, have been taken to task for using denigrating terms to describe gay people in the media. Again, it may not be illegal, but should we be obliged to tolerate it, under the guise of First Amendment free speech rights? Me thinks not.

      Quoting First Amendment Rights to validate debasement of any minority group is not a legitimate defense for doing so, any more than it would be if I were to call your mother an unbecoming and undeserved name and use freedom of speech rights to defend that violation of personal dignity and respect.

      I would refer you to Queerty’s Comment Policy:

      PROHIBITED. OR: “WHAT CONSTITUTES ‘ABUSE?'”
      Don’t post hate speech. Don’t incite violence. Don’t defame anyone. And also: Don’t be a total dick. Queerty is not the place for you to spread anti-gay propaganda. We’re not an advocacy site, and we’re all for tolerance, but if you’re going to make an argument against gay people, “FAGGOTS SUCKKKKKK!!!” is not acceptable; at least try to impress us with your knowledge of biology and religion. Should you fail to do so, we reserve the right to, like, totally out you and call you a fag.

      Given the foregoing, if you do not suffer with self-hatred or the hatred of other gays, then perhaps you could explain, in terms that the rest of us can wrap our minds around, why you seem to feel that it is okay to use defamatory terms on gay people, simply because it is not illegal and the First Amendment guarantees you freedom of speech?

      I don’t go around referring to myself as “faggot” and I would be justifiably angry if anyone referred to me as one. I am an out and proud gay man. And that is the manner in which I choose to be addressed.

      So with that in mind, you might wish to review your comment policies when posting on these threads before you get totally outed and called one yourself.

      Feb 10, 2009 at 8:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • matt (the other other one)
      matt (the other other one)

      @dgz: You are correct but I’ve learned on this site you can’ try to speak in a reasonable way to the hysterics they will only answer hysterically. Thanks for making a good point though.

      Feb 10, 2009 at 11:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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