Two gay men attending a weekend screening of the Barbra Streisand-Seth Rogen comedy The Guilt Tripwere verbally and physically assaulted by a man who has been arrested and charged with battery.
According to The Advertiser, Walt Jamison and his partner joined two friends at a theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, where they were almost immediately beset by Joseph W. Menard Jr, who loudly barked anti-gay slurs from the seat behind them.
When Jamison’s partner responded with an inquisitive “Excuse me?” Menard “stood up and leaned over us and started screaming hate slurs peppered with profanities,” Jamison told The Advertiser.
Another woman in the theater reportedly asked Menard to stop yelling, since her young children were in the audience, but Menard insulted that woman and told her to sit down.
At that point Menard allegedly hit Jamison’s partner in the back of the head and, when he went to get a manager, slugged Jamison, knocking his glasses to the floor.
Menard and his wife immediately fled the theater but were soon apprehended by local police, who charged Menard with two counts of simple battery, and his wife with resisting arrest.
“I want people to know that not only is his behavior obviously unacceptable, [but] he has suffered consequences and hopefully will continue to suffer consequences as a result,” Jamison, 23, told The Advertiser. “But just because you’re different does not mean that you have to take this lying down.”
It’s not clear why Menard was not charged under Louisiana’s hate-crimes law, which includes attacks directed at a victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, but a police spokesman says the D.A. may consider adding charges when Menard appears in court.