The 18-year-old is theater student at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, Lancashire, England. He identifies as bisexual.
Kennedy claims the mob beat him, knocked him to the ground, and started stomping on his face, splitting his lip and forcing several of his teeth up into his gums.
After the attack he posted a picture of himself on his Facebook wall, along with the following message:
Here is my face after a homophobic attack, 4 of my teeth are gone, not fallen out but deep inside my gums and cheek, one is sitting under my cheek inside my gum on the right side bottom of my nose. My face is swollen and it was worse yesterday, both my knees are badly injured and I struggle to walk and my whole face is constantly throbbing and I’m now on 4 tablets a day for pain and infection and may require surgery to sort the damage.
All of this and what was their motive? because of my f**king sexuality. something that doesn’t concern ANYONE else minus me and the person I fall for, either man or woman. A sex life is private and has nothing to do with no one, needless to say it’s absolutely disgraceful to violently attack someone because of who they are. My confidence has gone; I’m utterly embarrassed to be seen in public, the only reason I am putting this picture up is because I want you to see me as an example. An example why homophobia is wrong and it’s disgusting that it’s still around in 2014.
The picture has received over 47,000 shares.
But at least one person is calling Kennedy’s foul.
Someone who simply refers to themselves as “mufcgeeza” on YouTube has uploaded a video calling the teenager a liar. The video is monetized and comments have been disabled. We don’t want to add to the video’s view count by including a link, so we’ll just describe it to you:
The two-minute video opens by calling the whole story a “hoax” and suggesting Kennedy faked his teeth injuries in the photograph by using a “gum shield or another form of covering over his teeth.” It then claims the injury under his right eye “doesn’t even look real!” then goes on to say Kennedy could have drawn it on “using ink from a red pen.” It then accuses Kennedy of fabricating the story in hopes of building a Facebook following and becoming a celebrity. But the icing on the cake comes towards the end of the video, when it says: “A quick glance at [Kennedy’s] education provided further evidence that he was suitable for the part of victim in a homophobic attack…” then cuts to a screenshot of Kennedy’s Facebook profile showing that he is a theater student. “He’s a natural for the part!” the video chirps.
Lancashire Police say they are investigating the incident, although they cannot confirm whether it was a hate crime.
According to a 2013 report on hate crimes in the UK commissioned by the Stonewall Organization, many LGBT people in the UK who reported hate crimes to police complained of unsatisfactory results. Fewer than one in ten victims said their reports led to a conviction, and two in five said their reports were not recorded as homophobic incidents.