Men Screaming Anti-Gay Expletives Cause a Row at WeHo’s Gay Starbucks

Three young heterosexual men began using the slur “faggot” today in an incident inside the Starbucks coffee shop at 8598 Santa Monica Blvd., a major gathering spot for gay men in West Hollywood, that spilled over into a confrontation outside and drew the attention of Sheriff’s deputies. The three heterosexual men appeared to be African-American or Latino and ranged in age from about 18 to 23 according to witnesses to the altercation interviewed by WEHOville.

One of the men accused of yelling anti-gay remarks at Starbucks.
One of the men accused of yelling anti-gay remarks at Starbucks.

The incident is the latest in an apparent series of violent and near-violent encounters in and near the city’s Boystown gay neighborhood that have prompted local residents to demand more action from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station and express concern about their safety. Previous incidents have occurred on Santa Monica Boulevard near San Vicente in the heart of the gay nightlife district. The assault of Kirk Doffing on Memorial Day weekend near Rage, the gay bar, which left him in a medically induced coma for weeks, sparked a major outcry for improvements in policing the area. In response, the Sheriff’s Station received additional funding from the city to add a four-person foot patrol in the area six nights a week, replacing a previous two-person patrol. There have also been nighttime robberies on Santa Monica Boulevard and on Palm Avenue, where an employee of a gay bar was stabbed and his companion was beaten in December. While the gay nightlife area is concentrated on Santa Monica Boulevard between San Vicente and Robertson, the Starbucks coffee shop on Santa Monica near Westmount, several blocks east, is the prime daytime social spot for gay men in West Hollywood, many of whom work from there. It is known by its gay customers as “Gaybucks” or “BGS” (Big Gay Starbucks.)

Joseph Daniels, a photographer who was present at Starbucks this morning, said the incident began a little after 11 a.m. when the men were in line waiting to order coffee and began using profane language like “faggots.” Daniels said another customer told them their behavior was rude, and the manager of Starbucks appeared and asked one of the men to leave. As he left, Daniels said, “he was screaming and pointing ‘you will die f–ing faggots’. It was very scary and unexpected.”

Another man accused of anti-gay expletives at Starbucks.
Another man accused of anti-gay expletives at Starbucks. (Facebook)

Daniels said Leslie Jordan, the gay actor and screenwriter, yelled at the men to leave, saying “get out of my house.” Jordan, who at 4’11” is known for his diminutive stature as well as his Southern accent, is a regular at that Starbucks. Daniels said Jordan followed the men outside objecting to their language, and he and another customer walked outside to protect Jordan. “The guy lunged at Leslie to hit him,” Daniels said of one of the men. “Then Leslie threw his drink at the guy. Then (another) guy threw his drink to hit me.”

Daniels said Sheriff’s deputies showed up quickly and spent about 45 minutes interviewing those present at the altercation. He said deputies urged the gay men not to file charges against the others, saying that if they did the men screaming “faggots” could accuse Jordan of assault for throwing his coffee at one of them and the deputies would have to arrest Jordan. Daniels said the three men then walked away, headed east on Santa Monica and making obscene gestures to the gay men and continuing to call them “faggots.”

Deputy Peter Sullivan at the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station said a report filed by deputies on the scene said “the deputies talked to all the persons. None of them were desirous of  filing charges against another person.”

Daniels disputed that, saying that the gay men who were present didn’t file charges because they were warned that they might also face charges and be arrested. “He provoked it,” Daniels said of one of the three men. “He spewed hate crime words against everybody and threw a drink at Leslie. Why couldn’t he have been charged with disorderly conduct?” Others posting comments on Daniels’ Facebook page also questioned why charges weren’t filed.

  1. These guys were obviously looking for trouble and I’m sure they might probably be connected to some of the other recent hate crimes in the area. The gay men involved should’ve pressed charges no matter what. I’m sure once these gay-haters were processed, the cops would’ve found out other facts about them that might have pointed to other crimes. However, I applaud Mr. Jordan’s courage in confronting these jerks.

  2. KYLE MURPHY: It seems like you have had the freedom to “experiment” & make the decisions in your life that were right for you, as you deserve to do. Possibly your anger is the result of your own sexual frustration & your father’s promiscuity as a gay man, although sexual promiscuity, wrong or right, is very common among the entire population, even early teens, & certainly not exclusive to the gay population. The human sex drive is innately very strong, especially among males. Blame Mother Nature. You are entitled to your anti same sex marriage sentiments, but no one was shoving it down your throat, that’s another verbalization of your anger. And above all, no one is telling you what to believe. That is part of your broader delusion. And even if 50% of Americans oppose marriage equality, that does not mean they are entitled to impose that belief on the rest of society. Supporters of same sex marriage believe in it as a freedom of personal choice, not a requirement. You are entitled to think that same sex marriage is immoral & I have a suggestion for you: Don’t marry another man. Others feel differently than you. Obviously every adult is entitled to a loving committed relationship with another adult & does not need your approval to do so. Gay men & women have had to fight for this & all of their rights & freedoms that were denied to them since time immemorial. And they didn’t pick the fight, they just chose to fight back The Rainbow Flag is not “stupid”. It is a symbol of unity & excludes no one, even you. If you think there should be “outcries” & “temper tantrums” because you resent seeing the Rainbow Flag, I think that is another externalization of your anger & possibly your own immaturity. And gay people are of “narrow little liberal minds”? Sounds like a projection of your own narrow mindedness, & again, your anger. I think your hostile assessments of those who are taking a stand against bullies & homophobes is a reflection of your own self loathing. Just my opinion mind you, not an attack on your “freedoms”. Yesterday I saw the play BENT at Mark Taper Forum. It is a depiction of the stark reality of homophobia & hatred in Nazi Germany in the 1930s when gay men were forced to wear the pink triangle in prison camps before they were tormented & killed & dumped into pits in the ground, And I kept remembering that there are many including politicians & religious leaders in America & around the world today who call for the same treatment of gay people & are even trying to enact laws to permit it. And they do so publicly, even in the chambers of our Congress & behind our church pulpits. Unfortunately we still have very anti gay people in our own immediate midst, even in WeHo, trying to disguise their hatred & homophobia as an attempt to protect their own “freedom of expression” when in fact they are trying to legitimize their homophobia & empower their own ilk. That’s why the right to fight back can never be surrendered

  3. @ Kyle Murphy. You sound like an bigot. There’s my sample of free speech for the day. Why do you care who gets married or not? I doubt my wedding in February has impacted you in the slightest. Concerning the issue at hand… If 3 men began calling you a faggot in a public coffee house I doubt you would sit there saying “oh yes, free speech for all.” It’s about deflecting hate. Don’t be a bigot. Broaden your horizons man. And hopefully your heart will follow suit.

  4. Replying to the comments stating that things are escalating and more people are hateful. Let me explain why I feel things are getting worse in some ways.

    you want same sex marriage. You push for it and you get it against what many people believe is a proper marriage between a man and a woman (yes, free speech, freedom of america).

    If anyone says anything other than your narrow little liberal mind, you scream and holler. So we have to keep our thoughts hidden and our feelings hidden.

    My parents divorced at a young age to find my father was truly gay. He ended up living with a few partners and I was living there part time. My mother gave me a very loving home. My father did as well but the revolving door of lovers was uncomfortable for my tastes.

    As I grew up all the kids told me I was gay so I experimented but I am not gay. I love all people gay or straight and think everyone has an option to choose what they want.

    Until lately, it has been shoved down my throat. Remember only 50% of the nation really supports same sex marriage, the other half doesn’t. I believe households need a man and a woman to have a more secure environment.

    If you are going to be this vocal with your stupid rainbow colored filter and your outcries, expect some people to have temper tantrums. This is no reason to call the police! I have a feeling the men who screamed out were the ones who were attacked, not the other way around.

    Respect each other. Gay, Straight, Neither, does it matter what the f you do in your bedroom? I don’t care what you do but I want to have my ability to say what I believe and have that respected equally so.

    I think same sex marriage is immoral. I also think that sex is something that shouldn’t define a person. If you fall in love with a person of the same sex, fine, but if you don’t fine. Just don’t tell me what the f to believe.

  5. Whatever happened to charging people with Disturbing the Peace? I know it’s a petty charge, but it is a charge nevertheless. Walking into a peaceful environment and making anti-gay slurs disturbs the peace.

  6. There appears to be many arm chair quarterbacks that don’t understand how the law works. Further, we were not there so it is extremely difficult to know exactly what happens. But as an attorney with experience in criminal law, I would suggest that Even if Leslie was arrested, the charges would have been dropped due to an inability to present a compelling case against him.

    If someone lunges at you in an aggressive manner, where you reasonably fear for your safety, you are allowed to defend yourself. The defense you use needs to be proportional to the harm coming at you. So the question would be: Was someone lunging at you equal to coffee? My opinion would be yes. If someone is coming at me and looks like they might punch or push me over, I would be in fear for my personal safety and would think throwing coffee at someone an appropriate response.

    I think the West Hollywood Sheriff Deputies have a bad habit of not wanting to make tough decisions and actually investigate further, so they just say “everyone is in trouble and the courts and supervisors can figure it out later”. That’s the wrong approach.

    I applaud Leslie for standing up to these pigs. We need more people willing to stand up to bullies, in whatever form they come and in other situations too.

  7. The important thing here is the the LASD now has the name-callers on file so that if there is a similar incident and they fit the description, they will be checked up on. That’s a good thing.

  8. I used to hustle for years in WeHo & know first hand how people hate on gays. good for Leslie Jordan… I wish I was living back in LA

  9. They should have all been arrested! I’m a gay male I’m definitely not biased to violent. The three of them should have been taken to jail had made to appear before a court Judge for their bad behavior of conduct. Also the gentleman that through the drink, this does not resolve anything. He needs to also be held accountable for his actions. Defusing a situation is more important than adding fuel to the fire. That way it’s a win win.

  10. I was there. Jordan—who was not the direct target of these guys’ comments—was indeed admirable for speaking out, but the twerps were already out the door (and the sheriff’s deputies on their way), when he unnecessarily got up from his table and followed them outside, which was where the drink incident occurred. Yelling “faggots” in that Starbucks made them look more silly (and of course rude) than threatening. To the Sheriff’s Department’s credit, they dispatched far more deputies than were ultimately necessary.

  11. @fine7760. Apparently you have reading comprehension issues. The story says the man lunged at Jordan, and in response Jordan threw his drink. It doesn’t say that Jordan initiated the encounter. It sounds as if Jordan was trying to defend himself against a physical assault.

    1. Lunching at someone is not a crime. Throwing a drink on someone is Assault and Battery. Thats the law rather you like it or not. I tried to explain it to you but you failed to understand it in the simplest terms

  12. For such a vertically challenged guy, Mr. Jordan stood very tall today. Thank you!!! Most people would not have the guts.

  13. There was a segment of Channel 9 News tonight about this incident & I see that TMZ video taped some of it & that clear pictures of the suspects were taken so that’s all good. And I’m afraid I didn’t even notice the pictures when I first read the article. Leslie Jordan was presented as a hero by the Channel 9 reporter & commended for standing up to the trouble makers. He may be short in stature but he seems to stand tall in pushing back against bullies & homophobes who invade his turf. I’m glad I caught this on the news because it clarified a lot of things that have otherwise been convoluted by “opinions” that tried to shift the blame to the victims of this verbal assault, namely the whole gay community. Bravo Leslie!

  14. @fine7760. So a man screaming “faggot” “lunges” at Leslie Jordan and Jordan throws a drink at him. Wouldn’t that be considered self defense instead of “mutual combat”? Cops all over this country shoot and kill drivers they pull over and claim “self defense,” so why can’t Mr. Jordan?

    1. Man of reason
      From reports Leslie Jordon threw his drink at one of the suspects and in return a drink was thrown at Leslie. That’s mutual combat.

      If we are to consider “Assault & Battery.” Assault is placing the victim in apprehention of a immediate Battery. A Battery is the intenional touching of another without their consent. The suspect must have the means. If he was not within reach of Leslie and had no weapon then an Assault is impossible.

  15. Keith – you are being sickened by common sense every day law. Verbal slurs are protected free speech in the absence of any physical threats. Throwing coffee on someone is assault. The homophobes are jerks, but there is nothing criminal in what they did. There is something potentially criminal (as in, being arrested; conviction unlikely) in throwing coffee on someone.

  16. I’m sickened by the policy of the West Hollywood Sheriff to allow criminals behaving badly to turn the tables on victims. The audacity that these morons would have been allowed to in turn file assault charges against Leslie or the other men there who were not only protecting the dignity of the establishment as well as their own persons is disgusting.

    I feel the same disgust for this policy as I do for the Sheriff’s knee jerk reaction and subsequent murder of my friend John Winkler by one of them.

    They need to overhaul this group of law “enforcers.”

    I was a long time resident of West Hollywood and now reside in New York. I miss running into friends at Big Gay Starbucks, but I do not miss the policies of the West Hollywood Sheriff. And no I am not saying there are “bad officers” it’s just a really bad policy.

  17. @jimmy Palmieri – name is Alison Laurie and I have posted here many times using my name Alison. And I have had slurs yelled in my face because I am Jewish. I had a job where I had to have a security officer walk me to my car every day because I was in a neighborhood where being Jewish was dangerous, so don’t assume anything.

    I have lived in West Hollywood since before Cityhood. It just seems that lately, the gay men on this site seem to want the Sheriff’s Department to work miracles. They want the Deputies to hold their hands.

    The Sheriff’s responded in this instance and did their job. What more do you want?

  18. An unfortunate event in such a pleasant, welcoming environment. Hate crimes, whatever their form, need to be taken seriously.

    The opening of this article, “Three young heterosexual men,” should be revised to “Three young men trying to prove they’re heterosexual….”

  19. Open a business in the heart of the city and you will see incidents like this on an almost daily basis,,.. most all go unreported as the ‘tough guys’ with the ‘big mouths’ aren’t usually brazen enough to do it in a crowd. Walk into my store and you can hear.. ‘these are for faggots’, on an almost weekly basis..

  20. @snarkygal……the next time someone comes up to you and yells slurs into your face…sing that pepperspray song will ya? Cause I doubt in your lifetime you have been in as many situations as gay men have been, where names escalated into beatings. LET’S PLAY BLAME THE VICTIM….Seems to be a favorite on this site with people who don;t use their real names.

  21. I’m gay, and though I have never felt threatened in WeHo, I understand that slurs and worse are an issue. Not sure people hurling nasty words alone is worthy of more than, as happened, those doing it being asked to leave and the manager calling the sheriff’s dept (who as indicated did respond).

    But can we please not keep leaping to conclusions over the awful Curt Doffing incident? At this point there is no proof, as horrible as it was, that it was a hate crime. The still unlocated perpetrators as I understand it were in the bar with him when the fight began, and then continued behind Rage in the alley. Maybe bashers are going into bars, but that isn’t normal. To use this terrible case as an example of why gay men in WeHo should feel threatened isn’t at this point helpful.

  22. I’m sorry this happened, but you guys need to toughen up. West Hollywood is not some golden castle with a wall around it where nobody from outside can get in. Remember the childhood saying I’m sure your mothers told you: “Sticks and stones will break my bones
    But words will never harm me”. Live by that. In this country, we have freedom of speech. The Sheriff’s Department is NOT here to hold your hands every time someone hurts your feelings. They have better things to do, like trying to stop break-ins and attacks, which you are always screaming about. There is another 2/3 of the city they have to cover. They are not the boystown Sheriff’s Department. We all know they are understaffed. Start carrying pepper spray to protect yourself. Take self-defense classes. Many of you are buff. Is that all for show?

  23. If you live in or regularly visit West Hollywood, send an e-mail to the City Council stating that this is not acceptable for the Sherriff department to do nothing. It will take all of 5 minutes and they do read their e-mails. You can find their individual e-mails on the city website or send to collectively.

  24. That guy in the top photo with the long hair is SO familiar. I cannot place him but I feel like I have seen him around the neighborhood before. Does anyone else recognize him? Is it possible this is some sort of disturbed ex-gay initiation act or something?

  25. Actually, Christopher, it seems that freedom of speech is only a “crime” when it comes from non-whites. The race of the perpetrators has nothing to do with the behavior here. I don’t even understand why it was mentioned at all. The authorities know the identities of these individuals, so it’s not like they were being described to help the police/sheriff identify them. As an American of African descent, who is also gay, I don’t agree with what these individuals said, but I will defend their right to say it. I will also defend their right to be disruptive. But once the manager asked them to leave, it should have been over.

  26. Even though charges weren’t filed, I hope a police report was written to identify these individulas and document the altercation.

  27. What’s also CLASSIC, Tony, Is that these crimes are almost always committed by African Americans or Hispanics. Maybe an outreach program from the Sheriffs could help address the inbred homophobia that leads those cultures to violence.

  28. The day of the marriage decision celebration I was parked outside “Millions of Mikshakes” to meet and hand outUSA and Rainbow flags and signs to fellow Stonewall Democratic Club members before the rally, and some jerk came up just staring at me. When I asked if I could help him, he started screaming anti-LGBT invective to the point where someone else came out of Citibank to see what was happening and to help. I managed to get the jerk’s picture (while flipping me off) and as he left I walked across to the Sheriff station to report him report him, but as I described the matter at the desk in case there were another incident that required a description to find the guy, the desk officer seemed utterly uninterested.

    Kinda marred what should have been a day to celebrate, and left me wondering where/when else this creep might acost someone else–perhaps as violent as his words.

  29. The heterosexuals were either Black or Brown… They couldn’t tell, ’cause all those darkies look alike!!! That’s so funny!!! Geez Wehoville, you really corroborate the notion that WeHo is just as Vanilla White supreme as those heterosexuals are biggots! CLASSIC.

  30. Clearly these guys were looking for a fight. Seems almost like a neo-Nazi walking into a mostly black club and using the “N” word. Come on guys. We are bigger and tougher than most of these tools. Mr. Jordan seems to have been the only one to have balls enough to show these guys the door.

  31. Having been together since the early 1980’s and then married in 2013, we both reflect on what life was like in WeHo back then. Law enforcement regularly raided the bars and crimes that were perpetrated against us were viewed upon by the sheriffs as something we had asked for.

    During these past 30+ years, our greatly blessed community has worked very hard to make WeHo what it is today. It is beautiful, from top to bottom. It is the envy of communities, gay and straight, for its diversity and its welcoming atmosphere. WeHo thrives with business and commerce that other communities can only dream about. Punks who spew hate have no place in our home. Law Enforcement needs to do just that: Enforce the Law.

  32. If the so called straights threw a drink at Mr. Jordan and he threw a drink at them that is considered “mutual combat” and either both go to jail or no one does. Why do I call them so called straights? People who are that vocal and show that much hatred of the gay community usually have a problem with their own sexuality. It’s nothing more than hating what they are afraid they maybe.

    It’s been my experience living near The House of Blues that conduct normally not acceptable here in West Hollywood is over looked by the sherriffs because said conduct is acceptable where they live. Prior to living near HOB I lived on Palm in Boys Town. We never observed fighting in the street on a regular basis or property vandalized. But living near HOB it’s been the norm. I have complained to HOB via e-mail and never received a reply. The same from the city. And I’ll bet call for service (sherriffs & paramedics) far exceeds every other night club in West Hollywood. At one time all one had to do was look up the hill late at night and one would observe either the LASO or LACFD up there.

  33. Did you guys ever attend J school? How could you possibly know the sexual orientation of these douchebags? I assume you are simply guessing, since I doubt they told you (or if they did you neglected to make that point) and even though I didn’t go to J school, I can tell the difference between “reporting” and “opinion.” Whipping people up by trying to pit the homo’s versus the hetero’s gets us nowhere. Were they likely hetero? Probably. But that is not really material to the story. Some a-holes were being a-holes. That really should be the story.

  34. My wife reminded me of the years when our kids friends were in fear of Andrew Cunnanan, the one who shot Gianni Versace in Miami, circa 1996. We need to establish citizen foot patrols through the Fall and determine how we are going to deal with the issue of anti-everything people who live/visit/play in West Hollywood. The folks that show up at the City Council meetings that are unwelcoming of anyone are part of the problem; they send a message that it is o.k. to disrespect and demonize others. SHAME. WE SHOULD ALL CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER!

  35. The only thing that surprises me here is that the Sheriff’s got there quickly. ASide from that, business as usual… respond to a call, try to avoid more paperwork, go back to the station.

  36. In these times of cell phones, digital & video cameras, I wonder why no one thought to take a picture of the suspects or even the situation in general. And there is really no credible description since no one seemed to know the difference between Hispanic & African American. The WeHo streets keep getting more dangerous, now it seems that so is going to the corner for coffee. “Open carry” doesn’t seem to be the trend yet, but I got my pepper spray at The Supply Sergeant on Hollywood Blvd. Especially since there seems to be so many cases of the WeHo Sheriff’s Dept. discouraging victim’s from filing crime reports, ostensibly to help maintain lower crime statistics & enhance their own community image, if not actually trying to turn the blame back on the crime victims with veiled threats of arrest even when there were no accusations against them. It’s all very troubling to say the very least.

  37. it’s getting more violent in here. Why? Why those haters are coming to our town? I do not go to their place to act violently… City and Sherif Department have to take actions.

  38. How sad that the once safe haven of the City of West Hollywood is no longer safe after 30 years and now we are attacked at night and put into comas and now verbally slurred and attacked at our local Starbucks. Has success ruined our beautiful city? So now it’s filled with thugs during the daytime and thugs attacking up physically late at night. What can we do now?

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