Gay man suffers homophobic abuse after Pride Edinburgh

Bus passenger hurls homophobic abuse at Rhys Smith
Bus passenger hurls homophobic abuse at Rhys Smith

A gay man has posted a video recording a man hurling at him homophobic abuse on a bus as he returned from Pride Edinburgh.

Rhys Smith said he started recording the incident after a fellow passenger apparently called him an “arsehole”.

A frenzied exchange broke up between the 23-year-old, from Edinburgh, and a retired man, leading the latter to reply: “You probably take it up the arsehole”.

Smith who describes himself as “not the gayest of the gay”, said he was sharing the footage to shame the “stupid fool”.

The incident took place a few hours following thousands attending Pride Edinburgh.

It is unclear what caused the confrontation, and as the video begins with both parties appearing equally aggressive it is difficult to ascertain how the situation developed and escalated. However, Smith claims he could see the man abusing him out of the corner of his eye, at which point he said he started the recording.

Smith can be heard asking the passenger who appears to be in his late 60s: “Are we going down that road? Is that what you don’t like?”

The man replies: “Well you look like it.”

Smith’s female friend can be heard reacting: “Look at the fucking state of you”

The man, who makes it clear in the video that he is retired, repeatedly calls Smith an “areshole” before hurling at him “you probably take it up the arsehole,” with fellow bus passengers gasping in disbelief and disapproval.

Rhys Smith
Rhys Smith

Posting on Facebook, Smith wrote: “I am well aware of the fact that other people have been abused and heckled and worse in much more serious circumstances. However the man in this video is just as bad.”

He contiued: “We done absolutely nothing to antagonise him or draw attention to ourselves on this bus. Granted from this video it seems that our response seems like the more aggressive party, but we reacted in defence. The principle of the matter is that no abuse or hate crime should be tolerated. Gay, straight, black, white, disabled NOTHING! Its 2016 for goodness sake.”

Smith told the Deadline News on Monday: “I’ve never had abuse to this extent, before. Odd looks and giggles and smart comments usually but nothing to this effect.

“We had just had literally the best day. It had been so nice to see everyone and have such great fun with friends and family.

“Me and my friend had gone as Edina and Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous but by the time we were on the bus we had been home and changed.

“I don’t want to say he ruined the day but it definitely put a massive dampner on things.”

A spokesperson for Police Scotland said: “We are investigating the circumstances of a hate crime, which occurred on a bus in the centre of Edinburgh on Saturday night, July 2nd.

“Our enquiries into this matter are ongoing as we look to establish the full set of circumstances and anyone with relevant information is asked to contact police on 101.”

Brett Herriot, Chair of Pride Edinburgh, said in a statement: “We at Pride Edinburgh condemn this homophobic attack and are deeply saddened that the events happened in the hours following the biggest pride event ever in the capital city.

“We worked hard to spread the message that Love is Love – and that work continues.

We will not bow down to any form of homophobic or transphobic abuse and we will stand together in the face of adversity.

“Diversity is a beautiful thing.”

Last week homophobic and racist stickers were spotted around Glasgow following a massive spike in incidents of hate speech across the UK in the wake of the result of the EU referendum.

Anyone experiencing a hate crime is advised to report it to Police Scotland, either via their on-line Hate Crime form (non-urgent) or by calling 999.

Watch the video recorded by Smith here:

I am well aware of the fact that other people have been abused and heckled and worse in much more serious circumstances. However the man in this video is just as bad. We done absolutely nothing to antagonise him or draw attention to ourselves on this bus. Granted from this video it seems that our response seems like the more aggressive party, but we reacted in defence. The principle of the matter is that no abuse or hate crime should be tolerated. Gay, straight, black, white, disabled NOTHING! Its 2016 for goodness sake.

Posted by Rhys Smith on Saturday, 2 July 2016

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