Caribbean | Crime | Travel

Brutal Gay Bashing on St. Maarten

Bamboo_berniesSenior CBS Nightly News producer Richard Jefferson and his friend Ryan Smith were harassed and brutally attacked by gay bashers on the island of St. Maarten early Thursday morning after leaving a bar. Jefferson "sustained severe cuts on the back of his head and his lower back" while Smith "had a fractured head and has been unable to speak properly since the incident," according to the St. Maarten Daily Herald.

The two were beaten with a pipe wrench after leaving Bamboo Bernie's, where they had been harassed by the suspects, who apparently followed them in a car and jumped them.

The St. Maarten Police have so far neglected to even contact the victims: "Jefferson said he had learnt that many people, including management at Sunset Beach Bar, Maho St. Maarten, a nearby casino and Bamboo Bernie’s, had called the St. Maarten Police, but no one showed up. He said he had called the police station on Thursday around 1:00pm and had spoken to a detective, but no one showed up at the hospital or called."

Note: The news article says Jefferson is with NBC, but I have been informed he works for CBS; Smith works for 48 Hours.

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  1. I wonder if this will make this news here given that the victim actually works in the news industry.

    Posted by: Chad Hanging | Apr 7, 2006 6:33:27 PM

  2. I really think that the gay community should boycott the entire Caribbean while they persist in being so violently and institutionally homophobic. I hope they both make a full recovery.

    Posted by: Peter Rivendell | Apr 7, 2006 6:35:12 PM

  3. And where's Ann Coulter to say they deserved it, and Jay Croce to agree?

    Guess this is what he means by the tender loving care he gets from conservatives all week long.

    Posted by: brian nyc | Apr 7, 2006 7:05:04 PM

  4. I have been boycotting them for years, and I live so close in Miami. But they don't welcome gay people and I feel it is foolish for gay cruises and the like to keep trying to ingratiate themselves to these ignorant fools. It makes no sense to go where you aren't wanted and supporting the Caribbean with gay dollars should stop now.

    Posted by: Naked Boy | Apr 7, 2006 7:13:34 PM

  5. We should do the opposite of boycott-gay people should pick one of the islands (one of the independent ones) and take it over-we need our own homeland-not for everyone to love there but a place of refuge, where we can 'keep our powder dry' and why should those biggoted shitkickers get to live in such a paradise?! Let's get together and buy the fucking island and kick the motherfuckers out-let them live where it's cold and gray all the time-and let the gays sip umbrella drinks on the beach. We deserve some TLC and hassle free recreation.

    Posted by: chicagochristianleft | Apr 7, 2006 7:24:26 PM

  6. I'm scheduled to go on the big gay cruise in January with a stop at St. Maarten. Maybe they should pick a new port of call.

    Posted by: Daniel Brown | Apr 7, 2006 7:45:08 PM

  7. St. Barth's boys... It's just one hop over.

    Posted by: Todd Marsh | Apr 7, 2006 7:58:23 PM

  8. the Carribbean as a paradise? it makes the class distinctions in the U.S. look like Sweden. ditto to Peter's call - boycott the Carribbean.

    Posted by: resurrect | Apr 7, 2006 8:18:27 PM

  9. sorry - I meant "Caribbean". apologies due -

    Posted by: resurrect | Apr 7, 2006 8:19:29 PM

  10. If gay people continue to go to these places, where they know they are hated, and spend their money, then they shouldn't bitch when we hear news like this.

    Posted by: Zeke | Apr 7, 2006 8:21:55 PM

  11. The irony is that St. Maarten/St. Martin is a Caribbean island with both Dutch and French administration.

    It is a fact, however, that neither European Dutch or French law applies in these territories. The most conservative Dutch live in the Caribbean Antilles, and the African-descended locals share their neighbours' views on us.

    I agree. It is a difficult decision, but there is definitely a virulent theocon Christian strain in both the Caribbean and subsaharan Africa that is troubling as their Islamic neighbours.

    Posted by: Raymond | Apr 7, 2006 8:34:31 PM

  12. My parents are from Barbados and I haven't gone back for a while because I'm gay and I wouldn't feel comfortable being there (or as comfortable if I was straight and there wasn't an issue), even though I'd be with family. I wouldn't say everyone in the Caribbean is homophobic, but so many people, especially the prime ministers and police departments encourage the violence against gays through inaction. I guess the way countries in the Caribean treat LGBT people is because of how intertwined religion and politics are. I just hope things change within my lifetime for the better.

    Posted by: Jason | Apr 7, 2006 8:48:02 PM

  13. Forgive the long comment but I am extremely passionate about St. Martin. My former partner and I have been to St. Martin 5 times, travelling 3 times with other gay men and never experienced any hostility or homophobia. While we stayed on the French side each time, we regularly visited the Dutch side, going to the beach at Cupecoy, which used to be very gay until the beach washed away. This was a clothing optional beach and very popular with same-sex couples and always friendly. The same for Sunset Beach Bar, and the complex where Bamboo Bernie's is. The locals, particularly the beach chair guys were always very welcoming and even remembered us year to year. And the French side is very gay friendly. (I am not 100% certain but I do believe the post regarding French law on the French St. Martin is incorrect. St. Martin is a part of Guadeloupe and is a Department (equivalent of State or Province of France) and is administered by France. The Dutch side is different and has a lot of issues with the Netherlands. I think it is wrong to tarnish St. Martin because of one unfortunate incident - incidents that are common in all big Canadian and U.S. cities. While I've certainly heard lots of negative things about the Caribbean, I can say without reservation that St. Martin is completely the opposite.

    Posted by: Barry | Apr 7, 2006 8:48:45 PM

  14. I will never visit this island until they react the way they would have done for straight victims....i have just cancelled a trip to St. Maarten and will go to Playa Del Carmen instead...see ya

    Posted by: stratis | Apr 7, 2006 8:50:11 PM

  15. I agree with the boycotts wholeheartedly. The gay travel dollar which, according to Community Marketing, a research firm based in San Francisco, is a $54-billion-a-year market, estimated to be 10% of the overall market. YES, that says BILLION! And I'm sure there are plenty of non-gays that would show solidarity. Hit 'em where it hurts the most!

    Posted by: Mike | Apr 7, 2006 8:51:26 PM

  16. I have to agree with Todd...St. Bart's is the exception to the rule, along with Puerto Rico (for the most part).

    Posted by: Brett | Apr 7, 2006 10:06:28 PM

  17. A large part of the charm of St.Barth's is its size.Please NO CRUISESHIPS as they overwhelm the amenities.

    Posted by: Brian | Apr 8, 2006 12:07:35 AM

  18. If we use gay bashing as the barometer for vacations I think we should all stay home! - wait -- I guess i can't even stay in my own city. Obviously there are destinations where it would be prudent not to visit if we expect to be "ourselves" - but St. Martin is not one of them. You are more likely to be robbed than bashed - and even more likely to have a great time.

    I have never been anything other than what I am when visiting and never had problems. I suggest that rather than a boycott we do the opposite. Make a statement by making a presence - as well as keeping a healthy dose of common sense. After all, it's not Provincetown. Homophobia exists there like anywhere - it's a fact of life.

    Right now the Dutch side (unlike the French side which is far more sophisticated) is a blur of partying and drugs and gambling and straights looking to get laid. I avoid it - except for Sunset Beach Bar - I have to be there every day for Air France take off and the sunset.

    A few years ago the only gay bar was a tiny little venue on the French side in Bair Nettle called The Pink Mango - it's gone - but it was fun!

    The Dutch side is what i imagine spring break is like in Miami or wherever the college kids go to get drunk and have sex. If you want to be yourself stay on the French side where everyone kisses each other upon meeting and no one cares - and have splendid dinners and pretend you are in Paris.

    Posted by: Mike | Apr 8, 2006 1:19:29 AM

  19. Sounds like these two men did not moderate their behaviour and suffered the conseqences. In their arrogance, they thought that they could behave in the same manner as in the USA. I think it is a good thing that these islands are willing to keep to a higher standard of behaviour.

    Posted by: Michael | Apr 8, 2006 1:26:57 AM

  20. Michael, WTF!!!! That is a ridiculous and insulting statement. You seriously need to check yourself.

    Posted by: busytimmy | Apr 8, 2006 2:57:02 AM

  21. Sounds like there's not enough information to make any statement whatsoever about the two men's behavior. I know you're just trying to get a rise out of people, Michael, but if you're going to try to make a name for yourself as a shit starter, you could at least be a bit more clever about it.

    Posted by: Tom | Apr 8, 2006 3:43:28 AM

  22. Yes, the French side of St. Martin is a "Departement outre-mer" and since 1946, send deputy and senator to Paris, however, the laws governing sexual behaviour is particular to the island departments. This is even true in SS. Pierre et Miquelon, the overseas department off the coast of Quebec - the last vestige of France's empire after 1763.

    True, the Dutch Antilles are semi-independent. We, too, have spent vacations in the Caribbean over the last few decades without incident. Though, reading about the recent postings on this blog, I believe that these "theocracies" have actors racheting up the activity against us.

    Posted by: Raymond | Apr 8, 2006 4:12:55 AM

  23. Does anyone know whether this has received any coverage on CBS? If not, then the lack of concern here is reprehensible. That should be our first order of business.

    Posted by: psmike | Apr 8, 2006 4:36:50 AM

  24. I get the point about not going on holiday at all and not even being able to stay home, but seriously, by visiting these places as tourists we are sanctioning their oppressive policies as well as placing ourselves at risk - Egypt, India & Poland for example.

    I agree that we should modify our behaviour and show respect when in foreign countries, but why should we do that for fear of violence and prejudice, or because they find who we are morally repugnant and/or criminalise us?

    Maybe such countries would be glad for us to stay away but somehow we must turn the tide towards global acceptance - perhaps supporting the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) campaign would be a good place to start...

    Posted by: Peter Rivendell | Apr 8, 2006 6:12:15 AM

  25. I'm so sick and tired of this.When will we have a news report where the gay man beat up the homophobe.If it was me,I would have grabbed something sharp.Self defence is not murder!

    Posted by: judemillsy | Apr 8, 2006 6:17:05 AM

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