Gay Couple Holding Hands Attacked After Leaving Manhattan Movie Theater

A group of men yelled anti-gay slurs and beat them

By Shimon Prokupecz and Gus Rosendale
|  Thursday, Aug 15, 2013  |  Updated 8:01 AM CDT
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Two gay men who were holding hands as they left a movie theater in Chelsea were attacked by a group of men who hurled anti-gay slurs, officials said. Gus Rosendale reports.

Two gay men who were holding hands as they left a movie theater in Chelsea were attacked by a group of men who hurled anti-gay slurs, officials said. Gus Rosendale reports.

Two gay men who were holding hands as they left a movie theater in Chelsea were attacked by a group of men who hurled anti-gay slurs, and one was hurt so badly he needed seven stitches on his face.

Peter Nortman and his boyfriend, Michael Felenchak, had left the Chelsea Cinemas just after midnight early Wednesday when they were confronted by two men on West 24th Street, according to police. 

One said "what are you looking at, you f------." The attackers then started punching the victims while hurling anti-gay slurs. Police say four more men approached, who were believed to be friends of the suspects, and joined in the assault.

Nortman and Felenchak tried to fight back, but were ultimately overpowered.

"We did what we could," Nortman told NBC 4 New York. "It was six of them and two of us." 

The victims were both taken to the hospital, Nortman with a bruise to the head and Felenchak with a wound under his bottom lip that required seven stitches. 

"They had to do an MRI," said Nortman. "It was scary. We were in the hospital all night long." 

Neighbors in the normally gay-friendly Chelsea wondered why the men were targeted. 

"You wouldn't believe it would happen here," said Meryl Stein. "Everyone is so diverse and tolerant." 

The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating. 

After a series of anti-gay attacks in the spring, including the fatal shooting of a man in Greenwich Village, thousands rallied to denounce the violence.

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