WEST HOLLYWOOD—On Friday, March 17, photographer Jason King and a group of his friends, including drag performers Trinity Taylor and Valentina, were assaulted in West Hollywood. The attack occurred between 2 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. on Santa Monica Boulevard near Larrabee Street, in West Hollywood’s Boystown nightlife district.
According to King’s Facebook page, the photographer and his friends were walking home from a club when a man they did not know joined their group without saying a word. King initially thought the man had recognized Trinity Taylor and Valentina, contestants in Season 9 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” which debuts on VH1 on Friday, March 24.
“After a certain amount of time this became uncomfortable and he was asked very politely by Valentina to please not follow us,” King said. “He said his car was parked in the same direction we were going so he was asked again politely to go ahead of us and we would wait. He asked us to go ahead of him instead and it went back and forth like that a couple of times until finally Valentina said we would go the other way and the guy then punched him.”
When King attempted to help Valentina, the man punched him in the nose and broke it. King’s friends failed to wrestle the man down, but managed to follow him while calling the authorities. West Hollywood Sheriff’s deputies arrested the assailant on a charge of aggravated battery.
King spent nine hours in the emergency room for his injuries. He praised the doctors and police for their help.
“Each and every one of them were not only helpful but friendly and didn’t care that we were gay, didn’t care what we looked like or what color our skin was,” King said on Facebook. “They only cared about our safety and capturing the guy that did that, which they did.”
“So thank you West Hollywood Sheriff department for all of your help and professionalism,” he added. “Thank you especially to Officer Martinez who not only helped us at the scene but called later to check up on us, which he did not have to do.”
King advised his followers to walk with friends at night and to be aware of one’s surroundings. At this time, authorities do not believe the incident to be a hate crime. The name of the assailant has not yet been disclosed to the public.