A gay man says he was brutally attacked by three men outside a gay club in Boston's North End Thanksgiving night, but his online account is at odds with the story police say he initially told.
Michael Fontana, a Boston drag performer known onstage as Eileen Dover, created a GoFundMe page to tell his story and ask for help with medical expenses and lost income due to his injuries.
It all started, according to Fontana, when one of the three men unplugged the jukebox at the Alley Bar while he and another patron were playing it Thursday night. Fontana wrote on the fundraising page that those men were asked to leave, and he encountered them again when he left the club five minutes later.
He wrote that they were waiting for him outside, screamed racist epithets at him as they followed, then surrounded him. According to Fontana, he told them "I'm on your side," and that, he wrote, was when they attacked:
"They slashed my throat, broke my shoulder and crushed my phone."
Fontana wrote that they beat him into unconsciousness, and he woke up to find a friend and police by his side.
Boston police confirmed in an email to The Advocate that officers did in fact respond to a call at 2:30 a.m. They found Fontana to be "very intoxicated" and suffering from "a minor laceration to the victim's neck," Stephen McNulty of the Boston Police Department wrote. McNulty's report shows Fontana claimed to have been attacked by one man, not three, and did not mention any racial aspect to the assault to officers. Fontana "could not recall a detailed description of the suspect or what exactly caused the argument with the suspect to occur," wrote McNulty.
"At no time did the victim report any indications that this was a hate crime," added Lieutenant McCarthy of the Boston Police media relations unit.
Fontana claims a doctor in the emergency room told him that "I'd be dead" if his attacker had cut his throat just one more centimeter. A spokesperson for Tufts Medical, responding to an email from The Advocate, seeking confirmation, said the hospital was unable to release any information without the patient's consent.
Even though Fontana was well enough to go home, he wrote that he's in bad shape:
"I cant shop for myself, cook for myself, I have no phone and I can't make my shirts (my business). I hate asking for help but I am at this point terrified to leave my home."
Dozens of contributions have poured in since Sunday, when Fontana created the GoFundMe page, with more than $2,600 donated.