Fil-Am journalist beaten because he ‘kicked’ woman?

Rappler.com
A complaint filed against the Filipino-American journalist Randy Gener, who is confined in a New York hospital, said he was beaten because he kicked the female companion of his assailant

HAPPIER TIMES. Randy Gener was brutally beaten nearby his home on W 54th Street in Manhattan, New York City. Photo from Randy Gener's Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – The story of a Filipino-American arts and culture journalist who was nearly beaten to death takes a strange twist.

Randy Gener, 45, took a heavy punch in the face early morning January 17, which caused him to fall and crack his skull on the pavement, CBS2 New York reported.

The assault happened as he was nearing his apartment after returning home from opening night of a theater party on Broadway. Leighton Jennings, the suspect, was arrested on Tuesday, January 28, and charged with second-degree assault

Gener, who was treated at St Luke’s Hospital, is now listed under stable condition after undergoing brain surgery. 

Many initially thought it was a hate crime because Gener is openly gay, but Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told the New York Daily News it was “not a bias crime,” but a “tragic street altercation.” 

However, hyper-local news site DNAinfo New York reported that a criminal complaint filed said that the fight may have escalated because Gener kicked Jennings’ female companion. Prosecutors said Wednesday, January 29, that “Gener escalated the incident by lashing out at a woman who bumped into him on the street.”

This allegedly provoked Jennings to leap from his car after seeing the kick, “prompting Gener to kick him in the stomach,” read a complaint released after Jennings’ arraignment.

Gener’s sister, Jessica Driessler, told DNAinfo New York that she does not believe that Gener could’ve kicked that woman. “He was the kid who got made fun of because he stayed at home all day reading. I have never seen my brother hurt a woman before,” Driessler said.

Friends in the Filipino-American community in New York set-up an online fundraiser with a goal of raising US$85,000 for Gener’s surgery. As of posting, they were able to raise $62,190. 

“We are eternally grateful to the community (particularly the Filipino American and arts communities) for raising awareness about this incident, for showing solidarity and generosity through organizing vigils and events, and for creating the funds to support ongoing medical expenses,” Gener’s family said in a press statement.  

Gener is an award-winning journalist who covers the New York performing arts scene. He has worked for the New York Daily News, the New York Times, The Village Voice, and NPR.

Gener was part of the all FIl-Am cast of the show Tagalogue last year.  

“I was initially in a state of shock,” Cristina Pastor, a New York-based journalist and friend of Gener, wrote in The FilAm online magazine after hearing of the assault. “I want to see your attackers right away. I want to see what depraved animal/s would do this to a quiet, humorous, creative, inquisitive, fair-minded Filipino American.” – Rappler.com