An Irish man was allegedly beaten with hammers by a gang of youths after a Grindr date transpired to be a homophobic trap.
Marc Power, from Dublin, Ireland, told the Irish Times that he was ambushed, assaulted, and called “faggot” by at least four young men on Tuesday night.
Power, in his early 50s, had been chatting with what he thought was a man on Grindr, and agreed to meet at a nearby cinema. While en route, a message was sent asking him to instead meet at a local park, which is reportedly poorly lit.
He said no, and instead continued to the cinema. A few minutes after arriving, he was attacked.
“I pulled into a spot, then a group of teenagers seemed to come out of a bush and rushed towards the car,” he said. “They started punching me in the face, one must have been wearing a ring on his finger as I started bleeding everywhere.”
Power said the men opened his car door and tried to drag him from the vehicle, all while assaulting him on his face and legs.
He said the youths called him “faggot,” “a pedophile,” and “pervert” during the attack, adding, “They were all laughing, that was one of the scariest things about it.”
Power said he was “convinced they were trying to kill me…. This was attempted murder.”
He struggled against the youths, holding down the car’s horn and screaming for someone to help until passersby noticed what was happening, at which point the men ran away.
In a Facebook post, Power said that the youths destroyed his car during the attack, and shared photos of his injuries.
“Went to meet someone off grindr,” he wrote. “Was meet [sic] a group of teenage boys with weapons. They tried to kill me with these weapons. They were trying to hit me on the head with hammers.
“They didn’t manage but I’m in the emergency room in hospital with facial injuries and my car was destroyed. I’m ok but fucking angry.”
He told the Times that he has “experienced homophobia before. I’ve had people making snide comments. It’s always been there in one form or another.”
He added that he has “lived abroad most of my life and never had any problems.”
“Back in Ireland I’ve had about three incidents,” he said. “It makes me think about my own home city, and has it changed much. I’ve no issues with my sexuality; other people do.”
Power also said that he doesn’t trust the police — who arrived at the scene of the attack about 10 minutes after it ended — to properly investigate. He said that, rather than treat it as an urgent emergency, he was instead given an appointment next week to provide a statement.
Police told the Times that investigations are ongoing.
Power said that he is normally a private person, but wanted to discuss the attack publicly to try and warn others who could face a similar situation.
He added that he would be “more wary” about meeting people through Grindr in future, but wouldn’t let the assault “change who I am.”
A Grindr spokesperson told the Times that they were “heartbroken” to hear about the attack.
“We take a number of measures to protect our community, including…providing a safety guide to assist users when interacting with others online,” he said. “We consistently look for ways to strengthen how we protect our users.”
This isn’t the first time Grindr has been used to attack gay men. In July, a Detroit man was accused of using Grindr to find and shoot gay men.
Demetris Nelson was charged with murdering a gay man and critically wounding another, as well as a felony count of assault with intent to rob.
In April, a Texas man pleaded guilty to using Grindr to lure gay men to a vacant apartment in Dallas in order to assault and rob them.
And last year a group of people allegedly used Grindr to lure gay men to a “House of Horrors,” where they were robbed at gunpoint.
In addition, Grindr has faced increased scrutiny over how much of its users’ data — particularly location data — is exposed to potential misuse.
In August Grindr, as well as Recon and Romeo, were found to have security flaws that exposed a user’s exact location, rather than a general distance away from other users.
Grindr’s Chinese owners have also been forced to sell the company after the U.S. government declared it a national security risk.
It has been speculated that the presence of U.S. military and intelligence personnel on the app could be to blame, given their location data could potentially be exploited.