A man has been arrested for allegedly vandalizing two LGBTQ bars in Lexington, Kentucky, with anti-gay slurs.
William White, 51, has been charged with first- and second-degree criminal mischief for allegedly spray-painting the exteriors of Crossings Lexington, a popular queer dive bar, and The Bar Complex, an LGBTQ nightclub. He faces additional charges for an outstanding warrant related to a separate charge.
Based on photos posted to Facebook by The Bar Complex, the graffiti on and near the windows reads: “Homo, Qeer (sic), Sissy, F**, Punk” and other homophobic slurs, while graffiti on the sidewalk and main door appears to say “Dead” without any other context.
Police say a hate/bias report was taken in each incident “due to the nature of the vandalism,” according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Police were initially dispatched to Crossings Lexington in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Dec. 21, in response to a call from a bouncer who reported seeing a man spray-painting the building. White was located and arrested near the scene.
Police later received a second report of vandalism at The Bar Complex, and, following an investigation, determined that White was responsible for the second incident.
The estimated property damage at Crossings Lexington is between $500 and $1,000, and is expected to exceed $1,000 at The Bar Complex, according to the Herald-Leader.
In its Facebook post, The Bar Complex wrote: “This is what HATE looks like. Someone vandalized the front of our building last night. Crossings’ building was also vandalized. Luckily their security and police were able to apprehend and arrest the perpetrator.”
White is currently being held at the Fayette County Detention Center, and is next scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, Dec. 28, according to court records.
Crossings Lexington owner Rebecca Richter told CBS affiliate WKYT: “I’m not angry because I’m glad [the vandalism] wasn’t worse, and we’re already fine, but it does suck.”
Richter, who has owned the bar since 2019, says it’s become a safe space for LGBTQ people who can feel free and comfortable enough to be themselves.
“I’m proud and thankful to be able to have the opportunity to try and have a space where people can find a little bit of joy and a little less loneliness,” she said.
Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton condemned the “threatening and hateful graffiti” at both establishments.
“This City will not tolerate hate-filled acts,” she tweeted. “During this season of love and peace, let’s stand united against ignorance and hate.”
We’ve been made aware of threatening and hateful graffiti at two local LGBTQ-owned businesses. This City will not tolerate hate-filled acts. Our Lexington Police Department is already on the case. During this season of love and peace, let’s stand united against ignorance and hate
— Mayor Linda Gorton (@MayorGorton) December 21, 2022
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