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No 'Queer in my Car:' French Uber Driver Assaults Gay Passenger

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Sunday September 20, 2020

The victim, who identified himself as Mohamed, after being attacked by an Uber driver
The victim, who identified himself as Mohamed, after being attacked by an Uber driver  (Source:TÊTU)

An Uber driver in Paris, France, ordered a gay passenger out of his car, then allegedly beat him while hurling anti-LGBTQ epithets, the victim claims in a story published by the website for the French magazine TÊTU.

The driver then drove off, says the victim, a 27-year-old dancer identified only as Mohamed, leaving him with a broken nose and head trauma. Mohamed subsequently received medical are, including five stitches; but, Mohammed told the magazine, he also suffers psychologically, experiencing severe anxiety in the aftermath of the attack.

Mohamed described the sequence of events, which allegedly took place on Sept. 13. After attending a party on a barge, Mohamed and a female friend hailed an Uber to get home again. As they rode in the back of the car, Mohamed told her about having met a young man at the party with whom he had flirted.

The driver, overhearing the conversation, became enraged, TÊTU writes. Pulling over, the driver ordered Mohamed out. "He began to hurl homophobic slurs," Mohamed recounted, which included a statement "that he did not want a 'queer' in his car."

Mohamed flagged down a passing car in an effort to summon help from the police. As he did so, the driver continued to berate him. Finally, Mohamed said, "I couldn't take any more. I told him that I am gay and proud, and in 2020 it's not acceptable to speak that way."

At that point, Mohamed related, the Uber driver punched him the face. The driver struck him again, leaving Mohamed slumped on the car he'd flagged down for help. The driver then got into his car and drove off.

While waiting for first responders, Mohamed said, he experienced a panic attack. Doctors at the hospital where he received treatment for his broken nose and head trauma - including five titches - advised that he take ten days off from work, but his anxiety remains so severe, Mohamed said, that he has friends staying with him so that he doesn't have to be alone.

Friends and fellow dancers have taken to social media in support of Mohamed, TÊTU reported. One colleague, Mehdi Kerkouche, critiqued Uber in an Instagram post that read, "It would be a good thing if you took the trouble to do more than drape yourself in the LGBTQ+ flag once a year for Pride."

A representative for the ride share company expressed "deep" apologies for the incident, saying that Uber supports victims of reported abuse from Uber drivers and adding that in such cases the company cooperates with the authorities.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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