3 men claim ‘gay bashing’ at Newport Beach restaurant, file lawsuit

NEWPORT BEACH — The suspect who is seen on cellphone footage throwing three gay men — who said they are the victims of a “gay bashing” — out of the Siena Restaurant at the Balboa Inn in Newport Beach has been identified, but his name has not been released, police said.

No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing, Newport Beach police Lt. Bryan Moore said Saturday.

Police have spoken with the suspect, staff at the restaurant, and one witness, and want to speak with other witnesses, said Newport Beach Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella.

Two of the men were injured in the battery, police said in a press release.

The incident in question took place about 8 p.m. April 13 when the three men, Angel Bonilla, Colton Moyer, and Clement Serafin visited Balboa Island and went to the Siena Restaurant for dinner, according to a complaint the men filed in Orange County Superior Court this week.

The men, who said they are the victims of a “gay bashing,” have sued the Balboa Inn, owners Michel Pourmussa and Farshid Yassian, and Siena Cucina Italiana.

Nobody could be reached for comment at Balboa Inn or Siena Restaurant. Neither Pourmussa nor Yassian could be reached for comment.

Shortly after arriving at the restaurant, the men said the bartender was immediately hostile to them, asked to see identification, proclaimed Serafin’s ID was fake, and shared it with a customer at the bar, who also said it was fake, the complaint said.

Serafin’s ID is real, and he is in his 30s. The bartender’s request was a ploy to avoid serving gay men, according to the complaint.

The men said they were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the complaint said.

When the men asked to speak with a manager, the bartender yelled, “Get the fuck out you fucking faggots. Get out,” according to the complaint.

Two videos posted online capture part of the encounter.

In one video, the bartender is heard saying, “Get them out of here. I don’t want to hear it. You need to go.”

Then, a customer seated at the bar, and the same person the police have identified, lifts Moyer off his bar stool, carries him out the door, and throws him to the ground outside the restaurant.

In the second video, the man can be seen yelling at Bonilla to “get out” before he throws him onto the pavement and shouts, “You’ve been warned!”

In their lawsuit, Bonilla said he needed medical attention.

The lawsuit alleges assault, battery, negligence, violation of civil rights and seeks at least $3 million in damages.

Newport Beach Police Department asks anyone with information or who witnessed the incident to call Det. Rick Henry, 949-644-3790, or to leave an anonymous message on the department’s hotline, 800-550-NBPD.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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