Chelsea Chair-Smasher Gives His Version of the Story

June 4, 2015 | Liam Mathews

Last month, Bayna El-Amin was caught on video smashing a chair over Ethan York-Adams’ head during a brawl in a Chelsea restaurant. York-Adams and his boyfriend Jonathan Snipes allege that El-Amin used racial and homophobic slurs during the fight. El-Amin is himself gay, and did an interview with black queer culture blog the G-List to give his side of the story. In the interview, published May 31, El-Amin claims that he was the victim and he was acting in fearful self-defense.

He told G-List:

“We were sitting at our table, and there was [initially] no disturbance in the restaurant. All of a sudden, we noticed a disturbance some distance away from us. Two men [Snipes and his companion] were standing over their table fighting each other, and the fight threatened to spill over to the table of ladies that were closest to them. [The ladies] were cringing when they saw the two guys fighting each other [right by them].

So, I said [Snipes and his companion], ‘Hey, guys! There are ladies here.’ I said it in a tone that was authoritative…to get their attention. However, they continued.

Moments later, it appeared that Mr. Snipes was going to leave the restaurant. But, by standing at the door, he directed his attention toward me, walked towards me and said, ‘And YOU calling us ladies!’ And, he struck me. He struck me in the head with an object. I’m not sure what it was, but it felt like a heavy blunt object — and it hurt.

I was shocked. I was confused. I had no idea why I’ve been hit. I didn’t know if I was going to be hit again. I was in pain. I knew that I needed to react quickly because I was afraid that if I didn’t that I would be hit again. Or, someone else at my table would have been hit. So, I immediately went at him. I got up toward him, and that’s where you see the video started.”

Snipes alleges that El-Amin instigated the fight by calling him a “white faggot” when Snipes accidentally bumped El-Amin’s table and spilled a drink. Snipes alleges that one of El-Amin’s companions threw the first punch. El-Amin disputes this:

“He assaulted me. I was the victim. People don’t realize that. People don’t know that. I was sitting at my table. With no provocation, he came up and hit me. There was no slur thrown at him. There was no bumping into my table and knocking over my drinks. There was no interaction between us in a sense, except for what I said earlier when I said to them, ‘Hey, guys! There are ladies here.’ Then, he came over to me and said, ‘And YOU calling up ladies.’ Then, POW!

He definitely made false accusations and tried to put a crime on my that did not happen. I defended myself.”

El-Amin is 6’6″ and nearly 300 pounds, and he hit the much smaller York-Adams in the head with a chair from behind while York-Adams was restraining Snipes from the fight. Whether or not El-Amin started the fight, the video clearly shows that he was not acting in self-defense when he finished it.

El-Amin is currently wanted by the police for the assault. According to Gothamist, he has been arrested 18 times. The G-List identifies him as a “HIV/AIDS counselor and ballroom community leader,” but ANIMAL found that his since-deleted Facebook listed his job as a security officer for a nightclub promotion company. He alluded to that fact in the interview, saying that in his work as a “security professional” he had to deal with situations like this.

El-Amin also claims he didn’t use any racial or homophobic slurs while beating up Snipes and York-Adams.