Two CBS news producers victims of gay bashing in Caribbean

Angela D’Amboise | April 13, 2006

ST. MAARTENS, Caribbean — Two producers at CBS News New York were hospitalized over the weekend after suffering injuries in what police are deeming a gay attack.

Dick Jefferson, 51, and his friend Ryan Smith, 25, were beaten unconscious by a homophobic gang while vacationing on the Caribbean Island of St. Maarten with four other friends last Thursday.

Smith, who Jefferson said received the brunt of the attack, was airlifted to a hospital in Miami for severe head injuries. Jefferson criticized the police’s lazy attitude after Smith was left with brain damage in the attack

“Their attitude was sort of like, 'It's a tourist, who cares?’”, Jefferson told CBS News.

According to Jefferson, the group of men were confronted by local residents after they were seen holding hands. The gang tried to run them over, he said, and then got out of the car and hit the two news producers.

According to Gay.com, the men were beaten with a wheel wrench or a metal pipe. Smith is in the intensive care unit of Jackson Memorial Hospital with a fractured skull. He remains unable to speak properly.

Jefferson had severe cuts on the back of his head and lower back, but is able to walk.

Smith is considered a “rising star” at CBS News. A graduate of Columbia University and a former intern for The David Letterman Show, he quickly ascended the ladder from researcher to producer at CBS News. His mother, Patricia Smith, told CBS News she had just sent an e-mail to her son asking him how his vacation was going when the phone rang. It was one of her son's friends calling from St. Maarten.

“He told me that Ryan was badly hurt, had a head injury,” she said. “And they were attacked, and Ryan took the worst of it. You can't believe it. You can't believe it's your son.”

A local paper on the island condemned the attack, according to Pink News. "The disservice these punks have done the island should not be underestimated." the editorial said. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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