Last May, a video went viral after showing Bayna-Lehkiem El-Amin, an HIV counselor having a physical altercation with video of two men at Dallas BBQ located in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.
Bayna El-Amin was soon arrested and faces trial on assault charges in the attack on Jonathan Snipes and Ethan York-Adams who said he used anti-gay slurs during the altercation.
El-Amin is now suing for defamation, negligence and assault and battery.
In a complaint filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, El-Amin claims he was attacked by Snipes first and has been wrongly labeled a ‘homophobic hate criminal.’
Fearing for his life, and ‘left with no choice, plaintiff grabbed a chair and threw it at his attackers, knocking them to the ground and giving plaintiff time safely to retreat from his attackers by walking out of the restaurant,’ the complaint states.
The complaint alleges that video of the fight was edited to make it look like a hate crime.
It was taken by radio personality and entertainment correspondent Isaam Sharef who wrote: ‘Horrible attack in bbqs as i waited for my chicken and shrimp combo and apple martini.’
It shows Snipes and Ethan York-Adams being hit over their heads with a chair by El-Amin.
Snipes had said that prior to the attack with the chair, El-Amin knocked him to the ground and started kicking his face and spine and shouted: ‘Take that, faggot!’
El-Amin’s complaint states: ‘Snipes’s lies did, in fact, go viral. Within twenty-four hours of Snipes’s CBS interview, millions of people all over the country and around the world were being shown Sharef’s edited video and/or plaintiff’s photo and told that plaintiff was a violent homophobe.
El-Amin says he ‘never suspected that he would wake up to a viral news story labeling him a homophobic hate criminal, that he would be entirely isolated, that he would receive so many threats that he would have to go into hiding, or that he would be completely ostracized from society.’
El-Amin is also gay and claims in the lawsuit that his ‘only crime was to be a man of color wrongly accused by his attacker, a privileged white man.’
El-Amin, 41, is seeking damages for assault and battery against Snipes and York-Adams, negligence against Dallas BBQ, and defamation against several defendants.