A man who was caught on video yelling a racist slur at an African-American sanitation worker in New York City and then attacking the person who recorded it on his cellphone has been identified by NYC city council candidate Anthony Beckford as Justin O’Brien, a gay adult performer who goes by the stage name “Dustin Gold.”
“Hey yo, it’ll be smart to get out of the middle of the street asshole. F*cking n****r,” O’Brien is heard yelling from his car at the sanitation worker on Saturday.
“Are you recording me?” O’Brien says when he realizes someone is pointing a cellphone towards him.
“Yeah,” the man filming him responds.
“Why?” the driver asks.
“Because you’re an asshole,” he responds.
“I’m an asshole? Honey, look in the mirror okay. The only person who is an asshole is you for recording,” the driver snaps back.
“You are so fierce,” the pedestrian mockingly responds.
“I know I am thank you. Are you gay too?” the driver asks.
“No,” the pedestrian said.
“No, you’re not? Well you look like it,” the driver fired back.
When asked what he was planning to do with the recording, the pedestrian informs the driver he plans to upload it to the internet.
O’Brien laughs at his response before saying, “Okay. I’ll get fans, honey. That’s what I’ll do.”
Moments later, the driver exits his vehicle and assaults the pedestrian, grabbing his phone and throwing it against the pavement.
A Facebook profile with the username “Joe O’Brien (Dustin Gold)” has been linked to the driver seen in the video. A positive ID was made using photos from the profile. A screengrab from the video, which clearly shows the driver’s hand tattoo, is a near-identical match to a photo Joe uploaded to his Facebook profile two days before the attack.
In the series of photos uploaded on Thursday, July 16, Joe appears to be the guest speaker at an LGBTQ event for children. According to the post: “MARLSON 4 BACKYARD SUMMER CAMP: The THEME of our camp is BE KIND. Today we welcomed a VERY special guest, Joe O’Brien, who spoke about GROWING UP GAY: Challenges & Acceptance…and the importance of KINDNESS. Joe gave a very powerful and heartfelt talk and stressed the importance of BEING KIND and ACCEPTING of ALL people. Our follow-up activity was painting KINDNESS ROCKS which will be part of tomorrow’s FIELD TRIP FRIDAY. As an added bonus Holly O’Brien also joined us at camp today.”
TMZ reports that “police are aware of the video and looking into it. According to the NYPD … a politician notified them of the incident and they’re trying to locate the precinct where it occurred. We’re told a victim has not come forward to file a report.”
The viral video has sparked outrage on social media with many condemning his racist behavior. Several members of the LGBTQ community were also quick to disown him as an official member of the LGBTQ community.
“As a gay, we don’t claim him,” wrote one Twitter user, while another commented. “I’m Gay, and I am so angry after seeing this! I hope the offended party presses charges!
“This breaks my heart,” opined a third user. “As a gay man he should know how hard we have fought and continue to fight for our rights and he should be on the right side of history by lifting up black people instead of using racial slurs. I am ashamed of him and I’m ashamed he is part of my community.”
UPDATE: “Dustin Gold” has been fired by Helix Studios.
In response to a flood of tweets calling for his firing, Helix Studios issued the following statement via Tweet on Tuesday: “Dustin Gold has been fired. He hasn’t worked for us since 2014 and we will not use him in the future.”
Dustin Gold has been fired. He hasn’t worked for us since 2014 and we will not use him in the future.
— Helix Studios® (@HelixStudios) July 21, 2020