A group of rowdy men told a gay man and a trans women they would stab them and demanded they leave a London takeaway all while filming them.
An alarming and since-deleted TikTok video shows the moment Valentino Kyriakou and Naya Martinez were targeted by a group of men in Wembley, west London.
According to the BBC, the pair said that as they waited for their food at Tasty Chicken along Bridge Road on Saturday (29 January), the group targeted them.
A Metropolitan Police Service spokesperson confirmed to the BBC that “inquiries are underway to identify those shown in the video”. PinkNews has also contacted the police for comment.
“They were calling us every name and then threatening to ‘shank’ us,” 20-year-old Kyriakou told the broadcaster, “which is obviously stab us in the shop, so we just had to leave without even getting all our food.”
Grabbing the food they’d been served so far, Kyriakou and Martinez fled from the shop – but the incident soon spilt out onto the street, as the men yelled: “Get the f**k out not. Get out now. Get out the shop now.
“You come back, I’ll shank you both. I’ll shank you up. Get out. Take your f**king bag and get out.”
“Don’t f**king come here again,” one of the hooded men added. “Don’t f**king come here again.”
“They were so, so angry, I don’t know why,” Martinez recounted. “They literally were so threatened by us – it was crazy. And all we were doing was standing there waiting to pick up our food.
“All I felt in that moment was: ‘Oh my God, I am going to get touched soon, this is going to be physical.’”
During the incident, the men brashly videoed themselves abusing the pair. The clip later went viral on Twitter and Facebook.
Seemingly comfortable enough to film himself hurling abuse at two people, the TikTok video, Kyriakou and Martinez said, shows the impunity homophobic people increasingly feel in Britain to openly hate.
“Stuff like this within London in the LGBT+ community happens every day,” Martinez said.
“I was surprised the video went that viral and it’s getting people’s attention.”
Indeed, in Britain, anti-LGBT+ hate crime has soared in recent years. Alarming police figures between 2020 and 2021 show that were at least 19,679 crimes motivated by hatred for someone’s sexual orientation.
Hate crimes against LGBT+ people overall have soared by 210 per cent in the last five years. The greatest and most startling surge was seen with transphobic attacks that have quadrupled in the last six years.
This number, however, is undoubtedly higher. Nine in 10 anti-LGBT+ hate crimes go unreported, government data has shown. Some victims have raised concerns about what they see as indifference from the authorities in tackling LGBT+ violence as a factor in not reporting hate crimes.
Only 14 per cent of reported anti-LGBT+ hate crimes are actually resolved by the police, the investigative journalism unit Liberty Investigates found.
But Martinez, for one, refuses to feel defeated.
On Instagram Monday (31 January), she uploaded a bathroom mirror selfie wearing a breathtaking bodysuit in defiance of her attackers.
“I see why they wanted me out of the chicken shop,” she joked.
“We were made aware of this video on Saturday, 29 January which shows an incident at a takeaway restaurant in Bridge Road, Wembley,” a Met Police spokesperson told PinkNews. “The incident happened on Thursday, 20 January.
“Officers have now spoken to the victims and enquiries are ongoing to identify others in the video.
“The incident is being treated as a hate crime. No arrests have been made.