A man and woman had just exited a liquor store in Vaughn when they were approached by a group, according to York Regional Police. After one member of the group had a confrontation with the man who had just left the store, the woman reportedly stepped between the two individuals and was assaulted. The man was then knocked to the ground as the assault continued.
Police believe they have a clear motive for the attack.
“One of the suspects commented on the male victim’s choice of alcohol and uttered anti-homosexual derogatory slurs as he approached the victim,” the police department said in a news release issued following the incident.
Help us identify this suspect and two others sought for a possible hate-motivated assault that occurred outside a liquor store in the area of Jane St. and Major Mackenzie Dr. W. in Vaughan on Sat., May 6th, 2023, around 8:30 p.m.
More information here: https://t.co/OMRZF9vmi9 pic.twitter.com/p9LtIrfuB7
— York Regional Police (@YRP) May 9, 2023
The department noted that the couple had not actually purchased any Bud Light, but rather cans with the rainbow imagery that serves as a political symbol for the LGTB+ community.
The woman was hospitalised with her injuries, while the man suffered only minor ailments and did not require medical attention.
Bud Light has been the target of ire from transphobic, right-wing political actors and their supporters since the company announced a sponsorship agreement with transgender social media influencer and activist Dylan Mulvaney earlier this year. Under the terms of the sponsorship, Ms Mulvaney was set to appear on a signature can of the beverage.
Anheuser-Busch InBev, Bud Light’s parent company, later placed the advertising executives who supervised Ms Mulvaney’s partnership with the brand on leaves of absence.
But that move has not appeared to quiet all of Bud Light’s critics, some of whom have chosen to boycott Bud Light to register their dissatisfaction with its percieved support of transgender individuals.
York Regional Police have not yet made any arrests in the assault case, but have released images of two suspects and are calling on bystanders who observed the assault to help them.
“It is believed there was a crowd of people nearby at the time of this incident,” the police department said in a statement reported by Global News. “Any witnesses who have not yet spoken to investigators are asked to come forward.”
In an interview with HuffPost in late April, Ms Mulvaney said the drama around the Bud Light deal has been difficult to take.
“I’ve always tried to love everyone, even the people that make it really, really hard, and I think it’s OK to be frustrated with someone or confused,” Ms Mulvaney said. “But what I’m struggling to understand is the need to dehumanize and to be cruel. I just don’t think that’s right. Dehumanization has never fixed anything in history ever.”