A motorist in San Diego’s vibrant Hillcrest district bit the ear off a gay man in a homophobic assault.

The incident occurred at 11.10pm on Friday, and has been particularly shocking for the gay community given the area’s diverse and tolerant culture.

The victim, a 43 year old man, had stopped in a San Diego car park with two companions.

He was approached by the motorist who called him a ‘faggot,’ according to 10News.com.

When the man approached the motorist, he responded by punching him to the ground and knocking him out.

Before making his getaway the motorist chewed off a piece of the mans ear.

The Hillcrest neighbourhood, in the city’s affluent Uptown area, is the residential and commercial hub of San Diego’s gay and lesbian community.

It is unknown if doctors have been able to reattach the piece of ear.