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A wrestling commentator stood up to ‘anti-gay evangelical bullies’. They ‘purposefully broke his leg’ for his troubles

Reiss Smith August 24, 2020
Justin Morissette wearing a rainbow flag as a cape / his leg with metalwork after surgery

Justin Morissette had to undergo surgery after being attacked. (Justin Morrisette)

A sports host and LGBT+ ally will live with metal plates in his leg for the rest of his life after he was assaulted by homophobic evangelical protestors.

Two men were arrested after Justin Morissette, from Vancouver, Canada, had his leg “purposely” broken in two places and his knee dislocated after he stood up to “anti-gay evangelical bullies”.

Morissette, host of Wrestle Central on SportsNet, said he came across the two men while walking to meet a date in Vancouver’s West End, home to the city’s gay village.

He told City News 1130 that the neighbourhood has in recent months seen street preachers persistently spewing “bigotry and religious hatred toward the gay community”, using “obscenely loud PA systems”.

“It’s no surprise that that’s where they’re setting up to do that,” he said.

“They are looking for trouble and I guess last night trouble found them. It happened to be me who stepped up and said: ‘You are not welcome in this community to be saying these things. Pack your things and go somewhere else.’”

After the men refused to leave, Morissette said, he grabbed a microphone from one, who in return wrenched his leg against his “in a judo-style takedown… until my tibia and fibula snapped, broke and my knee dislocated”.

“He absolutely one-thousand per cent knew that that was going to happen when he did that, this was a malicious intentional break of my leg,” he added.

Sharing his experience on Twitter, Morrisette said he didn’t regret his actions.

“I don’t know why I did this,” he tweeted. “It felt like the right thing to do and no one else would. I’m going to have metal plates in my leg for the rest of my life.

“I’m only tweeting about this because there have been too many instances of unchecked racism and during the pandemic, videos of people spewing hate while everyone just sits there and ignores it. Do not allow yourself to do that. That behaviour is not welcome in our communities.”

Though he faces a lengthy recovery, Morrisette said he was glad to have “prevented harm to someone I will never know”.

“The violent man who did this to me would have done it, or possibly much worse to someone else down the line had he not been arrested tonight,” he continued.

“I am in excruciating pain and my knee is incredibly mangled. But I would feel worse if I knew I saw that and just went home and minded my own business. Don’t let the b*****ds win.”

Police confirmed that two men were arrested and jailed following the incident, with charges of aggravated assault and mischief pending. Hate crime investigators will also review the case.

After Morrisette’s tweets went viral, many shared their own experiences of being verbally assaulted “weekend after weekend” by anti-gay preachers in the same area.

One local told City News 1130: “They just start angrily shouting what they call, you know, Evangelism, but it’s hate speech against LGBTQ, against people who are Muslim…I mean, it’s…it’s amplified hate speech.”

On Twitter, there was an outpouring of support from the local community.

“As a father of an LGBT teen who lives in this neighbourhood I can’t thank you enough for standing up for us all in that moment,” wrote one user.

“Standing up to bullies takes huge courage. I salute you,” added another.

More: Canada, Hate crime

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