Top Chef Contestant Talks About Assault; Arrest Made

Josie Smith-Malave talked to The Advocate about the hate crime that she, her friend, and her sister experienced at a bar in Sea Cliff, Long Island over Labor Day weekend. After dancing together, Smith-Malave and her companions were called “fucking dyke” and “bush muncher” as they were attacked by a mob of 12 people.

JosieSaid Smith-Malave: “We were close.I’m sure we didn’t look straight. My hand was on her hip, my arm around her shoulder — we definitely looked like lesbians. I’ve never seen anything like this before. They were jumping out of their skin screaming at us. It was as if we had done something to their families. I was punched and kicked all over my body. Everyone that was in the bar, bartenders, they all spilled out the door of the bar, and when I was able to look around, all of those people just watched this happen.”

Smith-Malave says the police only seemed interested in the fact that the mob stole items from them and contacted her lawyer after not hearing from them for three days. The investigation is ongoing.

UPDATE: There has been an arrest made in the case. WNBC reports: “Matthew W. Walli, 20, of Oregon, was arrested and charged with second-degree robbery as a bias crime, according to police. Police said Walli and approximately 12 others were involved in a confrontation with four women, including Smith-Malave, who were just ejected from Partners, a bar located at Roslyn Avenue and Sea Cliff Avenue, police said. The altercation escalated when the group began spitting on them and physically hitting them after making derogatory statements about the four women’s sexual orientation, police said. During the altercation, Walli forcibly stole a video camera from one of the four women causing her to fall and injure her knee.”

Former Top Chef contestant says she was viciously attacked for being gay [the advocate]

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  1. says

    I’ve said it before when gay-bashings happen outside of bars and I’ll say it again. DON’T GO TO BARS!!! I’m a gay man and I’ve learned that so many gay bashings happen as someone is just leaving a bar or outside of a bar, etc. You don’t hear of gay-bashings happening as gay people walk out of a Starbuck’s or a Pinkberry, now do you?

  2. Wes says

    Yea thankfully I don’t like bars anyways… of course it could be because every time I go I see the stereotypical straight male jackass epitomized all around me.

  3. says

    we have a right to go anywhere we choose without the threat of assult whether verbal or physical. if we follow the advice of the above, then “they” win. my approach to this situation? descend on this bar and torch it with all those haters inside. that’s when they’ll get the message. fight figurative fire with literal fire!

  4. says

    While I agree with Amanda that I shouldn’t have to give up “my kind” of fun just because some people don’t like the way I look, I disagree with her on the approach to take. The owners of the bar should hear from us for sure, either via a lawsuit or a mass protest outside the bar’s doors. As for those who think going to a bar calls for trouble, I’ve got one question for you. Would you have said the same thing to us (black people) in the 50’s when certain neighborhoods were off limits? Most likely. Would you say the same thing now? I doubt it.

  5. Brian says

    Gay people should be able to go to any place we want and not fear for our safety, just like everyone else. But also like everyone else, it’s smart to be aware of your situation and surroundings and choose your actions accordingly. Not that there’s any possible excuse for a mob attack like that… all those people deserve to go to jail for depraved indifference at best, and felony assault at worst. Josie also is right to sue the police department for not taking this incident seriously. If we don’t force the police to respect our rights, then no one else will.

    I fully support Josie and her legal action, and am very glad that she and her friends weren’t hurt more severely.

  6. Brian says

    Arrest made in alleged gay bashing of former Top Chef contestant
    The Nassau County Police Department has made an arrest in association with the alleged gay-bashing incident in Sea Cliff, NY that involved former Top Chef reality series contestant Josie Smith-Malave.

    Matthew W. Walli, 20, of Oregon turned himself into authorities earlier today and, after giving testimony about the incident on Labor Day weekend, was arrested for 2nd degree robbery, said police spokesperson Detective Lt. Kevin Smith.

    “Basically, we had a name that we circulated around the Sea Cliff area, and I guess [Walli] put one and one together and decided we were looking for him,” said Lt. Smith. “He voluntarily came in, and based on things that he said he was arrested.”

    Smith-Malave, a lesbian, says she and two other women were victimized outside of a bar called Partners on Labor Day weekend by a group of about 12 people, including three women, who spat on them, punched them and made anti-gay slurs such as “bush muncher.” During the altercation, Smith-Malave’s mini camcorder valued at about $800 was stolen. The Advocate has an exclusive interview with the former Top Chef star about the incident here.

    Robbery 2nd degree is a class C felony, which could be bumped up to a class B felony during the judicial proceedings if the robbery is determined to be a bias-related hate crime. Class B felonies carry a sentence of anywhere from five to 25 years. Walli could also be charged with aggravated harassment as more details emerge.

    Lt. Smith said the investigation is ongoing as the department continues to canvass for names, and that other individuals may still be arrested. He encouraged people to call the department’s crime stopper number if they have any information about the incident: 1-800-244-TIPS or

    Smith-Malave’s attorney, Yetta G. Kurland, said she was pleased by the police department’s quick response. “I’m glad to see that the Nassau County Police Department and the District Attorney are moving forward on this matter swiftly. It’s the first of what I hope to be many arrests,” Kurland said. (Kerry Eleveld, The Advocate)

  7. Bill Perdue, RainbowRED Organization says

    I hope Josie Smith-Malave talks to her lawyer again and sues the bar, its insurance carrier, the pigs who jumped them, and their ministers, priests or whatever.
    If she doesn’t need all the money she gets from the lawsuits she could give some of it to The National Center for Lesbian Rigs, Lambda Legal, the ACLU, GLSEN, or the NCAVP, Amnesty USA or the Southern Poverty Law Center.
    They spend time and effort protecting us and need all the help they can get.

  8. soulbrotha says

    Look, just like most assaults, attackers choose their victims based on perceptions of weakness. I’ll be damned if anybody is going to frighten me from living my life. Gays need to start learning how to defend themselves (like taking a defense class and traveling in packs) and stop thinking it won’t happen to them. For God’s sake, how many attacks do you need to get the point?!

  9. Wes says

    I’m not saying other gay people shouldn’t go to bars like this. I’m just saying I don’t. Of course I usually dislike bars of any kind, as I get very bored quickly.