Crime | North Carolina

Hate Crime: Gay Couple's Home Burned Down


The house of a gay couple in Clayton, North Carolina has burned to the ground in an apparent arson crime. The couple have reportedly been victims of harassment from certain members of the community for more than a year.

WRAL reports:

Fire crews were called to the house on New Castle Ct., off Guy Road, around 1:30 a.m. Friday. The couple was out of town when the fire was set according to a neighbor and investigators. The couple was not at home when the fire started and are now staying in a motel. They asked WRAL not to reveal their identity out of fear for their safety.

Johnston County Sheriff, Steve Bizzell, confirmed to the station that the fire is being investigated as an arson. Bizzell said this fire does not appear to be related to a string of other suspicious fires in the area.

A neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of backlash against her, said there have been at least three separate incidents of anti-gay harassment at the couple's home. She told WRAL, a note with derogatory language was left in the mailbox, an anti-gay slur was written on the house with marker and the tires of a car parked in the garage were slashed, the neighbor said.

Sheriff Bizzell said that the his office was aware of two of those incidents, but would not say which two. He would not confirm whether they are related to the arson investigation. Bizzell said there are no suspects at this time. No other information was released.

Another neighbor in the subdivision said he feels sorry for the male couple because they lost everything. He and others in the neighborhood believe it was a hate crime.

Just awful. The couple, now homeless, is staying at a motel provided to them by the Red Cross.

Since the Red Cross is the organization that is currently aiding the couple, it might be best to contact the chapter in Raligh, NC if you wish to help them out. P: 919-231-1602, E:

Update: "Authorities are searching for a white Chevrolet S-10 crew-cab truck towing a small trailer, with a John Deere LA115 riding lawn mower and Troy-Built push mower. Investigators believe the mowers were stolen from the home."

Watch a local news report about the arson fire, AFTER THE JUMP.

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    Who died and made you king? Anybody who questions your beliefs are 'Trolls'?

    Believe it, cops are certainly investigating an arson for profit angle. and I'm sure the home owners are aware of this.

    Only fools take things like this at face value in this world.

    And that doesn't mean these gentlemen are guilty of anything, they may be total victims, in which case I wish them well.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 6, 2011 1:49:18 PM

  2. @redball: there was nothing about them not being home when their house was graffitied or when a car in their driveway had its tires slashed.

    i love how the way the news reporter says they are a 'homosexual couple', i wonder if the station also does stories about 'negros'

    Posted by: mld | Feb 6, 2011 1:51:26 PM

  3. @ratbastard: your comments always start with a suspicious blame the victim before ever questioning the offense. in civil rights abuses, we should always stand on the side of the community until it is determined otherwise. i learned this from al sharpton and jesse jackson, always protect first until its a certainty its the opposite. its easy enough to drop it if its a hoax or insurance fraud, but if its not, then youre just the @$$hole who cried wolf too many times.

    Posted by: mld | Feb 6, 2011 1:56:24 PM

  4. Nothing changes in the South. Ever. Disgusting.

    Posted by: John | Feb 6, 2011 2:00:02 PM

  5. Which church denomination did the arsonist attend? Many churches demonize gay people to the point where I'm amazed this doesn't happen much more often.

    Posted by: Jonathan | Feb 6, 2011 2:03:21 PM

  6. Well, if you all want to be honest from a first hand account experience here in the South, let me share my experience with gay people I've met. I've been living in South Carolina (and Georgia- back & forth) for the past 10 years for both my Masters and work, and having lived in New England my whole life, the culture shock in homophobia has been startling, but more startling in that the most homophobic of ilks is members of the gay community themselves. Acatually, they'd rather you not call them part of the community at all.

    I moved here hoping to inspire change, impact lives, and show that gay rights are human rights and we all deserve that levl of respect. My experiences in outreach has been met with nothing but hostility from gay folks. Conservatism, religion, and homophobia is so heavily ingrained in the South that gay people themselves, especially many parts of the younger generation have had nothing but -anti gay- bolted in their brains...and they've bought it. Most gay people are NOT out in the South, those who are will often have the following outlooks:

    1.) Being gay is something I do in the bedroom. I don't want anyone else to know.

    2.) I don't want to be part of the gay community. Ick.

    3.) All gay men have sex, do drugs, have STDs.

    4.) Rainbow flags or anything identifying you as gay is (I'm amazed how many gays themselves use 'gay' as a pejorative here)

    5.) Lot's of resentment toward "liberal gays"

    In other words, gays out here go out of their way to compensate for NOT being an outcast. In these parts of town, being different in any form is considered bad, and gays here more than anyone else are on a mission to prove just how "normal" they are, and don't see their own complacency for what it is. They'll gladly go stand in the back of the line, so long as it means not being called out in the line for who they are. They are a product of their surroundings, and sincerely don't know better. It's not that they can't be free thinking, it's that "gay = bad" is ALL they've known, and they buy into it. With these outlooks, change is veryyyyyy slow. You can't change minds, unless you speak up and be a living testimony, but that visibility and openess is sorely lacking in Conservative leaning parts of the country.

    If you're offended by this commentary, you DON'T live in the South and have not engaged fellow gays. It's exhausting.

    Posted by: Steve Jahnersen | Feb 6, 2011 2:09:30 PM

  7. @MLD,

    Al Sharpton and Jackson LOL! And you're accusing me of crying wolf!? Sharpton and Jackson have a FAR from stellar record in this department. In fact, in Sharpton's case, he encouraged hate and violence where innocent people died. Jackson justs blackmails institutions, companies, governments with the race card...for his, his families, and his cronies financial benefit.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 6, 2011 2:11:51 PM

  8. More heterosexual violence.

    Posted by: Mel Smith | Feb 6, 2011 2:17:16 PM

  9. @ratbastard: its much better to be on the side of the victim than to be apologizing to them. if its a hoax let them apologize to us. but i will not EVER jump on the blame the victim first train. and if you think sharpton and jackson did nothing as civil rights leaders, ive got a bridge to sell you.

    its clear as a diamond that you have a great deal of animosity for the gay community, if not your own large amount of internalized homoophobia.

    keep on truckin', or trollin'

    Posted by: mld | Feb 6, 2011 2:20:43 PM


    Are you guilty of flattering yourself? I know personally numerous very 'Out' southern born, raised and southern living men, who are not fem BTW, so yeah, they can 'Pass'. I know many closeted gays here in the northeast who want little to do with the gay 'Community', and it usually has little to do with self-hate.

    Regional issues: Steve, I was born and raised in NYC and Boston. There is a certain 'Attitude' SOME [not all by any stretch] people here have which revolves around lecturing others. I attribute most of this to the influence of the omnipresent often pompous academic community here.

    Southerners, in particular white southerners [ALL white southerners] have been demonized by the left for a very long time. It should hardly be a surprise many white southerners, regardless of their background, etc., have a chip on their shoulder about especially dudes from the north lecturing them.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 6, 2011 2:24:30 PM

  11. @ionmusic: Thanks for the heads up on ratbastard....I almost gave him a reply !

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Feb 6, 2011 2:28:28 PM

  12. ...its clear as a diamond that you have a great deal of animosity for the gay community, if not your own large amount of internalized homoophobia.

    keep on truckin', or trollin'

    Posted by: mld | Feb 6, 2011 2:20:43 PM



    CLEAR to you. You speak for yourself only.

    I dislike gays [and others] like you. Deal with it, without pulling out the homophobia card, or the race card, or the sexist card, etc., It's 2011 MLB, not too many fall for that crap anymore.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 6, 2011 2:29:28 PM

  13. RatBastard = board troll.

    I'll never forget his reaction to a brutal picture of a gay man bashed in an anti gay hate crime. Some people automatically want to make the gay guy the bad guy, and you can't change that hate in their head. They call it being a "realist" yet it's the polar opposite. It's always trying to put the blame on the gay, and give the benefit of the doubt to the hetro. For which, said folks are lost causes. Let them be in their own misery.

    Posted by: JoJoCA | Feb 6, 2011 2:29:31 PM

  14. LOL...and you tools whine about being bullied and ganged up on! Gays on sites like this are masters at being cliquish b*tches.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 6, 2011 2:33:35 PM

  15. @ratbastard: your punching in too many directions and hitting nothing. if your in this forum, its likely you bored, or angry at something in your life. but to say its us, to say its academic elites, that all whites do this, or all gays do that. your boring, one dimensional and you have no arguments, just complaints; good luck with that chip on your shoulder.

    ill stop feeding the troll now.

    too bad towleroad hasnt yet upgraded to a registered and filtered comment system.

    Posted by: mld | Feb 6, 2011 2:59:33 PM

  16. Ratbastard. I've been a poster here for years and your disdain and hostility toward anything gay is glaringly obvious...not to some, but to MANY. You calling a majority "bitches" doesn't reject the fact that they see a negative trait in you that you can't objectively see in yourself. You always sound angry, bitter and jaded in your responses. That, however, is not the issue with your posts. The issue with your posts is *ALWAYS* and I mean always playing devil's advocate and spinning the story to fit your anti gay agenda, and it's a very skewed pattern which fits into an agenda. The thought of gay progress, gay rights, or gay community evolving is a thought that irks you. In any gay related news story, you always throw out a divisive comment to pin gay people against each other, and have them second guess gay rights.

    You come on this blog not to contribute, or witness gay triumph, but instead celebrate gay defeats. You view gay movement as unnecsary, whether you realize it or not, your comments speak volumes and you are not an ally. Just because one does not go killing or beating gay men does not mean they are a friend. Your comments toward gays and gay causes have proven time and time again that your loyalty sits with the other side. Don't get defensive when called out on YOUR issues.

    Posted by: Aigner | Feb 6, 2011 3:10:34 PM

  17. Guys! For the umpteenth time. Ratbastard, MarkDC, Tank, and another looney are all one in the same. They get their daily kicks by coming on here and trolling for attention. Disturbed individuals don't deserve responses. Stop feeding the trolls.

    There's one on another blog called Daez who has since been called out for his troll activity and he too went on the same "wah, wah, y'all are bitches, so mean, wahh" rant in response to being outted.

    Posted by: Blogosophere | Feb 6, 2011 3:13:26 PM

  18. We're all the same? Help! Help! I'm being repressed! Apologize for your vicious calumny before the other jagoff who goes by "tank" shows up to lower the bar yet further with his subliterate ramblings.

    Nah. I'm my own snowflake.

    The south is america's shame. It's always been the family's embarrassing little secret, locked away in an attic where it can't be seen by others...occasionally breaking free from its chains and wandering out. Then again, stupid doesn't know geography (or anything else for that matter), yet...there sure seems to be a trend of inbred stupid hate from the south.

    Yes, the assumption given the prevalence of antigay hate crimes (especially in that region) should be that that is what this is. That's extremely plausible; so much so that to dismiss it would be a mark of incompetence. Yet, that could be wrong...besides, it's fun to make fun of the south...and very easy, like most of its women from what I've heard from straight friends.

    Posted by: TANK | Feb 6, 2011 3:55:56 PM

  19. Forty years later, maybe Ennis (Brokeback Mtn.) was right. In many parts of America (most?) it's not safe for two men to live together...What a terrifying thought.

    Posted by: Hue-Man | Feb 6, 2011 4:06:07 PM

  20. Steve is pretty much totally right about Southern gays, and Ratbastard should be ignored. I too have see the same blaming the victim actions about any and every story of violence against an innocent individual from him and it's ridiculous and his defense of these actions on this page have amounted to nothing more than random nonsensical personal attacks.

    Posted by: Francis | Feb 6, 2011 4:11:53 PM

  21. @MLD,

    My posts are clear, specific, and on-topic; not '...punching in too many directions'

    You're issue, i.e. the chip on your shoulder, is you think all gays should think alike. You can't deal with those who have the audacity to disagree or question all or even just some of your typical rigid ideological views. Are you a shill or tool? Both? Don't know. Am I a troll? Absolutely not. My posts are sincere and I'm only mean spirited when I'm attacked.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 6, 2011 4:31:07 PM

  22. @Robert: I graduated in '89

    Posted by: Kevin | Feb 6, 2011 4:34:47 PM

  23. @Francis,

    I question most alleged bias or hate crimes because I know statistically many of them are, in fact,fake...especially incidents involving graffiti, vandalism. It's sadly even pretty common for 'Assaults' to have been faked. Human beings do strange things for all kinds of reasons like attracting attention to themselves or a cause. Arson cases like this ALWAYS center on insurance fraud...because it's a very common motivation. And in case you haven't noticed, our economy has been totally f'ed up for years, especially residential real estate and mortgage defaults.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 6, 2011 4:40:40 PM

  24. @HUE-MAN,

    And yet, it's amazing the lengths so many will go to, including many gays, to get into the U.S., and to not be deported.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 6, 2011 4:44:44 PM

  25. The way I see it, unless proven/shown otherwise, there is absolutely no reason to immediately jump into believing something like someone's house burning down in an arson is fake. Especially when it's in the form of a suspected anti-gay hate crime, especially given the location and attitudes of this location towards gay folk. There isn't any reason to believe this is fake. Some people lie and cheat the system, but hate crimes are real. Immediately raising this air of suspicion trivializes these incidents.

    Posted by: Francis | Feb 6, 2011 4:46:29 PM

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