Videos Show 3 Trans Women Being Attacked and Mocked by Men. Bystanders Didn’t Help.August 18, 2020
This story was updated Aug. 18, 6:45 p.m., with comment from the LAPD.
Videos posted to Instagram on Monday by transgender influencer Eden the Doll seem to show a group of men attacking, robbing, and mocking her and two other trans women on Hollywood Boulevard in the dark, pre-dawn hours. One of the men threw a scooter at one of the women, who was also later knocked out, Eden said.
Bystanders didn’t help, according to the videos. Even a cop car drove by without stopping.
“I was VERY lucky,” Eden wrote in her Instagram stories. But Eden added that the other women, Jaslene White Rose and Joslyn Flawless, were “really hurt” in the transphobic attack.
According to Eden, the women were assaulted as they waited for an Uber. After one man stole Eden’s phone, they tried to get it back. Eden wrote the men then started throwing rocks at them; in one video, one of the alleged assailants can be heard saying that he threw a lighter.
In another video, one man can be seen hitting Rose and grabbing her bag before running down the street. Flawless tries to chase after him, but falls. (Eden said Flawless recently had hip surgery.)
Throughout many of the videos, the men can be heard laughing and ridiculing the women with transphobic comments. One yells, “Remember that shit on ‘White Chicks’?”
In one video, one man runs up to Rose and hits her. “She completely passed out on me,” Eden wrote in a caption to the video. The men keep mocking the women as Eden begs someone to call the police. “She’s dead,” one says. “RIP.”
While bystanders gather, no one appears to call for help. A cop car, with its sirens on, drives past and slows down, but doesn’t stop to help.
“More people keep walking past us. No one is stopping, no one is helping no matter how much I begged,” Eden wrote on Instagram. “People preach black lives matter and want equality for all, but this is how they treat BLACK TRANS WOMEN.”
“If their lives don’t matter, then none of ours do!” she added, with several exclamation marks.
Since 2013, the Human Rights Campaign has uncovered more than 130 known instances of fatal violence towards transgender and gender-expansive people, which occurred in over 30 states and almost 100 cities. Trans women of color died in about four out of five of these homicides.
In the first seven months of 2020, at least 28 trans people have so far been murdered, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality. In that organization’s 2015 survey of almost 28,000 trans adults living in the United States, 9% of Black respondents said they’d been physically attacked in the last year because they were trans. Nine percent of Latinx respondents said the same.
In her own Instagram post, Flawless said that a man also held a crowbar to her, threatening to kill her unless she took off her shoes and surrendered her jewelry and possessions. “He said if I was trans, he would kill me,” Flawless said. “He then forced me to hold his hand while he looks for my friends to kill them for being trans.”
In a video posted to Rose’s Instagram, Rose condemned the bystanders who did nothing. “Nobody even gave a fuck clearly, because then, when I got hit in the back of my fucking head, and I fell to the ground, do you know what people did? Everybody crowded around me, laughing at me, recording at me, telling me that I deserved that because they thought that I tricked the man and that’s why he was beating me up.”
“I just wanted to come on here and tell anybody that’s watching, that this world is fucking disgusting,” Rose added, through tears. “I’m so disappointed in what’s going on right now.”
The videos were originally taken by one of the men who accosted the women, Eden said, but she tracked it down and posted it to her own account. The original poster’s account is now private.
A representative of the Los Angeles Police Department told VICE News via email that the police are investigating the incident as a hate crime. No arrests have yet been made.
“The police vehicle seen passing the location was responding to an unrelated emergency call,” the representative said. “An administrative investigation is underway to ascertain the nature of the call.”
Cover: Screenshot from video posted to Instagram by Eden the Doll, Aug. 17, 2020