TV journalist was attacked for looking ‘homosexual’ and may face permanent vision damage

A Minnesota journalist was attacked and struck in the eye because of his ‘actual or perceived sexual orientation’.

On May 12, Minnesota’s KSTP-TV journalist Matt Belanger was unexpectedly and painfully hit in the eye and may suffer from permanent vision damage. He was walking across the platform of the train station to go to work. Then, as the complaint filed by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office claims, Belanger was deliberately struck in the eye.

Image credits: Matt Belanger / Facebook

As NBS News reports, the complaint points out Vennie Jerome Williams as the abuser. The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office claims Williams attacked the journalist because he ‘perceived that the victim was homosexual’. Moreover, the complaint states the assaulter was detained shortly after officers viewed surveillance footage that clearly showed his actions.

The attacker was charged with third-degree assault and harassment with intent to injure. Both charges carry a $10,000 fine and a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

The unexpected assault the Emmy-winning news anchor was a victim of may lead to permanent vision damage in his left eye.

Currently, Belanger’s doctor has strongly advised him to stay home until he fully recovers. Additionally, Belanger’s health condition was also mentioned in the county attorney’s complaint:

“Victim is required to remain seated upright at all times and is only supposed to move in essential situations.”

Only two days after he was attacked, Minnesota’s KSTP-TV journalist posted a touching video on Facebook. In the video, Matt Belanger shares details about his current condition and expresses his genuine gratitude to the wave of support he has received. Throughout the message, Matt is wearing an eyepatch, explaining it’s protecting his eye while it’s healing.

A Message From Matt

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me since I was injured on my way to work this week. I'm doing my best to respond to all of you and wanted to share this message with an update on my recovery. I'm looking forward to seeing you again soon on KSTP-TV.

Posted by Matt Belanger on Thursday, May 14, 2020

In the Facebook clip, the reporter shares:

“I just wanted to post on Facebook here saying how deeply grateful I am for all of the notes and messages that you’ve been sending me from all across Minnesota, from across the country in fact.”

Further in the video, Belanger notes he acknowledges the fact that in these uncertain times we live in, people ‘need journalists on TV perhaps now more than ever’, so he will resume working as soon as possible.

Recently, on May 20th, Matt shared an update post, claiming his condition is now improving, but he may suffer complications in the future. He writes:

“My eye is getting better every day. My vision is still a little blurry, but is improving. Even once my eye fully heals, I’ll still be at increased risk of complications like cataracts and glaucoma for the rest of my life.”

My eye is getting better every day. My vision is still a little blurry, but is improving. Even once my eye fully heals,…

Posted by Matt Belanger on Wednesday, May 20, 2020

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