Two CBS News employees were attacked and severely beaten by a group of men on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten where they were vacationing in what is described at as homophobic attack.
A television station in Miami reported that Richard Jefferson, a senior producer for the “CBS Nightly News” and his friend Ryan Smith a producer-researcher for “48 Hours” were attacked as they left a popular bar after an altercation with the men earlier in the night inside the club. The attackers allegedly hurled homophobic insults at the two and they were beaten with a tire iron.
Both men were rushed to a local hospital. Jefferson sustained severe cuts on the back of his head and his lower back. Smith suffered a fractured skull and possible neurological damage. He was transferred by air ambulance to Memorial Hospital in Miami. Jefferson is also in Miami receiving medical care. A doctor said that Smith is unable to speak properly and may have difficulty walking. Jefferson was critical of the way police handled the situation. He said that employees of the club called police but no one responded. Jefferson said he called police from the hospital but at no time did any officer come to the hospital to take a report. Police in Philipsburg did not respond to these allegations.
Jefferson said he has been visiting St. Maarten for fifteen years but it isn’t “a friendly island anymore.”