The Vivienne blasts suspended sentence for homophobic attacker

The Vivienne was left speechless after a man convicted of punching the Drag Race UK season one winner in an “appalling” homophobic attack received a suspended jail sentence. 

In December, scaffolder Alan Whitfield, 51, was found guilty of punching the drag star, whose out-of-drag name is James Lee Williams, in an attack motivated by homophobia.

Sentencing Whitfield on Friday (5 January), district judge Paul Healey told the man that his “behaviour was really appalling”. 

“The most serious aggravating feature of the offence is the fact that it was motivated by hostility to the victim because of their sexual orientation,” district judge Healey continued.

Whitfield was sentenced to 12 weeks in jail, suspended for 18 months, and must abide by a two-year restraining order banning any contact with The Vivienne, including attending the drag star’s performances.

The Vivienne, who won the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK in 2019 and came in third in last year’s Dancing on Ice, shared on X/Twitter that she has “no words” about the court’s ruling on the homophobic attack. 

“12 month suspended sentence for my attacker. Was sentenced today,” she wrote.

“I have no words.”

12 month suspended sentence for my attacker. was sentenced today. I have no words

— TheVivienne (@THEVIVIENNEUK) January 5, 2024

The Drag Race UK star was targeted as she waited for food at McDonald’s restaurant in Edge Lane, Liverpool last June. She was subjected to a vile “barrage of abuse” about her appearance from Whitfield, who then punched her in the jaw. 

The Vivienne’s face was bruised and hurt for a week and in a victim personal statement read to Liverpool Magistrates’ Court, said the incident caused “stress, anguish and ongoing trauma”

“As a proud gay man, I have never hidden who I am or edited myself,” the Drag Race UK winner said.

“It shames me to say at the age of 31, I am now a lot more conscious that I could be attacked at any moment simply for living my life.”

District judge Healey also noted the assault took place at about noon in an enclosed public area in the presence of children, who had to be moved out of harm’s way. 

Senior district crown prosecutor Emily Lloyd said: “We would not have been able to prosecute this offence without the courage of the victim making a statement and coming to court to give evidence.

“Tackling hate crime is a priority for the CPS and we are committed to bringing perpetrators to justice. Homophobia has no place in our society, and it will not be tolerated in any form.”

The court ordered Whitfield to complete 12 sessions of mental health treatment and 10 rehabilitation activity days with the probation service. 

Whitfield, who pleaded guilty to assault by beating at an earlier hearing but denied the attack was homophobic in nature, must also pay £300 in costs, £300 in compensation and a £154 victim surcharge.

Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is urged to call the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit the True Vision website. In an emergency, always dial 999.

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