Portland locals were alerted by social media users on July 26 about a man, identified as Daniel Svoboda, who was verbally harassing patrons seated outside of Scandals, a downtown gay bar. According to Facebook and Twitter users Tajh Jordan and Bruce Ross, Svoboda arrived outside of Scandals sometime after 4 p.m. Videos of the incident surfaced online where witnesses can be seen visibly shaken.
In a video filmed by Jordan, Svoboda wears a bandage across his nose and argues to the point of ranting to at least two people about a range of issues related to LGBTQ causes. An unidentified woman stands silently at his side, observing.
“You guys pass laws for inequality, with your Equality stickers,” Svoboda says. “You pass laws that are not in our favor. You live in this city and you know darn well you’re going to get a job before a straight person. You know that.”
“If I was Islamic, and went up in [Scandals] with an AK-47, you wouldn’t say a thing to me,” Svoboda continued, likely referencing the 2016 massacre at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub. At this point, people including Jordan react to Svoboda before Munro, Scandals’ mononymous general manager, steps between Svoboda and patrons. Though the audio is difficult to understand at times, Munro seems to ask Svoboda why he is back at Scandals. “Because you’re full of hate,” Svoboda answers. “You cost me my job.”
Once Jordan says on video that he has called Portland Police, Svoboda echoes his earlier vague-but-violent threat: “If I was a Muslim and hacked your head off, you wouldn’t say a thing to me.”
“You don’t stand up for homos in Iraq or Iran,” he continues. “It’s common knowledge.”
“It’s your fault you don’t have a job,” a male voice responded.
Shortly after, Svoboda can be seen leaving with his companion at the same time and direction as another Scandals’ patron who did not appear to be pursued.
In a post-incident interview with Munro shortly after 5 p.m., the PPB arrived at Scandals after Svoboda already left. However, because Svoboda had parked nearby, Munro was able to provide PPB with Svoboda’s name, description and license plate number.
Munro said the Scandals’ staff are vigilant and alert for Svoboda’s returned presence.
Occuring on the same day as Donald Trump’s tweeted ban on transgender services within in United States Armed Forces, Svoboda’s return to Scandals came ten months after his last appearance outside the bar.
National news reports covered Svoboda’s verbal assault of patrons while he was on the clock as a Portland Taxi Cab Company driver in September 2016. The incident, along with Portland Taxi Cab Company’s homophobic remarks in the immediate wake of the incident, caused Uber to terminate their relationship with the cab company almost immediately.
Svoboda was fired after news of the incident went national, but a formal apology from the Portland Taxi Cab Company cannot be found. Local news network, KATU News, reported an unnamed representative for Portland Taxi Cab Company who supported Svoboda’s actions.
Svoboda appears to have a fixation with the Portland gay nightlife community.
According to the Oregonian, Svododa was arrested on suspicion of third degree theft after allegedly trying to tear down a Pride flag from gay strip club Silverado in 2015.
Nearly seven years to the day of July 26, Svododa’s earliest available mugshot was taken for harassment, a charge Svoboda was recently arrested for in April 2016.
A patron, who declined to be identified, made a connection to Munro about Svoboda’s actions fitting a pattern of escalating extremist activity in the Portland area. The patron cited the murders of two men and the brutal assault of a PSU student for which Jeremy Christian was arrested on May 26, 2017. Munro conceded wearily, then continued serving his patrons.
Munro said he does not want to send patrons or Portland citizens the message that just because Svoboda does not immediately return to Scandals his harassment is over. Munro said he does not want to send the message that it is okay to harass his patrons if PPB does not come in time to break up an incident. He does not remember a specific time before Donald Trump’s election when men like Svoboda were so emboldened.
UPDATE 7/27/17 4:40 p.m.: Sergeant Pete Simpson sent Portland State Vanguard an emailed statement after 1:40 p.m.:
“On Tuesday July 26, 2017, at 4:19 p.m., Central Precinct officers responded to Scandals on the report of a man outside the bar yelling and making verbal threats. Officers arrived but the suspect was already gone. According to the bar manager and a customer, the suspect was standing on the sidewalk yelling at people on the patio about their sexual identity/orientation and indirect threats of violence. The bar manager thought it looked like a ‘Daniel Svoboda’ but mentioned that they hadn’t seen him in a while. The customer had video of the encounter, which was shared with police. Based on the report, it does not appear that the suspect committed any criminal act.”