On August 17, 2019, a group of men physically attacked Owen Jones, a columnist for the U.K. daily newspaper The Guardian, his employer reported.
Three or four men approached Jones outside a North London bar where the journalist was celebrating his birthday and kicked him in the back, threw him to the ground, and kicked him in the head, according to tweets by Jones and an interview he gave to the BBC. Jones told the BBC that his friends were also punched in the head as they tried to stop the attack, and that there was “no question” the assailants targeted him. In his tweets, he described the attack as “blatantly premeditated.”
Jones said on Twitter that he received a bump on the head and cuts on his back from the attack, but was otherwise “fine.”
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said they opened an investigation into the case and that no arrests have been made. The statement said police are investigating the incident as a potential hate crime. Jones, who is gay, was previously the target of homophobic verbal attacks at a protest in December 2018, according to U.K. broadcaster iNews.
CPJ emailed the press office of the Metropolitan Police for comment but did not immediately receive a reply.
In January, Jones was the target of verbal attacks by a group of Brexit supporters, as CPJ reported at the time.