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Police investigate after Pride flag set on fire outside NYC restaurant

“The person who did this, their plan has backfired and backfired badly,” an NYC council member said.

By Emily Maskell

Woman sets gay pride flag alight in Manhattan (Image: WikiCommons)
Police are investigating after a woman set a gay Pride flag alight in Manhattan (Image: WikiCommons)

Authorities are looking for a woman who set fire to a Pride flag outside a Manhattan restaurant.

The intentional fire began in the early hours of Monday (20 February) morning outside the Little Prince restaurant on Prince Street.

Police say the arson is being investigated as a possible anti-LGBTQ hate crime, The New York Times reports.

New York City authorities released footage of the woman who pulled out a lighter to burn the ‘Make America Gay Again’ rainbow flag.

From surveillance footage, the woman can be seen exiting a white vehicle and then igniting the flag with a lighter. 

“This incident is being investigated by the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force,” authorities also added in a statement.

No one was injured but the restaurant’s facade was damaged.

“Our community will not be intimidated”

Little Prince is operated by Prince Hospitality Group, led by Cobi Levy and Will Makris.

Levy, who was present as the restaurant opened for dinner service, declined to comment to reporters. 

However, as repairs continued Levy was reportedly overheard saying: “Now it is getting there. Now we’re back.”

In response to the attack, gay New York City Council Member Erik Bottcher hung a larger Progress Pride flag at the restaurant.

“The morning after a bigot set fire to the pride flag outside Little Prince restaurant in SoHo, we raised a new flag,” Bottcher then tweeted.

“The person who did this, their plan has backfired and backfired badly,” he added.

Climbing up a ladder to hang the large flag, passersby can be heard applauding Bottcher’s act of solidarity.

He also later tweeted: “Our community will not be intimidated.”

Additionally, New York State Attorney General Letitia James shared Bottcher’s sentiment with a statement on Twitter.

James tweeted: “New York will not allow blatant acts of hate against our communities.”

“Anyone with information about the individual that committed this crime should contact [the NYPD] immediately,” she also added.

The incident marks another violent attack towards LGBTQ establishments in New York City within a year.

In April, a Brooklyn bar was also targeted in an arson attack and in November a man threw bricks through the window of a Hell’s Kitchen gay bar several times within a matter of days.