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Local News

Santa Barbara DA Files Disturbing-the-Peace Charge for Anti-Gay Tirade Captured on Video

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office has filed a misdemeanor disturbing-the-peace charge against Isla Vista landlord James Gelb related to an anti-gay, expletive-filled tirade caught on video.

Gelb was filmed shouting a series of anti-gay slurs at Ethan Bertrand, the gay board president of the Isla Vista Community Services District.

The confrontation occurred the night of Nov. 7 in the 500 block of State Street

Gelb “allegedly used offensive language which was likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction,” the District Attorney's Office said in a statement announcing the charge.

According to the California Penal Code, Gelb faces up to 90 days in county jail, a fine of up to $400, or both, if convicted. 

The case is set for arraignment on Dec. 4, in Department 8 of the Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

In the video, filmed by one of Bertrand's friends who has not been identified, Gelb refers to Bertrand as a “fag” more than a dozen times, and makes derogatory references to Bertrand's sexual orientation while continuously shouting “F--- you!”

After the video was made public, Gelb made a statement to the media and alleged that Bertrand called him a “pedophile” and a “felon” before the camera started recording.

“To me, those are fighting words,” he wrote.

Gelb also claimed that he has been “the daily target of UCSB students’ condescension, pranks and mocking over the years. They routinely hurl obscenities at me, trying to spark a reaction with their cell phones ready.”

Bertrand also released a statement after the confrontation, saying, “Mr. Gelb’s actions caused me to fear for my personal safety, leaving me traumatized for the rest of the evening.

“His disgusting behavior shows that in 2017, LGBTQ people in our community can still face harassment, discrimination and the threat of violence.”

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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