Police late Wednesday released surveillance video of an alleged hate crime in Manhattan's West Village that injured a 26-year-old man.
Damian Furtch tells NY1 he and a friend were at the McDonald's at West 3rd Street and Sixth Avenue around 4:30 a.m Sunday when two guys started staring at him because he was wearing a fluorescent hat and pink shoelaces.
He says he went outside while his friend got their order, and the two men followed him.
Furtch says they asked if he had a problem with them, and then started hitting him and yelling gay slurs.
"One of the guys hit me in the face, my right side, the worst side with the stitches. I was sort of jumbled from that and seconds later I felt a second hit on my left side and then a third punch towards the top of my head," said Furtch. "They were saying, ya know, you f'ing f----t, and things like that."
Furtch says he then stumbled away and made it to Roosevelt Hospital, where he received several stitches.
"It's an awkward feeling, you want to feel like you can walk outside and choose to wear whatever you want, choose to be whoever you are. I hate to say it, but apparently it's not safe," Furtch said.
Furtch's boss at the nearby Pink Tea Cup says he can't imagine anyone who would want to hurt the aspiring dancer and model.
"A gentle giant, wouldn't hurt anyone. Just that guy that you're definitely gonna remember and if he served you at the table, you'll request him when you come back," said Pink Tea Cup owner Lawrence Page.
Investigators say they're looking for two men 18 to 20 years old.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says the Hate Crimes Task Force is aggressively investigating the incident.
Anyone with information about the case is being asked to contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-577-TIPS, by texting TIP577 to CRIMES, or by going to NYPDCrimeStoppers.com.