Michael Walters, known as one of the world’s premier Dame Edna impersonators, had a rather turbulent night while hosting the costume contest outside of the Alibi on Halloween night.
Walters claims a man attacked him with a burning torch during the Alibi costume contest. He would post about the attack on Facebook and soon friends would identify the man as Boyd Corbin.
“I was onstage and it happened so fast. He was behind me and I kept seeing out of my peripheral vision a burning torch,” Walters said.
Corbin was photographed that night by several people carrying a wooden cross and a lit garden torch — he was also dressed as a member of the Klu Klux Klan.
Walters says Corbin was on the curb by the tree outside the front doors of Alibi.
|Boyd Corbin in his controversial Ku Klux Klan costume. (Photo: Stephen R. Lang, Jump On Mark's List) |
“I turned around and said ‘put that thing out’ and he just kept waving it around, he even thrust it at me a couple of times. Had he come any closer I would have gone up like Michael Jackson,” Walters said regarding the chemicals in his wig. “I grabbed it and tried to blow it out but [the torch] didn’t go out – that’s when [Corbin] reached up and pulled my wig off, at the same time grabbing my arm and pulling me off the stage. I landed with all of my weight on my right leg and I felt something pop really bad.”
Walters said Corbin then leaned over him and Walters kicked at him.
“I was going to kill him,” said Walters. He admitted that he hasn’t sought out medical attention other than right after the incident because of his lack of insurance.
SFGN asked if Walters thought people may have thought he had fallen off the stage rather than being pulled off by Corbin.
“I don’t know what people thought. It all happened so fast. There were so many people; it was packed so tight,” he said.
Someone in a security shirt helped pick him off the ground and brought him inside the Manchester room at Alibi, Walters said, and sat him down at the bar. But Walters was only concerned about worrying his partner, Doug Lucas.
“All I wanted was someone to tell Doug where I was.”
Later that night, after the festivities and shock of being attacked wore off, Walters and Lucas went to the Wilton Manors Police station to file a report of the incident.
Walters then told SFGN he disputed some of the details in the police report, especially where it stated Walters was “unsure if he could identify the patron.”
“That’s untrue,” Walters said. “My God, he was wearing a fucking KKK outfit. I said if I saw his face again, yes I’d know it.”
Corbin’s costume consisted of striped sheets, a wooden cross, a lit torch and a sign around his neck that read: “Stop the race war against whites. Vote for Romney.”
A day after the Oct. 31 incident, Walters went to the emergency room just as a precaution. It was determined nothing was wrong and Walters was released. Thanks to Walters’ Facebook followers who put Corbin’s picture online, Walters learned his name, address and phone number just hours after the incident.
Equipped with a disc full of Corbin’s photos, Walters and Lucas went back to the police on Nov. 1.
A few days after the incident, a friend informed Walters that Corbin was at a local restaurant, bregging about what happened and how police had questioned him and let him go. He would eventually get arrested on Monday, Nov. 12, and released on $6,000 bond early the following morning on Nov 13.
Corbin refused to be interviewed, but his lawyer provided SFGN with a statement:
“Mr. Corbin is a caring and peaceful person who would never hurt anybody. The incident was not an assault and he did not intend to cause harm. Mr. Corbin's intentions were misconstrued and the situation escalated as a result,” Attorney Jeff Dean wrote. “Mr. Corbin wore his costume to put down, mock and ridicule people who are racist and homophobic. Some people didn't get it and emotions ran high. Mr. Corbin is supportive of the community, is a wonderful person, and is innocent.”
Jackson Padgett, who owns the Alibi along with partner Mark Negrete, told SFGN that they “as owners and responsible community members are doing [their] own investigations as well.”
“However, what happened was certainly unfortunate,” He wrote. “We also believe that no one should be assaulted in anyway, physically nor verbally, as I find both to be equally damaging just as rumors and innuendos. Both can be very damaging and should be addressed severely and through the appropriate channels."
Walters, who leaves Florida next week to participate in a second reading for the Broadway version of The Honeymooners, said this incident has left him hurting both physically and mentally.
“I’m very upset by the way this has transpired,” he said.
Walters does intend to pursue all avenues to the fullest extent of the law concerning him and Corbin.