Anthony “Tony” Fera, the president of Houston-based MidStar Energy LP, an oilfield service company in northwest Houston, was charged with assaulting a gay couple in Austin,Texas in April. Fera was arrested on June 1 by the Austin Police Department. It is still pending whether hate crime charges will be pursued. Fera’s bail was set at $5,000.
Andy Smith, executive director of theTexas Instruments Foundation,and his husband Paul von Wupperfeld were walking along Austin’s Colorado Street on April 18, at about 10:25 p.m., when a truck “came barreling out of the parking lot on our left, almost hitting us,” reads Smith’s statement to Austin police.
“I hollered out, ‘you nearly hit us.’ Smith said. To which the driver replied, ‘Fuck you faggot.’”
Smith responded, “What did you say?”
“Fuck you faggot,” the man answered. He then proceeded to stop his truck in a lane of traffic, got out to confront the men, and the exchange escalated.
Smith told him he couldn’t call them that.
“You make me stop,” Fera said. “I’ll kick your ass.”
Smith wrote that he thinks he said, “What are you going to do? Hit me?”
Before Smith was knocked unconscious he stated that he remembered seeing a mean look on the man’s face.
Von Wupperfeld, Smith’s husband, continued the narrative in a separate statement to police.
After brutally assaulting Smith, Von Wupperfeld reported, Fera ran to his vehicle and drove off. By the time von Wupperfeld reached Smith, he told police, Smith’s “face was swollen and bloody from where he had been punched, with cuts on his nose, right cheek and chin. He was unconscious for around 30-45 seconds. When he regained consciousness, he was groggy and disoriented.” Smith suffered “a fractured nose, a black eye, lacerations, scrapes, and a shoulder injury,” according to the Gay Star News.
Several witnesses saw the assault and recorded the incident with their phones. Pictures taken at the scene included the license plate number on the pickup driven by Fera, who attacked Smith, allowing police to trace the truck.
“I’m very grateful to the Austin Police Department and the many witnesses who stepped forward and offered help,” Smith told the Dallas News. “I’ve received a lot of support and love from my family and friends.”
Fera is best known as the father of University of Texas Longhorn football team’s 2013 star placekicker Anthony Fera. It should be noted that Tony Fera Sr. has been arrested several other times in Texas and Pennsylvania.
Rafael McDonnell, communications and advocacy manager of Resource Center in Dallas, said that he worries that this sort of thing might happen more as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares for its marriage equality ruling. “Those who are not supporters might feel the need to lash out.”
“The LGBT community has some bubbles in Texas… places where we can feel perfectly safe,” McDonnell said. “The sad fact is the rest of the state isn’t necessarily like that.”
Fera has declined to comment on the incident and charges to local media.