Steve Buscemi’s NYC attack explained

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When news broke that “Fargo” star Steve Buscemi had been randomly attacked in Kips Bay, Manhattan, on May 8, social media users were quick to express their outrage. Many invoked his infamous “Stuck in the Middle” scene from “Reservoir Dogs,” calling for justice. One fan on X (formerly known as Twitter) wrote, “The man who sucker punched him better turn himself in, cause New Yorkers are not having this. He is at strong risk of never being seen again.”

According to the New York Post, Buscemi was struck in the face and fell after being hit. He was walking with an unidentified woman when the incident occurred. Despite the assault leaving him with facial swelling and bruising, Buscemi was back at work soon after. Page Six captured him filming in SoHo with a visible black eye. His publicist stated, “He is OK and appreciates everyone’s well wishes, though incredibly sad for everyone that this has happened to him while also walking the streets of New York.”

Witnesses told ABC 7 that Buscemi attempted to chase his attacker, whose image was captured on surveillance footage. The suspect, identified as 50-year-old Clifton Williams, has not been arrested as of this writing. This assault occurred just months after another “Boardwalk Empire” star was attacked in New York City.

 

Other Celebrities Attacked in NYC

Random acts of violence have also targeted other celebrities in New York City. In March 2024, Steve Buscemi’s “Boardwalk Empire” co-star Michael Stuhlbarg was hit in the neck by a rock thrown by an unknown assailant in Central Park. Stuhlbarg did not seek medical treatment. In 2020, Rick Moranis was sucker-punched near Central Park, suffering pain to his head, back, and right hip. Both attackers were eventually apprehended.

The New York Post reported in March 2024 that two TikTokers, Halley Kate and Olivia Brand, described being struck in the head in separate random attacks, which the NYPD is investigating. The week following Buscemi’s assault, an acting student was attacked just blocks away from where Buscemi was punched. The victim recounted that EMTs and law enforcement officials discussed how these attacks were becoming increasingly common, with at least one reported daily.

 

Fans Rally Behind Steve Buscemi

Former NYPD Deputy Commissioner Rich Esposito confirmed to CBS News that random attacks have been on the rise in New York City. Some conservative media figures attempted to politicize Buscemi’s attack, likening the city’s atmosphere to Gotham. However, many netizens showed support for the actor, arguing that few people deserved such an attack less than Buscemi. One person tweeted, “It’s like seeing a puppy and kicking it for no other reason than it was there.”

Actor and former Barstool Sports podcaster Michael Rapaport reminded everyone of Buscemi’s heroism and kindness. “Steve is the salt of the earth. A former firefighter who worked onsite 9/11, great artist, and easily one of the kindest and most generous people you could meet,” he tweeted. Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder expressed his outrage during a Sacramento concert, referencing Buscemi’s “Reservoir Dogs” character. “That’s Mr. Pink,” Vedder said incredulously, adding, “I mean, hit me—don’t hit him.”

Despite the widespread support and outrage, the increase in random attacks on public figures in New York City remains a troubling trend.