Society

Man Jumped From Cruise Ship In Protest After Crew Members Made Homophobic Remarks, Attorney Says (Video)

| by Jordan Smith
Bernardo ElbazBernardo Elbaz

Video footage (below) showing the moments before Bernardo Elbaz allegedly jumped from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship has been released.

On Nov.6, the 31-year-old jumped from the seventh floor of the Oasis of the Sea roughly 17 miles east of the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Sun Sentinel reported.

In the video, Bernardo, who was on a week-long cruise with his husband Erik Elbaz, can be heard arguing with crew members.

“I have a husband; I’m not a pedophile,” Bernardo says in the video.

He was allegedly called “lipstick” and “pedophile” by crew members because he was gay, NBC 6 reports.

The video was released by Michael Winkleman, Erik Elbaz’s attorney, on Nov. 10.

After jumping from the balcony, Bernardo hit a lifeboat and was hanging onto the support for several minutes before falling into the sea, police say.

“He was holding on for his life; he was reaching out for assistance,” Erik said on Nov. 9, according to NBC. “He did not need to die. He was alive and it was unfortunate missteps on the crew’s line.”

Erik denied any suggestion his husband was suicidal. He claimed that the couple had both faced anti-gay slurs from staff members on the trip, and that Bernardo was “inconsolable” after returning from the bar Nov. 6.

A Royal Caribbean statement defended the crew’s actions.

“Our onboard security team responded to the guest’s stateroom after a neighboring guest complained about a domestic dispute on the guest’s balcony. Our staff did not have a physical altercation with the guest and were unable to prevent his jumping from the stateroom balcony,” it read.

A rescue operation was launched by the boat and coast guard, but Bernardo’s body has not been found. He is presumed dead.

Winkleman contested the cruise ship company's version of events.

“What’s most important is that this was not a domestic dispute; this was not a suicide,” Winkleman claimed. “This was an act of protest based on the way that this legally-gay, legally-married couple was mistreated by Royal Caribbean.”

Winkleman also expressed criticism of the rescue effort.

“Why not give him a life vest, assist him? Why didn't they stop the ship?” he asked, according to the Sentinel.

Sources: NBCSun Sentinel / Photo credit: NBC via Daily Mail, Twitter/YouTube via Heavy