It was the video that shocked The City, and the country, for its coldness.
A man walks atop a Mission District roof carrying a bucket and proceeds to dump water over the ledge onto a homeless woman lying on the street below.
While it is unclear if the water hurt the homeless woman, many on social media rebuked the action for its cruelty.
Has San Francisco really become so callous to those without a home?
Exactly who that man was remained a vexing question this week, with some even offering $1,000 to identify him.
San Francisco police are also seeking help to identify the man.
The reward is now $1,000. And here is the video. Many thanks to the person who originally posted this. pic.twitter.com/9ileU656Y7
— Jim V.o.R. (@JimYoull) June 24, 2019
Now, Don Soker, who owns a gallery on Bryant Street, has apparently identified himself as the “soaker,” in an angry tirade on Facebook Friday afternoon.
“When I asked her to move I was roundly cursed,” Soker said, responding to people on Facebook accusing him of causing harm. “What’s so bad about a cold shower on a hot day? Also I have never done this before and she simply moved down to the next building.”
Those comments seemingly out Soker as the, well, soaker, activists said. The original post Soker responded to was from Spike Kahn, a long time San Francisco artist and activist.
“I find it hard to hear the defense of the attacker, and not compassion for the homeless woman who got attacked,” Kahn said.
Soker also gives his own justification for his action, claiming the homeless woman “harassed” someone who visited his business. Advocates rebutted that it wasn’t a justification to “assault” someone, and if someone was truly harassed the police should be called.
The Coalition on Homelessness was outraged, and demanded an apology.
“Mr. Soker not only needs to give a public apology but also should pay damages to the women he terrorized with water buckets,” said Jennifer Friednenbach, director of the coalition. “Having yourself and your gear soaked with water when you don’t have a home to get warm and dry is no joke. An apology coupled with a gracious offer of temporary housing or financial support would go a long ways in demonstrating his remorse to a horrified community.”
KPIX reporter Joe Vazquez already interviewed Soker on Wednesday, as Soker works in the building and seemingly has roof access. Soker denied he knew who the water-tossing man was, and even told Vazquez he believed it to be a nearby worker “doing some work on the roof” next door.
Yet, eagle-eyed viewers noted Soker is bald, and the blurry video of the water-drenching incident seemingly shows the man to be bald.
When I called and texted Soker for comment, he would only reply by text message.
“Sorry but this thing has gotten completely out of hand and I’m not going to contribute to any more political correct bs,” he wrote to me.
Soker’s full Facebook comment is below.
“Not to put too fine a point on Kahn’s oligarchic sins of omission on reverse gentrification but the complainants and she live in expensive buildings with security that prevents homeless encampment. I was told by a visitor to my business that she was harassed by the woman camping directly next to the building door. When I asked her to move I was roundly cursed. Forget calling police or 311 so what’s so bad about a cold shower on a hot day? Also I have never done this before and she simply moved down to the next building.”
On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email Fitz at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @FitztheReporter, and Facebook at facebook.com/FitztheReporter.