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Boston Stands with Keytar Bear Once Again after Another Attack

Three teenagers from New Hampshire were arrested for assaulting the beloved busker.

Photo by Alex Lau

Update, Tuesday, June 20: The three teenagers who allegedly beat and yelled racist insults at Keytar Bear have been arraigned on assault charges and ordered to stay away from Faneuil Hall. The teens, who are 15, 16, and 17 years old, were released on bail and are due back in court July 12. Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley thanked witnesses, who pointed out the assailants when they fled, for their help. “That witness assistance had a direct effect on the officers’ ability to locate, identify, and apprehend the suspects,” he said in a release. They are due back in court in July.

Meanwhile, an online fundraiser for the performer has raised more than $7,000 and counting from more than 341 donors.

Earlier: Boston is stepping up to help one of its most iconic characters this week after Keytar Bear was, once again, targeted in an assault this weekend.

Three teenagers from New Hampshire have been arrested and charged with assault after they allegedly tackled and punched the performer while berating him with racial slurs on Saturday afternoon. Police say the teens, who are not being named because they are juveniles, surrounded the musician, removed his mask, and struck him several times in the face and body.

A photo shared on social media shows a crowd of a half-dozen young men swarming him.

Remember, by the way, that Keytar Bear has said he started wearing the mask in part as a way to combat racism.

“I’d say, I’m trying to kill racism in my own way. I want to be responsible for the demise of racism,” he told Boston in 2014.  “I’m trying to kill racism in my own little way, you know what I mean? You don’t know if [I’m] black or white, you just see a little bear. He’s playing music and he’s having fun.”

The attackers fled when police arrived, according to a report. With help from witnesses, police found three hiding in scaffolding and arrested them. They are now charged with assault and battery, affray (fighting in public), and disorderly conduct. One of the suspects, who had a bottle of vodka, was charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol. The assault is also being investigated by the Boston Police Civil Rights Unit.

Why this keeps happening—Keytar Bear was assaulted three times in 2014—is anyone’s guess. But once again Boston is stepping up to help. A GoFundMe page to replace the speaker he uses has in less than three days raised more than $7,000, far surpassing a $500 goal.

And if you’re worried that Keytar Bear might stop appearing at MBTA stops, outside major events, and in high-traffic areas downtown, don’t be. A post on the Facebook page We Love Keytar Bear this morning indicates he is “in the mood to play music again.” The message includes thanks to Boston Police for their help tracking down his attackers, and adds, “It was an unfortunate incident , hopefully it will go away soon.” A photo was shared of him standing at South Station, keytar in hand, his bear mask’s grin as inviting as always—dressed like Superman.


Spencer Buell Staff Writer at Boston Magazine sbuell@bostonmagazine.com