Thomas Ravenel, star of Charleston-based reality TV show Southern Charm
, was attacked in a downtown bar last week, according to an incident report from the Charleston Police Department.
According to the report, an officer patrolling on foot in the vicinity of Republic Garden and Lounge was flagged down around midnight in reference to an assault that had recently occurred in the bar.
Ravenel says a man was making derogatory statements to him and causing a disturbance, which drew the attention of security. As the man was being removed from the bar, he slipped free and head-butted Ravenel in the face before being tossed out, according to the TV personality and former state treasurer.
Police were alerted to the assault and tracked down a man fitting the description of the attacker. The suspect was asked by the officer to return to the bar to be identified by the victim and witnesses. Upon re-entering the bar, Ravenel immediately pointed out the suspect and said, “That’s the guy who hit me,” according to the incident report. The suspect first denied he assaulted Ravenel, but then admitted, “He deserved it,” the report says.
The suspect was placed under arrest for simple assault, but was soon released after Ravenel said he did not wish to press charges. The report shows that Ravenel contacted police later that evening and asked that his attacker be placed in jail, but was told too much time had passed.
According to Ravenel, he simply wanted the guy to spend the night in jail to think about what he had done, but stopped short of formal charges out of fear of the negative attention it would bring. As a public figure, Ravenel says he is forced to avoid defending himself — both legally and physically — because of the bad publicity and likelihood that the incident would be misrepresented as just another case of a celebrity gone wild.
“I can’t press charges. I can't do anything. I just have to get my face disfigured,” says Ravenel. “I can’t defend myself because of the show and who I am.”
As a former wrestler at The Citadel, Ravenel says he would have no problem fighting off the average unruly bar patron, but the risk of getting into a public brawl is too much for someone with his reputation.
“I can’t defend myself or they would put me under the prison,” he says.
According to Ravenel, his eye was swollen to the point that it became difficult to see, but doctors say there will be no permanent damage. A victim of his own fame perhaps, Ravenel’s only lingering concern is that he’s left with few options when it comes to attacks such as this.