A post-wedding luncheon at an Airbnb in Kenya devolved into a nightmarish scene when a belligerent man interrupted the festivities.
The trespasser began hurling racial slurs; physically attacked partygoers, unprovoked; and repeatedly threatened to kill them.
Eventually, after being detained by police, the man was identified as Philip Van De Graaf, who was an employee of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
UNICEF is the United Nations agency that provides humanitarian and developmental relief for children around the world.
Thogori Karago, who is the co-founder of LGBTQ-friendly travel booking platform Pink Coconuts, recounted the horrific encounter that occurred on September 12th in a post on Medium.
On September 12th I was hosting a few friends and family for a post-wedding lunch for my brother and @UNICEF employee Phillip Van De Graaf trespassed onto our @Airbnb property and assaulted my friends and I: FULL STATEMENT https://t.co/5KDObXvJd2
— Thogori Karago (@Thogori) September 14, 2020
She included the following two video clips from the horrendous evening.
WARNING: Includes violent behavior.
Karago said she was hosting the gathering with friends and family in the Airbnb located in the High View area in Ridgeways, Nairobi.
“At exactly 8.30pm we were having a vote of thanks speech amongst ourselves to conclude, when we were shocked upon the arrival of an intruder from a small gap in the garden shouting, flailing his arms and claiming we must exit the premises.”
“As the person renting the premises i asked the gentleman who initially failed to identify himself or request entry onto our property or provide his name and details and purpose.”
“However, much to my dismay he refused to disclose and continued shouting and addressing me and my friends aggresively.”
At the beginning in one of the videos, Van De Graaf’s voice can be heard interrupting a party guest’s speech, asking:
“It’s 9 o’clock now, no? It’s curfew time, no?”
He proceeds to make his way further into the crowd to ask who is renting the property and demands they leave the premises.
When Van De Graaf is asked to leave, he goes off on a tirade dropping F-bombs and threatening to “kill” the guests while shoving individuals out of his way.
I’m so sorry you had to go through this @Thogori , the unfortunate, sad truth is that this is not an isolated incident. It was just filmed. I have had and heard of NUMEROUS experiences with aggressive, racist expats in Kenya.
— Yvonne Maingey (@YvonneMaingey) September 15, 2020
Karago recalled of the assault:
“He ensued to use several objects around him to attack us and destroy personal property located in the porch area unprovoked.”
“He also went and got his guard dog and brought it to our property in an attempt to use it against us.”
When Van De Graaf threatened to call authorities, the person recording the incident dared him to and said:
“I will post this on Twitter. Trust me, you are leaving this country.”
After stumbling around for a while, Van De Graaf appears to trip over some patio furniture before two of the partygoers finally tackle him to the ground.
Twitter lauded how well much of the guests handled the situation.
The men in this party deserve a Nobel Peace Prize each. The amount of restraint they exercised is beyond normal. I know a few fellas who keep jambok, nyaunyo, small Maasai rungu with metal studs for straightening out such rough Graaf whilst awaiting the arrival of the Police.
— Chris (@Chris_D_Odero) September 15, 2020
1. @UNICEFKenya if this is your employee, you need to say something.
2. @Thogori and friends, all I can say is that I admire your collective restraint, that Phillip cuddled in his gentle wife’s arms, was able to WALK back home and sleep in his bed! Well handled!!
— E J Odhi (@Ejodhi1) September 15, 2020
Karago said she got everyone inside the house and contacted local police.
“The… officers sought to engage the man at his premises alongside his security team from BM and Kenya Police whereby he refused to admit liability for causing unnecessary disturbance, verbal and physical assault towards several persons as they attempted to defend themselves.”
In addition to disclosing Van De Graaf’s identity, police said that that the aggressor had a “history of substance abuse, hurling racially verbally abusive language and using his dogs against the guards assigned.”
On Sunday, the incident was reported to local police and UNICEF Integrity.
Karago said they have yet to hear back from UNICEF.
Hi @UNICEF your employee is a racist with proof of him trespassing , abusing and threatening Kenyans in Nairobi . Why haven’t you responded better yet why is he still your employee ? Is this what you stand for ? https://t.co/O246C2GX7C
— KingstonGirl🍁 🇰🇪 (@Lsankei99) September 15, 2020
How you guys stayed that calm when “Ken” here was exercising his white privilege is honestly beyond me.
I just try imagine if it was melanated folk who stormed into a caucasians house late at night with that bravado. This would have ended so different.
— Fundi Chef (@Chef_Pinchito) September 14, 2020
Have watched the clip, I can’t imagine what would have happened if it was the other way round an African gate crushing a white party! Could be either dead or evicted from plot or arrested by kenyan police or harassed by those kkk security ,G4S,BM
— Jawuoro Ng’uon kowadgi (@aviatortosha) September 15, 2020
So sorry for what you went through. That’s White Privilege And we’re not here for that. Not for a second. If @UNICEFKenya don’t respond we’ll demo at their offices till we get action. What nonsense and Arrogance is that?
— Angela Mutethya (@Mutethya_) September 15, 2020
YIKES! Just shocking that Kenyans in Nairobi had to experience such behaviour. It’s UNACCEPTABLE. This man isn’t fit to work in an international environment with such values @UNICEFAfrica. UN guidelines on discrimination be used here please.
— Life (@livras) September 15, 2020
The Daily Dot discovered that – according to his now-deleted Linkedin profile – Van De Graaf had been working for the United Nations agency for 12 years, most recently as a regional supply and logistics manager.
Karago concluded with the following statement:
“We are ready to provide several witnesses and have submitted this as an official compliant of Phillip Van de Graaf’s unwelcome and unsolicited behaviour and verbal and physical assault towards myself and others as a foreign national and diplomat resident in my country Kenya.”