The victim, who does not want to be identified.

Four US Marines have been arrested for allegedly beating a film student unconscious outside a gay bar in Long Beach, California.

The owner of the popular Silver Fox bar, John Barnes, told the Press-Telegram that the men came into his bar at around 2 a.m. on Monday, just before closing time.

They seemed uncomfortable and one of them mockingly called him sweetheart. “You could tell by the tone of his voice that he was uncomfortable, he was making a demeaning remark,” Barnes said.

When the Marines left the bar, an altercation ensued between them and a patron who has chosen to remain anonymous as he fears he may be targeted again.

“He starts pushing me and calling me fag. I told him I was gonna call police,” the victim told CBS Los Angeles. “I remember blacking out. All I remember is being put next to the curb,” the man said.

Two other men, including Charlie Harris who works at the bar, rushed to help but were also allegedly attacked by the Marines.

“You could hear the punches… it was bad,” said Harris, who is reported to have fought the Marines until police arrived.

The victim’s boyfriend, David, believes that by intervening in the beating Harris may have saved his boyfriend’s life.

“You just saw fists, and muscles, and tattoos, and all those guys were on top of him,” David said.

The Marines are out on bail and may be charged with a hate crime.

“This is behaviour that’s not acceptable in the Marine Corps. Any crimes of intolerance are unacceptable and not tolerated as far as behaviour expected of a United States Marine,” said a spokesperson for the Marines in a statement.

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