On Tuesday, 26-year-old YouTube star Calum McSwiggan uploaded a heart-wrenching photo to Instagram, purportedly showing him as a victim recovering from a hate crime.
McSwiggan captioned the photo:
Last night was the worst night of my life and I’m really struggling to find the words to talk about it. After one of the most wonderful weekends at VidCon we went out to a gay club to celebrate, and towards the end of the evening I was separated from my friends and beaten up by three guys. The authorities should have been there to help and protect me but instead they treated me like a second class citizen. With three broken teeth and six stitches in my forehead, I’ve never felt so terrified to be a gay man in the public eye. All I can do is thank my wonderful friends @riyadhk, @melaniiemurphy and @douga_ for being with me the whole way. I’d be lost without them. Right now I don’t feel that I’m in the right place to talk about this but I will be addressing this fully in the future.
In wake of recent events the LGBTQ community has faced, support quickly came pouring in for McSwiggan and the post went viral. However, a problem arose soon after when the LAPD came forward to say the hate crime never really happened.
Writes The Advocate:
Officers “were unable to substantiate the assault.” …The YouTuber “had no visible injuries” and was arrested when officers went to the scene “after deputies observed him vandalizing a car.” The 26-year-old was booked and photographed (photo above) and placed in a cell by himself at the West Hollywood Station. It was there that station personnel say McSwiggan “was then observed injuring himself with the handle and receiver to a payphone inside the cell.”
McSwiggan has remained quiet about the LAPD’s statement, but has remained active on his Twitter account.
Should this outcome be similar to the recent Whole Foods cake incident, it would appear the LGBTQ community has another issue to deal with: selfish, attention-crazed people who are using real issues we face for personal gain.
According to a recent article in the New York Times, LGBT people are more likely to be the target of hate crimes than any other minority group. When members of our own community allegedly fabricate false stories like McSwiggan’s for attention, it only makes it harder for the real victims of these crimes to be taken seriously. But apparently to some, that pales in comparison to the potential number of likes and shares one can get on social media by taking advantage of the real issue at hand.
UPDATE: 5:45 CST
McSwiggan has released a statement on his public Facebook page in response to the incident in question with his full account of what transpired.
Images courtesy of Jezebel