A gay YouTube personality has been charged with filing a false police report over an incident he alleges took place early Monday morning in West Hollywood.
YouTube personality Calum McSwiggan told police he was beaten up by three men in West Hollywood after leaving a gay bar in the city. The story doesn’t make it explicit but the suggestion, as you’ll see in a moment, was that the attackers may have targeted McSwiggan for being gay.
However, police who responded to the incident could not substantiate that an attack took place and, today, McSwiggan was charged with filing a false report. The LA Times reports there is much more to this story:
The Sheriff’s Department confirmed that deputies responded early Monday to McSwiggan’s report of assault after leaving a West Hollywood nightclub. But deputies at the scene “were unable to substantiate the assault,” according to a statement.
Deputies then placed McSwiggan, 26, under arrest about 2:30 a.m. Monday after he allegedly vandalized a car along Santa Monica Boulevard near Robertson Boulevard, in the heart of the city’s LGBT nightlife district.
McSwiggan was booked and placed in a cell. At some point he was, “observed injuring himself with the handle and receiver to a payphone.” He was then taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries and while there published a message to social media which read in part:
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.
Unfortunately for McSwiggan, police not only observed him injuring himself, they also took a mugshot when he was booked which shows he had no injuries requiring stitches at the time he arrived at the station, i.e. after the attack supposedly occurred. You can see the before and after photos—the mugshot and the social media post—at the top of this CBS News story.
This story is reminiscent of an incident in April when a gay pastor claimed bakers at Whole Foods had added a gay slur to the “Love Wins” inscription on his cake. The pastor sued but Whole Foods counter-sued and posted video showing the label on the cake had been moved from the time it was purchased. In mid-May the pastor admitted he had faked the incident, adding the slur to the cake himself and then broadcasting the fake hate incident on social media.
McSwiggan has promised to explain everything once his lawyers allow him to talk. If convicted of filing a false report, he could face up to a year in jail.