The gay community was rocked by the recent beating of a gay man and popular YouTuber, Calum McSwiggan, 26. McSwiggan has now been charged with making a false police report after investigators concluded that he was not attacked and caused the injuries to himself. In a case reminiscent of the recent hoax by a gay minister, McSwiggan went to social media and created a firestorm over his alleged victimization.
McSwiggan claimed on Instagram that he was left with three broken teeth and six stitches in his forehead — injuries documented from the hospital. Friend Riyadh Khalif tweeted that he was with the 26-year-old at the bar that night, but that his friend was attacked when they were separated. Khalif speculated that the attackers were hunting for a lone gay man to attack and may have been following their posting on social media to track them.
McSwiggan wrote on social media that “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.” He decried how police treated him as “second class citizen” when he made his claim and that “I’ve never felt so terrified to be a gay man in the public eye.”
The police issued this alternative account:
Deputies from West Hollywood Station responded to and investigated the report by Calum McSwiggan that he was assaulted by three males after leaving a local nightclub early Monday morning. Responding deputies were unable to substantiate the assault. Mr. McSwiggan, who had no visible injuries, was subsequently arrested after deputies observed him vandalizing a car in the 8900 block of Santa Monica Boulevard. After being booked and photographed, Mr. McSwiggan was placed into a cell by himself at West Hollywood Station. Mr. McSwiggan was then observed injuring himself with the handle and receiver to a payphone inside the cell. Medical personnel were summoned and Mr. McSwiggan was transported to a local hospital for treatment. Mr. McSwiggan’s booking photo was taken prior to deputies seeing Mr. McSwiggan injuring himself. That booking photo is attached.
It was the mugshot that proved the critical evidence behind the charges. Obviously the eyewitness accounts are equally damaging. It is perplexing how someone could injure himself in a jail without realizing that such an act would be observed and likely filmed.
If true, this is a particularly sad and disgraceful crime. Gays, lesbians and bisexual people face serious threats of violence and a hoax only serves to reinforce critics who question the need for added protections.
If found to be true, what do you believe should be the punishment for such an alleged hoax.