What really happened outside West Hollywood gay bar the Abbey on Sunday?
It’s a question dominating social media as the LGBT community argues about the story of an alleged attack that left gay YouTube star Calum McSwiggan in the hospital that night—an attack that West Hollywood police denied ever occurred.
Over the weekend, McSwiggan claimed he had been the victim of a hate crime, suffering broken teeth and six stitches to his head outside the Abbey after VidCon. But Tuesday, the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department issued a statement that McSwiggan was brought into custody after vandalizing a car, and that he had arrived without injuries, instead beating himself in a jail cell. The department also shared a booking photo with the Daily Dot, which appeared to show McSwiggan without injuries to the face.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has an affirmative duty to fully investigate all assaults and reports of violence in our community. 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.
As a result, the story of a young YouTuber who was gay-bashed after leaving VidCon became the story of a disturbed individual who faked his own beating to get attention. But it’s possible that neither of those narratives leads to the truth.
On Wednesday, Calum McSwiggan posted a detailed version of events on his Facebook page, shortly after his friend and fellow YouTuber Melanie Murphy did the same. Both accounts contradict what West Hollywood police claimed in an unusually open statement about a case that verged on a smear campaign against McSwiggan.