YouTube star Calum McSwiggan said he was attacked outside of gay bar; police say he injured himself

VidCon fell on the same weekend as LGBT Pride this year, and like many out YouTubers, Calum McSwiggan was celebrating.

But the gay YouTube star’s Sunday night party—a sort of closing celebration for both VidCon and Pride month—was cut short when he said he was attacked and brutally beaten by three men outside of West Hollywood gay bar the Abbey.

Yet, the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department said Thursday that McSwiggan wasn’t beaten and was, in fact, arrested after he allegedly vandalized a car. 

According to McSwiggan’s friend and fellow YouTuber Riyadh Kalaf, the alleged attack was not a random event. In a series of tweets, Kalaf said that the men referred to he and McSwiggan by name and had used their social media posts to locate them.

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The Abbey, where the attack occurred, recently made news when the bar posted armed guards on the premises after the Orlando mass shooting.

McSwiggan posted a hospital photo to Instagram on Monday night, along with a description of the attack. He said he suffered three broken teeth and required six stitches in his head.

Recent reports have highlighted growing homophobia on YouTube. After the platform launched a LGBT-supportive #ProudToBe video featuring many of the most popular YouTubers, including McSwiggan, comments became so vitriolic that they had to be disabled. It was also the most-disliked video in the history of the YouTube Spotlight page. 

McSwiggan, whose popular YouTube channel features a “Gay Sex 101” series and the hit confessional video “I did gay porn and I’m sorry,” was not the only LGBT celebrity who posted about being gay-bashed over the weekend.

Musician Casey Spooner of Fischerspooner also posted news of an attack in Brooklyn on Sunday. On Instagram, Spooner described being hit in the face with a bike lock by a man who yelled “faggot.”

Spooner called the sudden attack “a shocking end to a beautiful day of celebration.”

In multiple cities, this year’s pride month celebrations were tainted by fear and increased police presence after the Orlando shooting.

“I’ve never been so terrified,” McSwiggan wrote on Instagram, “to be a gay man in the public eye.”

On Tuesday afternoon, the blog WEHOville reported that McSwiggan’s claims contradicted those of West Hollywood Sheriff’s Capt. Holly Perez. 

In a statement emailed to the Daily Dot, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department said:

“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. 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.”

Here’s the mugshot released by police.

Khalaf, though, is still backing McSwiggan.

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Update 4:02pm CT, June 28: Includes West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department’s claims via WEHOville. 

Update 8:30pm CT, June 28: Includes the full news release from the Sheriff’s Department’s and the responses from McSwiggan and Khalaf. 

Mary Emily O'Hara

Mary Emily O'Hara

Mary Emily O'Hara is an LGBTQ reporter. Her work has appeared in Rolling Stone, NBC Out, Daily Dot, Broadly, Vice, the Daily Beast, the Advocate, Huffington Post, DNAinfo, Al Jazeera, and Portland's Pulitzer Prize-winning newsweekly Willamette Week, among other outlets.