Calum McSwiggan, 26, a YouTuber, posted a photo of himself on social media claiming that he was attacked outside a gay bar in West Hollywood Monday, but the police are telling a different story.
In a statement to The Advocate, Holly M. Perez, captain of the West Hollywood Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, said that authorities responded to McSwiggan's report that he was assaulted by three men outside of a gay club. Officers "were unable to substantiate the assault," Perez said. 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."
The YouTuber was taken to a local hospital to be treated for his injuries. "Mr. McSwiggan’s booking photo was taken prior to deputies seeing Mr. McSwiggan injuring himself," according to the sheriff's department statement, after providing McSwiggan's booking photo, which shows no visible injuries.
McSwiggan claimed on Instagram to have been left with three broken teeth and six stitches in his forehead, and he shared a photo of himself in a hospital bed with a bandage on his forehead. Riyadh Khalif, a fellow YouTuber and friend of McSwiggan, tweeted that he was with the 26-year-old at the bar that night, but the attack came during a moment that McSwiggan was separated from his friends.
Khalif speculated on Twitter that the three attackers took advantage of seeing the YouTuber alone and took the opportunity to attack him. On Twitter, Khalif claims that the attackers “knew where we were going to be because of our posts on social media before we went out and even said our names as they beat him."
Here's how McSwiggan described the attack in West Hollywood that left him looking battered in a selfie.
“Last night was the worst night of my life and I’m really struggling to find the words to talk about it,”he wrote on Instagram and Facebook. “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 reported that authorities treated him like a "second class citizen,” instead of helping or protecting him.
“I’ve never felt so terrified to be a gay man in the public eye,” wrote McSwiggan.
LGBT people are the minority group most likely to be targeted for hate crimes, according to FBI statistics. So there are a lot more real stories than fictional. In his post, McSwiggan said he wasn’t in the right frame of mind to speak fully about the incident and that he would be addressing it in the future. The Advocate has reached out for comment.
The full statement from the sheriff's department is posted below:
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. That booking photo is attached.
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.