Gay Vlogger Calum McSwiggan: ‘I Did Not Fake a Hate Crime’

calum mcswiggan responds

Gay vlogger Calum McSwiggan has responded to allegations that he faked a hate crime attack early Monday morning, telling a more in-depth account of the events that led to his arrest in West Hollywood.

As we reported, McSwiggan posted late Monday that he had been attacked by three strangers after leaving the West Hollywood nightclub The Abbey. He said he was badly beaten and was treated like a “second class citizen” by the police.

The L.A. County Sheriffs Department (LACSD) responded on Tuesday by issuing a statement saying they found no evidence that McSwiggan was attacked and that they had arrested him for vandalizing a car. LACSD also alleged that McSwiggan attempted to harm himself while being held in prison.

McSwiggan’s friends, including some who were with him the night of the attack, disputed the LACSD’s claims as well as other allegations circulating online.

RELATED: Calum McSwiggan, Friends, React to Sheriff’s Reports: ‘Staying Silent Here is Killing Us’

In a Facebook post, McSwiggan then directly responded by insisting he had not faked his attack as police and others suggested.

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He also provided more details about the attack. He said that one of his attackers was a man he met at The Abbey. After walking with the man back to his car in a parking lot and meeting up with two of the man’s friends, things took a turn. “At some point in that conversation his tone and attitude flipped,” Calum says. “[The man] said something about my friend Melanie and then punched me in the mouth. I blacked out quickly after this but remember being kicked in the body multiple times, I believe by all three men.”

McSwiggan also went on to clarify that he cannot be absolutely sure of the motivation behind his attack, though he still believes it was the reason he was assaulted. “I can not say for 100% that this was because I was gay but I can’t think of any other justification for this random attack,” McSwiggan said.

Addressing the allegation of vandalism, McSwiggan said, “In a moment of devastation, anger and blind rage I kicked the wing mirror of the attacker’s car until it broke and then ripped it off with my hands. I also scratched the front of the car with the broken wing mirror before returning back to The Abbey for help.”

Of his friend Riyadh K’s involvement that night, McSwiggan added that he sought him out after returning to The Abbey,

“I explained [to him] what had happened, in full, and there should be a record of this phone call. He told me to meet him outside the abbey entrance where I found them and collapsed on the ground in tears while they comforted me. I asked them to call the police and Riyadh did immediately. There should also be a record of this phone call. The police arrived in less than five minutes and were very helpful at this time. They allowed me some time and space to calm down before talking to me and getting my story. I told them everything and told them I vandalised the vehicle. I showed them the wing mirror which I still had with me. I believe this was kept by The Abbey staff security. I did not think that under the circumstances that I would be treated as a criminal and I suggested bringing the police to the vehicle so that they could take the registration and find the owner to prosecute him.”

PREVIOUSLY: Gay Vlogger Calum McSwiggan Arrested for Vandalism, L.A. Sheriffs Dispute Claim of Attack

Of the police not believing McSwiggan’s claim he was attacked, McSwiggan said, “[A female officer] apologised but said that she did not believe I had been attacked due to the lack of physical injuries on my face.”

He also addressed the police allegations that he harmed himself while in custody, saying he did so to get released:

At the station I was put into a holding cell where I asked to speak to a medical professional, a councillor, my parents, my friends, a lawyer, for a phone call, or to be transferred to a hospital but they wouldn’t let me.

I was understandably shaken, upset, and terrified. I kept asking what was going to happen to me and what was going on but nobody would tell me. I was in tears and visibly shaking and clearly in need of support but was given none.

My father eventually called the station and I could hear them speaking to him on the phone. I pleaded with them to let me speak with him but they wouldn’t allow me to. They were asking him to pay $20,000 to release me otherwise I’d have to stay in jail until my court case. I did not understand this was bail or how bail worked and I freaked out. I knew he would pay it and couldn’t allow him to do that. In a moment of desperation to get out of the cell, I took the pay phone off the wall and hit myself once across the forehead with it as hard as I could. I knew I had to injure myself to get out of the cell and into a hospital, and it was the only solution I could find to get myself out of there. This is incredibly out of character for me and is testament to how upset I was in that moment. I do not regret doing this as I could still be in the jail cell if I didn’t.

I blacked out again and woke up in a pool of my own blood with paramedics helping me onto a stretcher. The female officer I had spoke to earlier was there and I said “I don’t like you,” because I hoped she would have been the one to help me or give me support. I could tell she felt sympathetic but was unable to help. I didn’t see her again after that.

From there I was put into an ambulance and taken to hospital. There I was assigned a psychiatrist who was wonderfully kind and supportive.

McSwiggan added that he attended court this morning, but apparently, “there was no record of my case on file. We’re going back later to try and resolve this fully.”

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Of the toll the incident has had on him, he says,

I’m heartbroken about the events and these have been the worst few days of my life. Many people are trying to discredit my story but this is the full and entire truth. Just because there were no visible marks on my face does not mean I was not attacked. Being accused of being a liar and being called a disgrace to the LGBT+ community, a community I’ve dedicated my life to, is more painful than any hate crime could ever be.

I do not blame the individual police officers for what happened. They were just doing their jobs. I believe they genuinely believed I had not been attacked. I find it shocking, however, that there is not a system in place to protect victims. Victims should be given the benefit of the doubt and allowed immediate medical advice and council in a crisis.

You can read Calum’s full post below:

The truth and full story of the events on June 26th.

On Sunday June 26th I went out to The Abbey, a gay club, in West Hollywood with my friends and fellow YouTubers Riyadh Khalaf, Melanie Murphy and Doug Armstrong. We were on a high from having an amazing time at VidCon and celebrating the end of it with one last night out. We had two or three drinks and were feeling very happy. We were mingling and talking with other people and I found a guy I took a liking to. I began flirting with him and left The Abbey with him. I believe we were accompanied by two of his friends but my memory is hazy with this.

I walked with him to a dark car park no more than five minutes away where, if they weren’t already with us, we were joined by two of his friends by his car. I know the car belonged to him because at one point he opened the door – I believe he was retrieving something from the glove box but I can’t be sure.

After this I was talking to them, I don’t remember about what specifically, but at some point in that conversation his tone and attitude flipped. He said something about my friend Melanie and then punched me in the mouth. I blacked out quickly after this but remember being kicked in the body multiple times, I believe by all three men.

Shortly afterwards I regained consciousness and instantly realised one of my front teeth was broken. I have spent my whole adult life campaigning for LGBT+ equality and did not take this attack lightly. I can not say for 100% that this was because I was gay but I can’t think of any other justification for this random attack. In a moment of devastation, anger and blind rage I kicked the wing mirror of the attacker’s car until it broke and then ripped it off with my hands. I also scratched the front of the car with the broken wing mirror before returning back to The Abbey for help.

I approached the first people I found, two girls, and told them what had happened. I was hysterical and just wanted help. They comforted me but weren’t sure how to help so I called my friend Riyadh. I explained what had happened, in full, and there should be a record of this phone call. He told me to meet him outside the abbey entrance where I found them and collapsed on the ground in tears while they comforted me. I asked them to call the police and Riyadh did immediately. There should also be a record of this phone call. The police arrived in less than five minutes and were very helpful at this time. They allowed me some time and space to calm down before talking to me and getting my story. I told them everything and told them I vandalised the vehicle. I showed them the wing mirror which I still had with me. I believe this was kept by The Abbey staff security. I did not think that under the circumstances that I would be treated as a criminal and I suggested bringing the police to the vehicle so that they could take the registration and find the owner to prosecute him.

I got in the police car with my friend Doug who was comforting me and Melanie and Riyadh followed behind. We found the vehicle immediately and after speaking on their phones and radios for a few minutes the police asked me again if it was me who damaged the car. I again confirmed that I had done it and the female police officer said, “I’m sorry, but I have no choice but to do this,” and reached for her handcuffs. I said I understood and immediately put my hands behind my back so that she could handcuff me and put me in the back of the vehicle. They then confiscated my belongings and wouldn’t let me talk to my friends any longer. I asked the female police officer to come and talk to me, and she did, where I explained again what had happened and asked why I was being treated as the criminal. She apologised but said that she did not believe I had been attacked due to the lack of physical injuries on my face. This caused me to break down again and they allowed my friend Doug to comfort me briefly before I was taken away to the police station.

At the station I was put into a holding cell where I asked to speak to a medical professional, a councillor, my parents, my friends, a lawyer, for a phone call, or to be transferred to a hospital but they wouldn’t let me.

I was understandably shaken, upset, and terrified. I kept asking what was going to happen to me and what was going on but nobody would tell me. I was in tears and visibly shaking and clearly in need of support but was given none.

My father eventually called the station and I could hear them speaking to him on the phone. I pleaded with them to let me speak with him but they wouldn’t allow me to. They were asking him to pay $20,000 to release me otherwise I’d have to stay in jail until my court case. I did not understand this was bail or how bail worked and I freaked out. I knew he would pay it and couldn’t allow him to do that. In a moment of desperation to get out of the cell, I took the pay phone off the wall and hit myself once across the forehead with it as hard as I could. I knew I had to injure myself to get out of the cell and into a hospital, and it was the only solution I could find to get myself out of there. This is incredibly out of character for me and is testament to how upset I was in that moment. I do not regret doing this as I could still be in the jail cell if I didn’t.

I blacked out again and woke up in a pool of my own blood with paramedics helping me onto a stretcher. The female officer I had spoke to earlier was there and I said “I don’t like you,” because I hoped she would have been the one to help me or give me support. I could tell she felt sympathetic but was unable to help. I didn’t see her again after that.

From there I was put into an ambulance and taken to hospital. There I was assigned a psychiatrist who was wonderfully kind and supportive. I told him the story and he was both sympathetic and understanding. I could tell that he believed me. I told him that I only hurt myself to get out of the jail cell and he confirmed that he thought that under the circumstances it was the best thing I could have done. I wish I knew his name because he was the person that stopped me losing it altogether in a crisis.

I was given stitches and had my body examined and my injuries photographed. I was later allowed to be released but given paperwork to appear in court at 8:30am on June 29th.

I left the hospital and got into a cab to the hotel where me and my friends were staying. They took me for breakfast to help me calm down and when I tried to eat I felt a terrible pain in my mouth and realised two more of my teeth were broken.

We wrote down this whole story and emailed it to a friend of ours who is a lawyer. We have this email dated and time stamped. We were advised to say nothing about the arrest or the police on social media until after the court case. Several of my followers reached out as they were worried after seeing snapchats from Riyadh and Melanie of the night’s events. I decided to post on Instagram to tell them that I’d been attacked, that I was okay, and that I would give the full story as soon as I could.

I attended court this morning, June 29th, but there was no record of my case on file. We’re going back later to try and resolve this fully.

I’m heartbroken about the events and these have been the worst few days of my life. Many people are trying to discredit my story but this is the full and entire truth. Just because there were no visible marks on my face does not mean I was not attacked. Being accused of being a liar and being called a disgrace to the LGBT+ community, a community I’ve dedicated my life to, is more painful than any hate crime could ever be.

I do not blame the individual police officers for what happened. They were just doing their jobs. I believe they genuinely believed I had not been attacked. I find it shocking, however, that there is not a system in place to protect victims. Victims should be given the benefit of the doubt and allowed immediate medical advice and council in a crisis.

The injuries sustained from the attack were as follows:
– Three broken teeth
– Cut and bruise on my collar bone (visible in the mug shot)
– Bruising to my left arm and shoulder, barely visible, but unable to raise arm fully
– Bruising on my right wrist
– Minor scrapes on body

The injuries sustained in the holding cell:
– One wound to the forehead which required six stitches

Thank you for those that believed me from the start. Your support has been the only thing that has gotten me and my friends through this nightmare of a situation. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

You can read the account of the night from Calum’s friend Melanie Murphy, below.  

Last Sunday I experienced the scariest night of my life to date, and although I’ve been advised by my lawyer to avoid going into too much detail or filming a video at this time about the night’s events, I’d like to recount my basic memories and experiences of what happened in support of my good friend Calum McSwiggan, who I’ve known for over a year now.

I stayed in a room with Calum and another friend of ours during VidCon in LA, during which we had an amazing time…lots of fun, and security was super tight (after the recent shooting of a fellow YouTuber and the Orlando shooting). We felt very safe and secure during our entire stay in LA.

Still on a high after VidCon myself, Calum and our YouTube/LGBT friends Riyadh K and Doug Armstrong wanted to celebrate the end to a successful crazy week by going out together so we booked into a hotel and got ready to go out to The Abbey gay bar in West Hollywood. I snapchatted as usual throughout this entire process.

We had a super fun night. I had two drinks, and snapchatted this while outside waiting on the boys to leave and go home. The boys had a few drinks each. Then suddenly, Riyadh, our friend, ran up to me as I was about to snapchat again from the pavement outside the club, stating that Calum called him crying uncontrollably saying he’d just been attacked. There is record of this phone call. Cal had been absolutely fine about 20-30 minutes before. So we weren’t there during the attack, but it happened in a very public car park, so we’re certain there’ll be CCTV footage, and we believe him.

After Riyadh told me about the call I tried to put my phone away and quickly spotted Doug comforting Cal a few metres away, they were surrounded by women who were worried. Riyadh and I instantly ran over to hug him, he was inconsolable and howling crying, screaming expletives about the people that did it to him. He told us through tears (constantly grabbing his mouth saying they fractured his teeth) that he’d left The Abbey with a man who brought him to a parking lot about a 30 second walk from the nightclub where he then unexpectedly hit him in the face and two other friends joined and kicked him in the body. He now has bruising on his body (there’s pictures with his tattoos visible), he aches all over and two days later he couldn’t even raise his arm.

Calum remembers the attacker saying my name a couple of times, which worries us because it means the guy knew of us somehow and that the attack may have been pre-meditated, though we don’t know at all why he knew my name so we can’t make assumptions. We only spoke to one person in the club (who we knew) so it’s not a case of us having met this guy before. All four of us had posted on social media that we were going for a night out in LA previous to the attack, which in hindsight was a terrible idea and something we’ve all learned from.

After the attack, Calum states that he was left slumped by a white car that Calum believes to have been the attacker’s car (he has faint memories of one or more of the three men entering and exiting this vehicle). Calum said he got up and in a blind rage of fear and anger he ripped the wing mirror off the car and brought it with him back to The Abbey where we found him, he was waving it about and crying when I first spotted him. Riyadh then called 911 (again a record of this call exists), Calum was happy to show the police what he’d done to the car as he knew he had to report the attack. I snapchatted in a tipsy and very upset state about this too and I have these videos saved.

The police took us back to the parking lot where the incident occurred and while they were checking the plate and on the radio, one of the cops cuffed Calum and put him in the car for vandalism of the white car with the missing wind mirror (that Cal states is the car of the attackers). Cal asked the cops if he could get out to urinate, they said no. He then remained sitting in the car for about an hour, during which time Doug Riyadh and I waited and spoke to them to try to understand what was going to happen and why the vandalism was now taking precedence over the attack. They were very helpful but they didn’t seem to believe he’d been attacked because he had no physical wounds on his face.

However, after the police took Calum away to the WEHO police station a lot more happened (Cal informed us that on his end of the night, he was put in a cell and refused basic rights such as right to an attorney, to a toilet, water or a phone call for hours, so in desperation to get out of the cell (he has claustrophobia) he used a phone on the wall to knock himself out – the police were speaking to his parents on the phone about the bail money and Cal didn’t want his parents to have to pay it. He knew harming himself would get him moved to a hospital and able to speak to a medical professional/counsellor. Calum woke to find himself being lifted away and into an ambulance…apparently the hospital staff told Cal’s parents on the phone that it was the best thing he could have done as he would have been kept in the cell for days and we’re only here on holiday).

Meanwhile, Doug, Riyadh and I were still in the parking lot taking pictures of the car and in shock when, after about two minutes of the police leaving, three men approached the vehicle. They were acting very erratic and already knew the car had been damaged before looking at it, and had been watching us speaking to the police. We took turns pretending to be on our phones to record these men and we have dated phone footage of the car and the three men by the car/things they were saying. The car owner was consistently punching his fists together and said he would shoot Calum for touching his car. Riyadh asked if he had a gun and he said he had one in the car. He then flipped into a friendly mode and asked us to have shots of vodka with him and the two other guys he was with, and tried to get us to enter the vehicle and “go to a party” with them. He said he had taken cocaine and wanted to sell us some of that and other drugs, to which we declined. He then got erratic again and started shouting and telling his friends to get in the car because they “had to leave”. The two other males were very nervous and seemed as shaken as we were. They were asking questions about Calum and asking what we told the police that the attackers looked like, which we also have on video, and we have audio (dated also) of the car owner saying “I’m not gonna come at you with my fists bro, I’m gonna come at you with my gun”. We got their names from one of the three men, but because there is no absolute proof that these are the guys (even though Cal saw the footage and said he was 99% sure it was the main guy) Cal isn’t pressing charges out of fear – the cops stated that even if they could find who did it that they’d likely only get a couple of weeks in jail, and they said stuff likes this happens every night of the week. The car owner tried to get us into the car one more time and then began beeping the horn and punching his wheel to get the other friends of his into the vehicle. They then drove away at speed.

Calum stayed at the hospital overnight getting checked up, and was then released at approx 9am the next morning. He had a court summons for today (Wednesday morning June 29th) but when we arrived his name wasn’t down, so we’re waiting to find out what is going on.

All of this was sent in an e-mail to a lawyer the morning after the attack, before any police statements had been made or any news articles had been posted – that e-mail is dated with the time as proof that none of this story was fabricated.

This is everything that I experienced and everything I was informed by Cal (which I absolutely believe). If there’s anything we can take away from this horrible story it is to ALWAYS be safe and never ever leave clubs with strangers or without friends, that violence and gun threats are NOT OKAY and that the police are extremely overworked so the system needs to be looked at more closely. Also, that just because somebody isn’t covered in movie-esque bruising with a nose gushing with blood doesn’t mean they weren’t attacked. Think of all of the children who are abused daily and go to school without visible marks. Cal has been accused of making this up, which makes absolutely zero sense and is a disgrace – victim blaming is a huge problem. And all of that could be down to one misquote. Anyone who knows the guy knows how sweet and quiet and loyal and trustworthy a person he is. I’d trust him with my life and I believe him 100%. That is all I have to say for now xxx

The post Gay Vlogger Calum McSwiggan: ‘I Did Not Fake a Hate Crime’ appeared first on Towleroad.

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