Gay YouTuber Calum McSwiggan claimed he was attacked in a hate crime in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, but police now say those claims are false.
The British vlogger, 26, was visiting Los Angeles to attend VidCon, an online content creator convention. While there, he and his friends went to The Abbey, a popular gay club in West Hollywood. That night, McSwiggan uploaded a photo of himself in the hospital saying he had been attacked outside the club by three men.
He claimed the attack resulted in three broken teeth and six stitches on his forehead. McSwiggan also accused police of not helping and making him feel like a “second class citizen.” His friend, fellow YouTuber Riyadh Khalaf, backed up McSwiggan’s claim tweeting McSwiggan had been attacked after being separated from his friends.
“I’ve never felt so terrified to be a gay man in the public eye,” McSwiggan wrote in the Instagram caption.
Police have responded saying that McSwiggan was arrested for vandalizing a car outside the club. Holly M. Perez, captain of the West Hollywood Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, told The Advocate McSwiggan had no “visible injuries” upon his arrest. His mugshot also shows no apparent injuries.
Perez told The Advocate that McSwiggan was placed in a cell alone where he was “observed injuring himself with the handle and receiver to a payphone inside the cell.” McSwiggan was then taken to the hospital where he uploaded the photo to Instagram.
McSwiggan took to Twitter to defend his claims writing “I’ve been told to say nothing before court tomorrow but staying silent here is killing us. If you’re a friend just DM me for the truth.”
Khalaf also still says the attack happened tweeting “I’m not commenting until tomorrow when we know more and can legally speak. I saw Cal screaming crying after the attack. He didn’t fake it.”
McSwiggan has more than 60,000 subscribers and posts videos about sex and mental health, among other topics.
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.