Calum McSwiggan. Say it with me, now: Calum McSwiggan. It’s a fun name—Calllummm McSwigggggannnn—but I’m hoping this post marks the last time I ever have to write about him because his recent scandal has gone from a semi-satisfying bit of schadenfreude to a bleak snapshot of a very particular slice of popular culture.
In case you don’t remember—or if you saw the word “YouTuber” in a headline and immediately went comatose—a sort of popular YouTube star named CALUM MCSWIGGAN claimed he was the victim of a hate crime last weekend in Los Angeles. In an Instagram post, he wrote:
[I was] 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.
The LAPD quickly cried foul, and issued a statement saying they arrested McSwiggan that night for vandalizing a car, and later saw him “hitting himself with the handle and receiver of a pay phone at the jail,” after which they took him to the hospital. He was then, according to The New York Times, “charged with a misdemeanor count of false report of a criminal offense.”
But McSwiggan is still sticking to his original story. In a Facebook post, he gave a very long and detailed account of the entire night which I will try to sum up in a single sentence:
He went to The Abbey, was beaten up for being gay, blacked out, woke up, vandalized the attackers’ car as revenge, was arrested for vandalizing the car, hit himself with the prison pay phone in order to be given medical care for his other injuries, blacked out, was sent to the hospital, and was eventually released.
But his and the LAPD’s aren’t the only accounts of the incident. A man named Damien Nichols claims to have witnessed the whole thing, and allegedly wrote on Facebook that McSwiggans was drunk, “needs to apologize for crying wolf,” and that his entire story is “BS.”
McSwiggan is scheduled to appear in court on July 19.
Images via screengrab, the Los Angeles Police Department.