Calum McSwiggan, the gay British YouTube sensation whose allegation that he was assaulted after leaving a WeHo gay nightspot made him a minor media sensation, was charged today at LAX Courthouse with filing a false police report.
That charge is in addition to charges filed by West Hollywood Sheriff’s deputies of vandalizing a car in the 8900 block of Santa Monica Boulevard. He was released Monday morning on $20,000 bail.
McSwiggan posted a claim on his Facebook page that he had been assaulted by three men after leaving The Abbey on Robertson Boulevard in the early hours of Monday morning. This past weekend he had attended VicCon, an online video convention, in Anaheim.
“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,” McSwiggan said in his Facebook post
“The authorities should have been there to help and protect me but instead they treated me like a second class citizen,” McSwiggan said on Facebook. “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.”
However deputies reported that they discovered McSwiggan scratching the paint on someone’s car with a rearview mirror that he had torn off the car. McSwiggan had no evident cuts or bruises or signs of injury. They took him to the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station to book him on vandalism charges. While in a cell, McSwiggan attempted to beat himself with a payphone receiver and strangle himself with the phone cord. He was then taken to the hospital.
While friends of McSwiggan and others have described the incident as a gay hate crime, a friend who was with McSwiggan says McSwiggan was the one at fault.
The friend, Damien Nichols, texted WEHOville to say: “I saw the report about Calum. I was there, he was acting crazy, he stole a bottle from the Abbey, literally grabbed it from the bar and walked out.
“He kept picking fights, and he was acting completely out of his mind. He smashed up, and keyed my friend’s car, the only straight guy with us, who is completely accepting of us. He kept yelling and picking fights with my straight friend, who was really just not interested in his drama.
“This really upsets me, that someone would come to our town and cry wolf. Things are really happening out there, what happened Sunday night was just a dramatic boy crying out for attention.”
Today McSwiggan posted his own account of the incident on Facebook. He said he had been at The Abbey with “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.”
McSwiggan acknowledged that he hit himself with the payphone receiver while in the holding cell. “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,” he wrote. “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.”
McSwiggan is known for his online chronicles of the trials and tribulations of his life. Among other things, he has discussed his experience with depression. McSwiggan also has a large YouTube following, with more than 450,000 views of a video of him confessing and apologizing for appearing in a porn video.
McSwiggan’s allegation that he was beaten was been reported on gay sites such as Towleroad, the UK’s PinkNews and LGBTQ Nation. However many of those sites have now updated their stories with allegations that McCallum’s complaints are untrue. The incident also has been covered by newspapers such as the London’s Daily Mail, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Post.