A British YouTube personality has ben charged with vandalism after he falsely claimed he had been attacked by three men in West Hollywood, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.
The incident occurred on June 26 outside of The Abbey and Calum McSwiggan later posted a photo of himself on Instagram on a hospital bed with a bandage on his head.
“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,” McSwiggan wrote in the post.
McSwiggan talks about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues on YouTube, according to the BBC.
After being charged McSwiggan took to Facebook and said that while he had caused his injury that required stitches, he insisted that he was attacked, though his memory of the incident was “hazy.”
“Just because there were no visible marks on my face does not mean I was not attacked,” he wrote. “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,” he wrote.
Prosecutors allege that McSwiggan damaged the mirror and bumper of a car and then falsely reported to police that he had been beaten by the vehicle’s owner and two other men.
The original case was dismissed, but a new felony case was filed and McSwiggan was charged on suspicion of vandalism over $400 and a misdemeanor count of making a false report to a peace officer. He pleaded not guilty on Monday.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 7 and he faces a possible maximum sentence of three years and six months in jail if convicted, officials said.
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 YouTube friends 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. UPDATE: I've posted a full statement of the night's events on my Facebook page.