YouTube star charged with filing false police report after saying he was beaten near WeHo gay club
An openly gay YouTube star who said he was brutally assaulted by three men in West Hollywood was charged Wednesday with filing a false police report.
Los Angeles County prosecutors allege that Calum McSwiggan, known by thousands of fans for his YouTube channel on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, lied when he told sheriff’s deputies that he was beaten early Monday.
McSwiggan, a resident of London who was visiting Southern California, appeared in Los Angeles County Superior Court and pleaded not guilty to the charge. If convicted, he faces up to 364 days in county jail.
The charge marks the latest chapter in a drama that has played out on the online star’s social media platforms, which was followed by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department publicly releasing a statement and photo that rebutted McSwiggan’s allegations.
McSwiggan wrote in an Instagram post that after he visited a gay club, three men attacked him. He said he suffered three broken teeth and required six stitches in his forehead.
“The authorities should have been there to help and protect me but instead they treated me like a second class citizen,” McSwiggan wrote in his post, which showed him in a hospital with bandages affixed to his forehead.
“I’ve never felt so terrified to be a gay man in the public eye.”
The Sheriff’s Department confirmed that deputies responded early Monday to McSwiggan’s report of assault after leaving a West Hollywood nightclub. But deputies at the scene “were unable to substantiate the assault,” according to a statement.
Deputies then placed McSwiggan, 26, under arrest about 2:30 a.m. Monday on suspicion of vandalism of a car along Santa Monica Boulevard near Robertson Boulevard, in the heart of the city’s LGBT nightlife district, authorities said.
McSwiggan was booked on a count of vandalism with property damage greater than $400 and held in lieu of $20,000 bail, according to jail records.
Before being placed in his jail cell, deputies had McSwiggan stand for a booking photo, which appears to show no obvious injuries.
Once inside a solo jail cell, McSwiggan “was then observed injuring himself with the handle and receiver to a payphone,” sheriff’s officials said in a statement.
He was taken to the hospital for treatment. McSwiggan was released from custody just before 9:15 p.m. Monday with a citation to appear in court.
In a statement posted Wednesday to his Facebook page, McSwiggan provided more details about the alleged attack, saying that it occurred in a parking lot after he had left the Abbey. A man punched him, and he was later kicked; after regaining consciousness, he realized his teeth were broken.
“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,” McSwiggan wrote. He later returned to the Abbey, reunited with his friends and contacted police.
McSwiggan said he told deputies about the attack and acknowledged vandalizing the car. A deputy told him that she did not believe his story of being attacked since he had no physical injuries on his face, he wrote.
“Just because there were no visible marks on my face does not mean I was not attacked,” McSwiggan said.
Inside the jail cell, he wrote, he hit himself in order to be transferred to the hospital.
“It was the only solution I could find to get myself out of there,” he wrote. “This is incredibly out of character for me and is testament to how upset I was in that moment.”
McSwiggan’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 19.
For more news in California, follow @MattHjourno on Twitter.
June 29, 6:46 p.m.: This article was updated with details from McSwiggan’s arraignment and additional comments from an online statement.
June 29, 3:02 p.m.: This article was updated to add that prosecutors have filed a misdemeanor charge against Calum McSwiggan.
This article was originally published June 28 at 10:38 p.m.
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