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Wondering “how those two folks are going to sleep at night”

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:00 am - October 1, 2010.
Filed under: Academia,Gay America

There are few things more despicable than individuals who, for personal gain or sport or merely their own edification, would make public the private lives of others.  They take advantage of others for a laugh, or maybe a bet or for their own sense of self-righteousness, to show how much “better” than they are than others.

They don’t think about the human being whose private life they invade and exploit.

Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi “leaped to his death after his roommate allegedly secretly filmed him during a ‘sexual encounter’ with a man and posted it live on the Internet.”  Why would this one young man want to make public the private life of his roommate?  Did he think people would like him more if he streamed live footage of a young gay man’s private sexual activities on the web?

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gets it

As the father of a 17-year-old…I can’t imagine what those parents are feeling today, I can’t. You send your son to school to get an education with great hopes and aspirations, and I can’t imagine what those parents are feeling today. . . .  There might be some people who can take that type of treatment and deal with it, and there might be others, as this young man obviously was, who was much more greatly affected by it. . . .  I have to tell you, I don’t know how those two folks are going to sleep at night, knowing that they contributed to driving that young man to that alternative.

Exactly.  Exactly.

These two probably just thought they were pulling a prank, but they didn’t consider consider the feelings of Clementi.  He was so young and while ready to act out his feeling for men, not yet ready to have his sexuality made public.  It takes time to deal with the public ramifications of our difference.  Not just that, even when we are comfortable with our sexuality, our private life is just that, private life.  Many of us, not just a 18-year-old just coming to terms with his difference, would be embarrassed if strangers, friends even, witnessed our sexual activity.  It is the most private, the most personal of things.

Commenting on this story about the incident, Sonicfrog recalls his own struggles as he reads about this young man’s death:

This brings back some of the pains of my own struggles against myself. It wasn’t until I was out of college that I could say the words “I’m gay” out loud. Some of the comments posted below the story makes me want to puke. And you wonder why many young gay people still find it so gut-wrenchingly difficult to accept who they are and what they feel.

The students who posted the video did not mean to push this young man to take his own life.  They probably didn’t even consider the consequences.  They were entirely indifferent to his feelings.  They have now been charged with invasion of privacy.

May their punishment be so severe so as to deter anyone else from pulling such a cruel prank.



  1. Livewire, that’s all true, but the reality is there is a good chance that the videotapers will pay receive a much higher penalty because of Tyler’s suicide. I also suspect that if they have any consciences they will feel like big pieces of crap for a long time.

    Comment by Pat — October 1, 2010 @ 4:13 pm - October 1, 2010

  2. “Livewire, that’s all true, but the reality is there is a good chance that the videotapers will pay receive a much higher penalty because of Tyler’s suicide. I also suspect that if they have any consciences they will feel like big pieces of crap for a long time.”

    Actually Pat, knowing the seedy side of Hollywood subculture, my hunch is that someone has already approached the two Rutgers students for either film rights or asked them to consider a reality TV show –maybe something crass like “Can You Make Me Cry” or “Pushing the Edge”?

    Sociopaths don’t have consciences… they can’t feel guilt.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — October 1, 2010 @ 4:25 pm - October 1, 2010

  3. What this victim was denied is the right to determine his own fate.

    Except that he determined his own fate. He could have chosen that it wasn’t worth dying over and deal with the kerfuffle as best as he could. He drove himself to the bridge and jumped off.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — October 1, 2010 @ 4:59 pm - October 1, 2010

  4. “This lad did not kill himself because……”



    His privacy is his own private property! We will use deadly force to protect their private property, and we have every right to. The victim is not reacting to the rejection of a lover. He is reacting to something he should have 100% authority over.

    Someone took his authority away from him. It doesn’t matter what he was trying to keep private.

    Had the victim reacted differently, would we feel the same way? Had the victim instead decided to go on a shooting rampage, would we consider the resulting deaths to be ‘unintended consequences’ of a simple prank?

    Comment by gastorgrab — October 1, 2010 @ 5:06 pm - October 1, 2010

  5. gatrograb,

    I would. Again, suicide, shooting spree, or going on Oprah, it’s the result if HIS actions in reaction to having his privacy violated. If he had gone on to become a passionate advocate for gay rights, would we still ‘blame’ the two jerks with the camera for that?

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 1, 2010 @ 5:14 pm - October 1, 2010

  6. 18.One thing that should be considered: a closeted individual fears being put into the spotlight. the shame, fear, anguish, embarassment, sense of being alienated and all the other ugliness that comes with the closet paralyzes, confuses, and even cause disjointed-irrational thinking and decision making.

    When closeted folk are pushed up against a wall, those pushing understand this fear, they understand that there may not be any repurcussions/consequences for ‘ who is the person going to tell?’

    Many LGBT folk who have been harassed often feel powerless to report the attacks/the harassment for it could lead to futher disclosure.

    Who was Tyler going to tell about a viral video without having to disclose more information. and report about the ‘romantic-private encounter’

    repost from The real punishment for the Clementi pranksters

    Comment by rusty — October 1, 2010 @ 5:24 pm - October 1, 2010

  7. Well again, i don’t believe this is a Gay issue…..even though the subject is Gay.

    This is about privacy. This is about each person being his own sovereign entity, and having full authority over what the courts have declared to be a person’s own private domain.

    It doesn’t matter what his secret is, or why he wants to keep it secret.

    If he goes on a shooting spree, it would be because of his loss of respect for the system that lost respect in him, as an individual.

    Comment by gastorgrab — October 1, 2010 @ 5:41 pm - October 1, 2010

  8. Gastorgrab, this most certainly IS a gay issue to a very great extent. I don’t know if you are gay, but if you are, you should know that “coming out” can be a difficult, traumatic, and extended process, depending upon the individual and their background. Hell, if you’re straight and commenting on a gay oriented blog, you should know that, but I suspect that you don’t want to know it. When was the last time you heard about anyone having a traumatic experience coming out as a heterosexual?

    And Ryan (#8), you are obviously blinded by your loathing of liberals. The fact is that 100% of the organized opposition against gay equality is Fundamentalist Christian-based. And another fact is that Fundamentalist Christians are overwhelmingly aligned with the Republican party. So if you put the facts together, you’ll find that the overwhelming amount of gay-bashing and bullying comes from the Conservative Right.

    Comment by Richard R — October 1, 2010 @ 7:38 pm - October 1, 2010

  9. TGC, de mortuis nil nisi bonum. Wether or not he’s anti gay was never part of my arguement. the idea that his ‘excitedness’ or ‘pride’ that you pointed to was what offended me. as was calling him a pussy for killing himself. don’t sh*t on the dead. they can’t defend themselves.

    Comment by hemonade — October 1, 2010 @ 7:52 pm - October 1, 2010

  10. This is an absolutely horrible story. When I read this story, I thought how cruel. They thought they were being funny. To tape this young man’s private life is truly obscene. I know at 18, I wasn’t near coming out. In fact, it took until I was in my mid-20’s when I was really confident in myself to come out. Freshman year is already tough as it is. I don’t believe this should be considered a “hate crime”. I think that legislation is ridiculous on its face. I do believe they should be expelled and ostracized for what they did. They will never live this down, ever.

    Comment by Scherie — October 1, 2010 @ 9:28 pm - October 1, 2010

  11. So… Richard,

    Would it still be a hate crime if it was a young woman with a man and she killed herself? Why not?

    And please explain John Edwards, or how the ‘pro-gay’ democrats are progay for being for SSM, DADT, and destroying plans with domestic partner benefits, like with McDonalds.

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 1, 2010 @ 10:33 pm - October 1, 2010

  12. Sure RIchard, whatever helps you sleep at night; but I can’t help but notice that its usually Democrats who pull out “My opponent is secretly gay” as an attack in campaigns. I mean, look at all the vitriol that Mehlman suffered from the right coming out. I mean, it was just such a FIRESTORM of condemnation> Sort of like the alleged firestorm of consternation and hate about Dick Cheany’s daughter. And the condemnation and rejection in right leaning circles of Tammy Bruce. Wait, you say, You mean none of those actually ever happened? The Deuce you say! Wow! I never could have imagined. And the problem is, Richard, in what you define – and liberals in general define – as equality which usually is in no wise actually equal, but instead consists of giving special privilege to favored minority groups. Add to that that, anyway, I am an economic conservative and a complete social libertarian to the point of “As long as you are not harming another through force or fraud I don’t CARE” and you are barking up the wrong tree by a country mile. I don’t give a rats *** what two consenting adults do with eachother in private. Moreover, why don’t you address the actual content of my post? The lowering of boundaries I am talking about have absolutely zero to do with the sexual orientation of the people in question, but with the perpetrators feeling COMFORTABLE being such rank bastards in the first place and not respecting the VICTIM’S PRIVACY. And I am sorry, but no matter how much you want to WHINE about it that lowering of the boundaries of common decency is a direct line result of the favored-by-liberals “Anything goes” “Moral relativism”. When you teach that there are no absolutes, why the hell would those students have any reason to show basic respect for other human beings? Furthermore, I would bet dollars to donuts that the people posting the video were supporters of Barak Obama, and I would further wager that you aren’t going to find them belonging to the Young Republicans or to after school Bible study.

    Also, if you want the history of prejudice within the democratic party, institutionalized prejudice, throughout the history of the USA go right ahead and be my guest, because it is not at ALL a pretty sight when you start getting to actual statements, votes, and the political parties of those who cast them and made the statements.

    Comment by Ryan — October 1, 2010 @ 10:49 pm - October 1, 2010

  13. After thinking about it for a while, i’ve decided that i confused the standards of proof for ‘civil damages’ with that of ‘criminal charges’. It doesn’t matter how malicious these two acted. There was no specific intent to cause anything other than extreme embarrassment.

    In some cases, the difference between murder and attempted murder, has to do with the skill of the attacker. The intent is the same in both cases. The penalty for ‘intent to kill’ is based on the outcome (whether or not the attacker was successful). The difference between this case and a standard murder case, is that there is no ‘proof of intent’ to cause bodily harm. It’s not even close. It’s also not reasonable that the ‘accused’ could have predicted the eventual outcome.

    The only crime committed is the invasion of the victims privacy.

    The civil damages are another matter entirely. The standard of proof is much lower.


    I’m still not convinced that this is a purely Gay issue. It could happen if any secret that someone desperately worked to protect.

    Comment by gastorgrab — October 1, 2010 @ 11:32 pm - October 1, 2010

  14. Sure RIchard, whatever helps you sleep at night; but I can’t help but notice that its usually Democrats who pull out “My opponent is secretly gay” as an attack in campaigns.

    You mean like Democrat Christine O’Donnell… Oh, wait.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — October 2, 2010 @ 2:26 am - October 2, 2010

  15. as was calling him a pussy for killing himself. don’t sh*t on the dead. they can’t defend themselves.

    Maybe you have some shit in your eyes because I quite clearly did not. Wipe that shit out of your eyes and try again.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — October 2, 2010 @ 3:11 am - October 2, 2010

  16. Richard, perhaps you have some sort of mental disorder that makes you mistake an anecdote for proof?

    And I notice you didn’t even make a slight attempt to address the rest of it. .wonder why?

    Comment by Ryan — October 2, 2010 @ 8:39 pm - October 2, 2010

  17. This is horrible.

    Comment by papamishka — October 3, 2010 @ 7:01 am - October 3, 2010

  18. Ryan,

    When I read your first response (#62) I thought to myself, “Wow, Ryan, that was like a long loud belch. I hope you feel better.”

    Then when I read your next one (#66) I thought to myself, “Oh my, Ryan gets really pissy when he’s not getting attention.”

    But anyway:

    You said, “. . . equality which usually is in no wise actually equal, but instead consists of giving special privilege to favored minority groups.”

    I’ve been around long enough to know that is code-speak for, “My superior status, which brings me special entitlements and freedoms, is threatened when inferior people are treated as my equal.”

    You said, “I don’t give a rats *** what two consenting adults do with eachother in private.”

    I’ve also been around long enough to know that the next sentence is usually something like, “Just don’t shove your disgusting behavior down our throats by talking about it, holding hands in public, placing a photo of your partner on your office desk, or promoting the gay agenda by trying to stop the tormenting of gay kids in schools.”

    You said, “. . . lowering of the boundaries of common decency is a direct line result of the favored-by-liberals “Anything goes” “Moral relativism”.”

    That is insane. If anything, I think liberals are more likely to exhibit common decency, respect for others, and concern for the common good. For example, the horrible bullying of gay kids is actively promoted by the vast Religious Right, despite their obligatory lip-service in attempts to wash the blood off their hands. If they were as concerned about fully functioning human beings as they are about embryos, the USA would be vastly improved.

    So, at the end of the day, your comments only add to my impression that you are blinded by your loathing of liberals.

    Comment by Richard R — October 3, 2010 @ 2:34 pm - October 3, 2010

  19. So Richard assumes what was written, instead of what was actually written. Got it.

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 3, 2010 @ 9:14 pm - October 3, 2010

  20. Ok Richard. Sure. Just watch five minutes of the “AMerica COming together Rally” And compare and contrast and get back to me.

    You know, its truly easy, Richard, for you to ‘win’ and argument when you supply both the position of the person you are arguing with and your own response to it. Straw man much? Go right ahead and argue with yourself, Richard, because that is all you are doing.

    Comment by Ryan — October 3, 2010 @ 10:11 pm - October 3, 2010

  21. Besides, even if I DIDN’T want to see it in public, my governmental leanings on that are “That just sucks to be me then.” Just like I don’t think you, as a Gay, have a right to force other people to approve of your views, I don’t think the opposite side has the right to force you to approve of and accede to their views – again, presuming force or fraud are not involved. Its funny, but I think you can be perfectly affectionate in public, gay or straight, without engaging in ‘Disgusting behavior’. Were you planning on engaging in ‘disgusting behavior’? I wouldn’t want to see a guy frenching a girl in public all that much, and by the same token I wouldn’t want to see a guy frenching a guy either in public.

    As to pictures, why the heck would I care what picture you have on your desk? They are there for your benefit, not mine. You really have no clue, Richard, about what a true libertarian view of tolerance is, do you?

    Comment by Ryan — October 3, 2010 @ 10:21 pm - October 3, 2010

  22. In my comment #35 I said mare questions need to be asked. I hope that before this matter is closed we will have answers to those questions.

    Comment by Roberto — October 4, 2010 @ 11:08 am - October 4, 2010

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