John Mateer, 19, visited Penn State University over the weekend. During his visit, he encountered a man who claimed to have told John that he hated gay people. John then told the man that he was gay, resulting in a violent beating. John filed a police report and posted a picture of his injuries to Twitter, where he claimed that the deed was done by a “frat guy.”
The tweet went viral.
Don't let a frat guy know that you're gay. pic.twitter.com/meCpEyymik
— John (@itsJohn718) October 4, 2015
The Inside Edition reported that State College police began an investigation into the matter to identify the suspect. Late last night, State College PD was able to identify him, and surprise, it turns out the culprit of this hate crime was, in fact, not a member of a fraternity.
Victim has reported to police the assault first reported yesterday via social media. Suspect identified and is NOT a PSU fraternity member.
— State College Police (@StateCollegePD) October 6, 2015
It’s abhorrent that John was physically attacked for claiming he was gay. However, his tweet was reckless. And unfortunately, the 12,000+ people who retweeted it, and the many, many more who came across it, will not see the follow-up story and will go on believing the claim in the tweet as fact. Something saying “Don’t let a guy who hates gays know that you’re gay” would have been just as effective.
Not every guy in khakis and a polo is a fraternity member, and, believe it or not, not all prejudiced thinking and behavior is confined within fraternity house walls. Crazy, I know..
[via The Inside Edition]
Image via Google Maps