Calum McSwiggan, an openly gay YouTube personality, was charged with filing a false police report after claiming he was attacked by three men outside a nightclub in West Hollywood, according to the Los Angeles County Police.
The 26-year-old, who is a popular vlogger on social media for discussing LGBTQ issues, appeared in a Los Angeles County superior court Wednesday where he pleaded not guilty to the charge, according to the Los Angeles Times.
McSwiggan posted a photo to his Instagram account Tuesday showing him in a hospital bed with a bandage on his head and characterized the attack as hate crime.
“Last night was the worst night of my life and I’m really struggling to find the words to talk about it,” he wrote, describing how he was beaten up by three guys outside a gay nightclub after being separated from his friends.
“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,” McSwiggan wrote. “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.
Police, however, said they found no evidence of the alleged assault and charged him with filing a false report.
“Responding deputies were unable to substantiate the assault,” the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said in statement obtained by the BBC.
When officers arrived on scene at the nightclub, police found McSwiggan, “who had no visible injuries,” vandalizing a car and arrested him.
Police allege that after being put in a cell, he inflicted several injuries on himself using a payphone.
“Mr. McSwiggan was observed injuring himself with the handle and receiver to a payphone inside the cell,” police said.
“Medical personnel were summoned and Mr. McSwiggan was transported to a local hospital for treatment. Mr. McSwiggan’s booking photo was taken prior to deputies seeing Mr. McSwiggan injuring himself.”
In a statement posted Wednesday to his Facebook page, McSwiggan provided more details about the alleged attack, saying he vandalized the car after being punched and kicked by at least one man in a parking lot outside the nightclub.
“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 said that after the attack he returned to the nightclub where he found his friends and called police.
McSwiggan said he told deputies about the attack and acknowledged vandalizing the car.
“She apologised but said that she did not believe I had been attacked due to the lack of physical injuries on my face,” McSwiggan wrote.
“Just because there were no visible marks on my face does not mean I was not attacked.”
McSwiggan said he injured himself in order to be sent to the hospital.
“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.”
According to the Times, he is scheduled to appear in court again on July 19 and could face up to a year in jail if convicted.