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Tyler Clementi’s Final Facebook Status: “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry”

Jim Burroway

September 29th, 2010
Tyler Clementi

Tyler Clementi

Tyler Clementi, the eighteen-year-old Rutgers freshman who committed suicide after his roommate broadcast hidden camera videos on the Internet of Tyler having a sexual encounter in his dorm room, had changed his Facebook status to “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry” on Wednesday, September 22. Witnesses saw someone jump off of the George Washington Bridge on Wednesday evening at about 9:00 pm. Police found his wallet with his driver’s license and Rutgers I.D. on the bridge’s walkway, and his car, computer and cell phone were found nearby.

It has been a week since Tyler’s suicide, and his body had not been found. The New York Times tonight however is reporting that police say they have found the body of a young man in the Hudson River north of the bridge and were trying to identify it.

Dharun Ravi's Twitter feed, September 19-21

Dharun Ravi's Twitter feed, September 19-21 (Click to enlarge)

Tyler’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, and fellow Rutgers freshman, Molly Wei, have each been charged with two counts of invasion of privacy. Authorities charge that they used a hidden webcam to live stream a sexual encounter between Tyler and another man. Ravi had alerted people to the live stream via a Twitter post on September 19, saying “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.”

Ravi was charged with two additional counts of invasion of privacy for trying to set up another surreptitious broadcast on September 21, the day before Tyler’s suicide. He announced that attempt again on his Twitter feed, saying “”Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes it’s happening again.” That second attempt was unsuccessful. Ravi’s Twitter feed, which had 150 followers, has since been taken down.

Dharun Ravi (left), and Molly Wei (right)

Dharun Ravi (left), and Molly Wei (right)

Ravi surrendered to police on Tuesday and was released on $25,000 bail. Wei, who turned herself in on Monday, has been released on her own recognizance. Ravi and Wei both had been classmates together in high school. They now face up to five years imprisonment for each count.

The New York Times notes that Tyler’s death, in addition to the horrendous tragedy that it is, also represents a cruel irony:

The timing of the news was almost uncanny, coinciding with the start of “Project Civility” at Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey. Long in the planning, the campaign will involve panel discussions, lectures, workshops and other events intended to raise awareness about the importance of respect, compassion and courtesy in everyday interactions.

Events scheduled for this fall include a workshop for students and administrators on residential life on campus, called “Respect Resides at Rutgers,” and a panel discussion titled “Uncivil Gadgets? Changing Technologies and Civil Behavior.”

Tyler was an accomplished violinist who was attending Rutgers on a college scholarship from the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra for his musicianship and leadership. His family released a statement earlier today:

“Tyler was a fine young man, and a distinguished musician. The family is heartbroken beyond words. They respectfully request that they be given time to grieve their great loss and that their privacy at this painful time be respected by all.”

A memorial page for Tyler has been set up on Facebook. Nearly 6,000 people have joined the page as of 9:30 EST this evening.

Comments

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Lucrece
September 29th, 2010 | LINK

It’s really tragic, and I wonder what other torments he had, because it’s hard to believe a person would end his life for having been exposed while having sex.

Was he viciously bullied before the incident and after the livestream? Maybe he was closeted to many people and was terrified of the prospect of being found out?

And to think those two will see very little punishment relative to extinguishing a life.

Chris McCoy
September 29th, 2010 | LINK

I hope the Prosecution asks the Judge to include Hate Crime status to the offenses, on top of whatever other charges they are able to pursue.

This was clearly motivated by anti-gay animus.

Matt
September 30th, 2010 | LINK

Lucrece,

While nothing should spark someone to end their life, having a live broadcast of you having sex would probably make just about anyone think their life is over. Regardless of the sexualities involved.

Not everyone is an exhibitionist. Despite the large number of people showing themselves off on-line, the vast majority of people probably would be crushed to be surreptitiously filmed.

Frankly, I’m not sure what I would do in his situation–and I am 100% out.

justsearching
September 30th, 2010 | LINK

There was a NYT comment on this article that interested me. I’d be curious to hear other people’s comments on it.

“Consider whether your reaction would be the same if the headline read ‘Two Rutgers students broadcast film of boyfriend and girlfriend having sex; the young couple sues.’”

Is it clear that anti-gay animus was the motive for these two college students? Perhaps they were homophobic, or perhaps they were just immature inconsiderate college students taking advantage of the technology and circumstances around them. Were there other issues going on in the life of Tyler that these two knew about, or didn’t know about?

The end result was tragic, of course. But, in my opinion, we need to judge these two individuals based on the act they committed, their apparent motivations for committing this act, and the knowledge they had of Tyler’s situation. The last two of these three are still unknown to us.

Johnson
September 30th, 2010 | LINK

What a waste of a young life–Anti-gay Animus plain and simple. And the young Man’s family should hold these thugs Legally and FINANCIALLY responsible. That and only that will finally put an end to these despicable actions.

Matt
September 30th, 2010 | LINK

As I already mentioned, I frankly think that the same-sex angle here is not necessarily what sparked the suicide–pending further evidence.

I also do not think that the animus is clear at all. The Twitter cache doesn’t use defamatory language towards his roommate–it just comments that he was making out with a guy. No “OMG my roommate is a f*****, now I have to move” or the like.

The idiot may be homophobic, but it’s not clear that was his motive. I think he’s just an extremely immature a**hole.

Richard Rush
September 30th, 2010 | LINK

I was ready to post the following comment last night, but chose not to, but now I’ve reconsidered. I have been consumed with a combination of sadness and rage in response to these recent suicides.

——————

As most of us already know, there are no limits to the depths of human depravity. I just went to the Facebook memorial page where I spotted this:

[By] Bill Jenkins: Oh, Tyler. I wish I believed in Hell so you would be burning there for eternity.

I guess I’ll just take solace in the fact that you are going to be stuffed into a casket, buried into the ground and take up otherwise decent real estate. Damn. I guess I can’t even take solace in that.

I hope they torch the remains.

This is the creep (Bill Jenkins) who posted the comment.
[update: it appears that his Facebook page has been removed]

Steve
September 30th, 2010 | LINK

This story, along with the other recent suicides of young people who were bullied for being gay, really struck a chord with me.
We keep hearing of how younger people are now more tolerant and accepting of gays. That may be partly true but….
There seems to be a rash of young people lately killing themselves as a result of being gay and having to suffer harrassment from other young people.
The burgeoning phrase that one often hears now among both young and some older people “that’s so gay” is offensive and suggests tolerance is not on the rise.
I really think that rightly or wrongly part of human nature, especially in children, is to pick on those who are different. I like to think that we are different than the barnyard chicken flock that mercilessly will peck a newcomer chicken to death because that chicken has a different color, a different comb, or whatever. At times it looks like humans are are no more advanced when it comes to tolerance for those who are different.
Finally, I get tired of the Glenn Becks, the Rush Limbaughs, and all their ilk suggesting that bullying is a natural part of growing up and that it builds character.
So what does Focus on the Family have to say now? They were spouting off just a few weeks ago and trying to water down anti-bullying efforts under the guise that gay people were pushing an agenda. Have they sent out any sympathy cards to the dead gay teens or to the parents of this college student?

JER0EN R0LAND
March 10th, 2011 | LINK

what are the danger of cyber bullying?
It’s not to late to stop with bullying if
some not has commit suicide, President 0bama talk about
risk of bullying.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/03/10/president-obama-first-lady-white-house-conference-bullying-prevention

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