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Friday, October 1, 2010

Invoking Anti-Gay Bigotry To Exploit Rutgers Tragedy For Greed

The Newark Star-Ledger came out with an editorial today against "bigotry," in response to the Rutgers freshman's tragic suicide after being exposed on a webcam.   Tragedy?  Undoubtedly.   But bigotry as playing a role?  That is far from certain.
Here's the question to ponder: How can anyone conclude that bigotry had anything to do with this young man's suicide?  It is likely (but not certain) that he felt uncomfortable and embarrassed.   However, if the webcam exposure was the event that precipitated his suicidal decision, that means that he was healthy, happy and relatively balanced before his romantic encounters.  That is far from certain, and certainly nowhere near proven (or provable).
The conclusion that bigotry was to blame also requires assuming that this young man (whose sexual orientation is also far from certain and, in fairness and common decency, really ought to be off limits) he would have felt less humiliation, or that these events would not have been recorded or distributed, had this encounter been with a young woman. There is no way anyone can be certain that would have been the case.  In fact, his embarrassment might have been more profound if that were the case.
Moreover, the conclusion that bigotry was the culprit requires that we infer from the young man's suicide that he felt some sort of anti-gay prejudice (which has not been borne out from any documents so far made public), and that we further infer what the other two students were thinking (ditto).   Accordingly, there is no factual basis to claim that "bigotry" played any role. 
There is one reason we are reading that bigotry was involved.  It makes a nice story and is ripe for exploitation by those with a political agenda.  It helps certain groups -- and their leaders -- get attention and raise money.  Bigotry is one of those trigger words that gets checks written.
As with many murder mysteries and financial frauds, follow the money and you'll understand why some commentators -- including plenty of lawyers and gay rights advocates, all of whom should know better -- are jumping on the bandwagon to blame bigotry for what happened.

The question we should be asking is:  Where were all these people to make this poor Rutgers freshman accepted and comfortable with himself, when he was still alive and their support still could have made a difference? 
Eric Dixon is a New York lawyer who represents small business owners, entrepreneurs and freelancers in litigation, government investigations, business investigations and due diligence, and negotiations.  Mr. Dixon is available for retention by paying clients who suspect they are the victims of financial fraud or other malfeasance, and for other legal and business matters for which careful investigation and research is desired.  He is available for comment or consultation at 917-696-2442 and via e-mail at

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