Over the weekend, the LGBT activist group Change Atlanta claimed that Brandon White, the gay man beaten by three other men, was lying about his story. They said Brandon knew his attackers and he was beaten because he threatened to out them as gay. So, according to Change Atlanta, this wasn't a hate crime. This was an act of revenge and Brandon had it coming.
This group also held two conferences spreading this notion around Atlanta. Here's a piece from the article posted on CBS Atlanta's website:
Gary Nichols said he and several other members of the community searched for White's attackers before they were arrested.
Nichols said when they interviewed witnesses and those in the Pittsburgh community who know White and his alleged attackers, he found out new details about White's prior relationship with some of his attackers.
"I would tell the Atlanta community we were duped. We were all duped and it's a shame. It's a bitter shame," Nichols said.
Nichols said the attack was not a hate crime. The motivation was revenge.
Much more after the break.
"Brandon was agitating these young men about personally exposing them for being DL gay - on the down low possibly gay. The young men responded because they don't want their families to know," Nichols said.
Jackson said he spoke directly with one of the suspects, Dorian Moragne, who also confirmed that they knew White.
"He was very clear about being sure that Brandon White in fact knew the other attackers in question," Jackson said. Jackson and Nichols said the attack was centered around a video that's supposed to be on White's phone. The video of the attack shows one of the men grab White's phone.
"It's a video of somebody performing a sexual act with one or a few of these young men," Nichols said. "That's why the cell phone was a target. They didn't just beat him up because he was gay," Jackson said.
So here are my issues with Change Atlanta's actions: First, this claim is based on rumors. These activists gathered this information from people who heard things. None of this is proven to be true as of yet. The funny part about this story is how they talked to one of the attackers, taking his word over Brandon's.
Then, instead of talking to Brandon about this any of the rumors, Change Atlanta set up two press conferences to address their big 'revelation.'
Again, this is all based on rumors.
However, the kicker for me was the statement about the attack was not a hate crime; it was an act of revenge. So, according to them, it's okay to beat someone up because it was an act of revenge?
Sorry, Change Atlanta, but you were wrong to hold two televised press conferences and state these claims as truth. You were wrong in thinking this 'act of revenge' erases the fact that Brandon was beaten like a dog by three men.
Change Atlanta, you were wrong to turn you backs on Brandon and somewhat take the side of the attackers. Change Atlanta, you were just plain wrong!
How does this approach to this incident help solve anything? Change Atlanta's actions may have done more harm than good. Now, if anyone is assaulted for their sexuality, they may have to worry whether or not their community will blame them.
I hope Change Atlanta will take this opportunity to really think about what they stand for. Because if they are gay activists, I'd hate to see what anti-gay activists look like.