rutgers freshman commits suicide after roommate posts illicit sex tape in a “prank”

rutgers students sign condolence cards APPhotos

If you’re our friend on Facebook, then you’ve heard the tragic, tragic news. According to The New York Daily News:

A Rutgers University freshman, distraught over a gay tryst splashed live across cyberspace by his roommate, plunged to his death from the George Washington Bridge. “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry,” read the final Facebook status from Tyler Clementi, just 72 hours after his private life suddenly became public knowledge.

The story has, rightfully, shaken the nation. Daniel Radcliff, our Harry Potter hero, told MTV over the weekend:

“We have a responsibility to be better to each other, and accept each others’ differences regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ability, or religion and stand up for someone when they’re bullied.”

Amen, Daniel! The news struck us to speechlessness, so perhaps that’s why we couldn’t quite comment on the situation until today. We do have a responsibility to be good and do good to all and spread that goodness to prevent teens like Tyler from resorting to suicide for being something so normal. We do have a responsibility to stand up for another!

While it’s awesome celebs can come out and purport the cause, it’s also a shame to see so many people (e.g. adults in mass media) misreading the situation. USA Today asked “Has social networking gone too far?” We watched CNN anchors blaming the internet for “dehumanizing” each other so that we can’t possibly know what’s right or wrong anymore. Others all claim cyber bullying is the reason. In short, people are pointing to the “cyber world” as the perpetrator.

Seriously, people? Placing blame on the internet is NOT right. It’s not the internet that’s evil. It’s intolerance, hate, bigotry and amoral values of people – of the human perpetrators. Not random IP addresses as faceless as social security numbers. And, the two bullies weren’t even anonymous as so much cyber-hate is.  It was pure lack of judgment and consideration of another human’s feelings.  These things existed before the internet — but it’s our job as gURLs, now, more than ever, to share that the internet does not spread hate or dehumanize – in our case, as gURLS, it brings us together.

What are your reactions? Has your school responded? Have you ever been a victim of bullying? Awful “pranks?” How did you deal? What advice do you have for other gURLs who could be in the same situation as Tyler was?

Share your thoughts and stories here, because we know that, at least on this website, the internet is where we can make the world better.


p.s. find yourself in need of help? suicide and help resources can be found here.

more ways to get gURLy:

Posted in: Health, Sex & Relationships, The State of Sex Ed
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  • Jack Stranger

    1. There is already intolerance in Hollywood because look who is being broadcasted about in terms of single race being widely seen-the white race

    2. Secondly it is when we personalize issues like this then we become the victims of these issues. If the individual in question had not taken this personally then he could have chosen to let himself not be affected by this “prank” at all

  • So that’s the case? Quite a rveelation that is.

  • Alisha

    It is sad to see the extent of how human beings would stoop so low as to harm another individual whether it is for a prank or it is real. For him to commit such an act probably was the only relief for him. I do not know what it is like to be a homosexual but I still have some sense of morals on how to go about that. It is unfortunate because if he had a friend he would still be living.

  • Sarah

    "God, and I thought people were actually starting to accept different sexual orientations!" I think that people are overall, but there will always be homophobia (and prejudice in general). It can be reduced but there will always be some people who are ignorant.

  • eriza

    That's very sad. Just because he was different. And the bullies were jealous of him. They should be ashmed of themselves! I hope Tyler is peaceful up in heaven. He wouldn't be there if the bullies would respect peoples privatcy!

    Rest in peace Tyler!

  • RuthSama

    An open letter to everyone involved:

    To Tyler: I accept you. May you rest in peace.

    To Tyler's Loved Ones: My heart and condolences go out to you. Nobody should have to go through what you have gone through and I hope you always remember your son and honor his memory. May this inspire you to fight prejudice and fight for equal love.

    To Tyler's Roommate: You disgust me, you homophobic coward. Would you have videotaped Tyler and put it online if he had been having sex with a woman? I sincerely hope that everyone on this planet hates you as much as I do, asshole.

  • This breaks my heart, what people, no MONSTERS would do this?!?!?!?!?!!?

    Im am beyond disgusted that someone would do this and call it a "prank"

  • cheri

    God, and I thought people were actually starting to accept different sexual orientations!

    Jeez, that room mate guy's an a**e…what right does he have to post that vid no matter how Tyler maybe? Tch, to go this far to insult someone is disgusting.

  • While reading this I was covering my mouth the whole time. This definetly has shone some light on cyber bullying. I can't belive how cruel this "PRANK" was. If you ask me and my buds pranks are nothing close to that. I defenitly feel for the Tyler Clementi. Honesty I can't make up my mind wether suicide was the right thing to do. Ofcouse it should b a no but geez!! good luck to everyone in this world with bullying…

  • Mellow

    This is sickening. I can't believe that poor boy's roommate thought that broadcasting something like this could ever, under any possible circumstances, be considered a PRANK. And what of his lover, left to grieve? And his family? This is just… tragic.

  • Kayla

    OMG what a stupid reason for committing suicide!! Just fight back, don't go that freaking far!! I would blame his roomate, even put him in jail for maybe 3 weeks – 2 months for causing something like this. Even others who helped in this.

    • Maggie

      According to the law you cannot put him in jail because he didn't actually throw him off the bridge, even if he did influence the situation (or rather caused it all), but yes, I would agree that its only justice to do so.

    • Elen

      "OMG what a stupid reason for committing suicide!! Just fight back, don't go that freaking far!"

      Really. Just…seriously? You're that ignorant.

      I don't mean to be insulting, but this has just…. Really, this comment makes me angry. I want to be civil; however, being a survivor or a suicide attempt and a survivor of a friend who succeeded in taking his own life, someone saying that it was a "stupid reason" or that they should just "fight back" makes me lose a little more faith in people.

      No reason is stupid if someone felt they had no other choice than to take their own life.

      I have lost most faith in God, but even I pray for the Clementi family in having to deal with this agony. And I'd hope that you would reconsider your opinion on sucide. It's not a stupid thing, it's not a cowardly thing; it's just the end.

  • Chelle

    That's unbelievable!! How can they blame the internet for someone's idiocy? Condolences to the Clementi family. Let's hope we can all live and learn from this.

    • Serena

      Oh. My. God. So sorry for the family. That must be awful.

  • liz

    heartbreaking. 🙁