Nightly News | September 30, 2010
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor (Washington, DC): A grim story in the news today in this country. For the fourth time in the last few weeks, a teenager has taken his own life after being taunted and humiliated for being gay. In this case, a young man was recorded via hidden camera, and what he thought was private was actually being played out over the Internet . It combines the era of oversharing with the ultimate cruelty. Our story tonight from NBC 's Mike Taibbi .
MIKE TAIBBI reporting: He was an exuberant student and gifted musician who graduated high school with honors and scholarships, but the body of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi was pulled from the Hudson River just days after two of his Rutgers college freshman classmates, Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei , allegedly secretly videotaped Clementi during a sexual encounter with another man and streamed that video live. Three days later, Clementi reportedly wrote on his Facebook page "jumping off the GW Bridge , sorry." But there's a growing chorus of voices saying this is an incident not just of video voyeurism or cyberbullying, but of cyber gay bashing .
Dr. JEFFREY LIEBERMAN (Columbia University Department of Psychiatry): It's really the tools of information technology and the ability to disseminate it far and wide that's really amplified and changed this unpleasant behavior.
TAIBBI: In one recent survey, some 85 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students reported being verbally harassed, 40 percent physically harassed, and 19 percent physically assaulted.
TAIBBI: In September alone, three other teens were mocked for being gay or being perceived to be gay took their own lives. Thirteen-year-old Seth Walsh of California and 15-year-old Billy Lucas of Indiana both hanged themselves. And 13-year-old Asher Brown of Texas killed himself with a gun.
Mr. DAVID TRUONG (Asher Brown's Father): His life was ended because of intolerance and hate.
Mr. DAN SAVAGE: Life gets better.
TAIBBI: Syndicated relationship columnist Dan Savage , who is gay, says getting past the hate is hard but not impossible.
Mr. SAVAGE: When a gay kid commits suicide, what he's saying is he can't picture a future for himself that's happy, or a future with any joy in it, a future that's worth toughing it out for. And I want gay kids to know that they can have a happy, fulfilled and fulfilling life and experience joy.
TAIBBI: This week at Rutgers , Project Civility was launched, an effort to improve interpersonal relationships.
Unidentified Man: We're trying to create an entire campus where everywhere is safe.
TAIBBI: Too late for Tyler Clementi , another precious young life gone. Mike Taibbi , NBC News, New Brunswick, New Jersey.