Media Impacts: The Tyler Clementi Case
January 18th, 2014 by Tuyen Nguyen
The case of Tyler Clementi in 2010 sparked debates across the country about cyberbulling and the rise of suicide cases among LGBT teens. It is a classic example of how media can have such effects on an individual, leading to dire consequences, like suicide. Clementi decided to jump off the George Washington Bridge on December 22nd, 2010 after finding out that Dharun Ravi, his roommate and Ravi’s friend, Molly Wei, had been secretly watching his sexual interaction with another man byway of the Ravi’s web cam. Not only that, Ravi also broadcasted the event on his Twitter feed and invited his followers to join in and watch. The event garnered national interest as major newspaper ran the story on their front page and discussions heated up on TV news prime time. There are people who put the blame completely on the perpetrators and there are people who defended them, saying their actions were serious but did not have such power to push a rational person to suicide, meaning that Clementi had already been a troubled man with suicidal tendencies before the tragedy even began. Clementi probably were aware of the dark side of media. He probably assumed that when Ravi posted the video link on Twitter, the whole world will know about Clementi’s secret and turn its back against him. He probably understood the fact that the media has the power to spread information and to prosecute, especially when he is a closeted gay man who might have thought that everybody will hate him for who he is. As for the aftermath, the debate split into two sides, one of which defended the perpetrators and accused the media overblowing the magnitude of their actions. Many LGBT communities took this as a declaration of war and waged an all out battle against these people who they called “hateful”, “idiots”, “ignorants” and many other derogatory forms. It was ugly. Below are some links that show the opinions on both sides of the debate. Below are links that showcased the opinions of people who sided with Ravi because these links are harder to find than the ones that sided with Clementi.