YouTube star Calum McSwiggan has pleaded not guilty to filing a false police report in which he claims to have been the victim of a homophobic attack in West Hollywood.
McSwiggan also entered a not-guilty plea to a charge of vandalism during his appearance in a Los Angeles court on Monday (26 September).
The London-based McSwiggan was ordered to return to the court for a pre-trial hearing on 7 November, according to BBC.
A bizarre series of events have landed McSwiggan in legal trouble that could result in a year in jail if convicted.
It all began early on 27 June when McSwiggan claimed to have been attacked by a man he had been flirting with at The Abbey and his two friends.
Officers were unable to ‘substantiate the assault’ but ended up arresting McSwiggan himself for allegedly vandalizing a car.
McSwiggan later explained in a detailed Facebook post: ‘In a moment of devastation, anger and blind rage I kicked the wing mirror of the attacker’s car until it broke and then ripped it off with my hands. I also scratched the front of the car with the broken wing mirror before returning back to The Abbey for help.’
The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department said McSwiggan had no visible injuries but that after being booked and photographed and placed into a cell by himself, he was seen injuring himself with the handle and receiver to a payphone inside the cell.
McSwiggan didn’t deny the phone incident: ‘In a moment of desperation to get out of the cell, I took the pay phone off the wall and hit myself once across the forehead with it as hard as I could. I knew I had to injure myself to get out of the cell and into a hospital, and it was the only solution I could find to get myself out of there.’
McSwiggan was then transported to a local hospital for treatment. From his hospital bed, he posted a photo to his Instagram account and wrote in part: ‘Last night was the worst night of my life and I’m really struggling to find the words to talk about it.’
He claimed that the authorities treated him like a ‘second class citizen’ and that he’d ‘never felt so terrified to be a gay man in the public eye.’
In his Facebook post, he claims the worst part of it all is people thinking he’s made it all up.
‘I’m heartbroken about the events and these have been the worst few days of my life. Many people are trying to discredit my story but this is the full and entire truth. Just because there were no visible marks on my face does not mean I was not attacked.
‘Being accused of being a liar and being called a disgrace to the LGBT community, a community I’ve dedicated my life to, is more painful than any hate crime could ever be.’