Making a false report to keep your boyfriend?
Last week, a hate crime in Spain received major coverage from news sources, the Spanish government, and the public. A gay man was reportedly attacked by eight hooded men in Madrid. The victim was hospitalized after the word “maricon,” a slang word for gay, was forcibly carved onto his butt. A nationwide hunt led by the Catalan Interior Ministry then began to find the assailants.
This incident also sparked a nationwide conversation about hate crimes in Spain. Reports say that the first half of 2021 saw 43 percent more hate crimes against gay, lesbian, and bisexual people than in the whole of 2020. Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez even spoke about the growing concern and vowed to crack down on homophobic hate crimes in the country. But now, it seems that the catalyst crime was a lie.
En nuestra sociedad no tiene cabida el odio. Mi rotunda condena a este ataque homófobo. No vamos a permitirlo. Seguiremos trabajando por un país abierto y diverso, donde nadie tenga miedo a ser quien es, en el que todos/as vivamos libres y seguros.
Mi cariño al joven agredido. https://t.co/YDjWENyeVa
— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) September 6, 2021
According to Spanish-language news source El País, the alleged victim, whose identity was withheld for safety reasons, says the carving was consensual.
“This afternoon, and thanks to the work of the National Police, the young man who reported an attack on Sunday in the Malasaña neighborhood of Madrid has decided to rectify his initial statement and has stated that the injuries initially reported were consensual,” the Ministry of the Interior said in a statement yesterday.
According to police, they became suspicious of the legitimacy of the man’s story after beginning their investigation. The man was initially hesitant to report the incident until he was “dragged” by his current boyfriend to the authorities. The police were unable to confirm any part of the story after searching for witnesses, checking CCTV footage in the alleged area, and examining evidence. Speaking of evidence, the man claimed to have washed the clothes he was wearing when the alleged incident happened.
After being brought in by police for a second interview, the man admitted to making up the hate crime story. He says that the carving on his butt was consensual and that he only lied to not “lose his boyfriend.” The man could now face charges for filing a false police report.
Despite the man’s story being debunked, activists and some politicians have insisted on the need to address hate crimes in the country. For instance, LGBTQ rights organization Movimiento Marka Madrid held a protest at 9 p.m. Central European Time despite the reveal.
“In recent days there have been attacks in Toledo, Melilla, Castellon, and Vitoria,” the organization said in an Instagram story, which references Samuel Luiz who was murdered by a mob while talking to a friend on his phone. “Because they killed Samuel for being a fag. Because all of you who are reading this have had to suffer violence, harassment, fear, and fear of death.”
“If we frivolize what happened, many people will feel even more coerced,” Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska added in a statement yesterday. “Those people who denounce this hate crime may [go on] to perhaps think that they do not believe the others. The only thing I ask is that there are no irresponsible voices.”
“We are tired of being attacked at any given moment.” protestor Rafaela Corrales told the AP. “I don’t know if this last attack in Madrid is true or not. I don’t really care, since we suffer all types of violence all year long.”