There has been a huge backlash after Pride in London revealed that it has secured YouTuber Calum McSwiggan to star at an official meet and greet.
The event with the vlogger has been promoted by Pride today, ahead of tomorrow’s parade in the capital.
PinkNews understands that Pride in London discussed the YouTuber’s central role in the official Pride event a few months ago, aware that it might spark outrage.
However, decision-makers eventually drew the conclusion that McSwiggan had apologised for his actions, and should therefore be supported by Pride in London.
In November, the British star pleaded guilty to vandalising a car during an incident he claimed was an anti-gay attack in Los Angeles.
He was sentenced to three years of supervised probation and 52 anger management sessions in the US, and ordered to pay a $400 (£318) fine and $7,000 (£5,580) in compensation.
McSwiggan said that he had been beaten in a horrific anti-gay attack outside a West Hollywood nightclub this June, and posted a photo of himself in a hospital bed on social media.
He told his followers that he had three broken teeth and needed stitches in his head after being attacked by three men.
However, a witness quickly claimed the story was “completely made up,” while the police said that they arrested McSwiggan after they found him vandalising a nearby car.
As part of his plea deal, the police dropped the misdemeanour charge of filing a false report – saving him from a potential year-long prison sentence.
The YouTuber has always denied making up the attack, insisting he was attacked by three men, but did admit that he’d caused the injury which required stitches to his head.
In response to Pride in London promoting McSwiggan’s presence as a featured influencer at the event tomorrow morning, Twitter users voiced their outrage.
London Pride HQ: “okay, so they thought those posters were bad. Time to unleash McSwiggan” https://t.co/XaL9FC173o
— Calum Sherwood (@CalumSPlath) July 7, 2017
It’s awful isn’t it? This is why I can’t stand Pride season. No wonder homophobia still exists when McSwiggan, etc are “role-models”
— SimonSFranklin🏳️🌈 (@SimonSFranklin) July 7, 2017
Marsha P. Johnson protested against hate crimes. Calum McSwiggan faked one. No, thank you. https://t.co/BIJTwxSvK6
— Danny (@shckldg) July 6, 2017
Nooope. Don’t want to meet a YouTuber who *literally* faked an LGBTQ+ hate crime for self promotion, at a Pride event.Absolutely shameless. pic.twitter.com/1Fe16QyVpg
— Rob Holley (@robholley) July 7, 2017
People make mistakes but I feel like McSwiggan has fairly consistently shown himself up as a narcissistic knob now
— Matt (@Stradiwhovius) July 7, 2017
Part of me really wants to go just to cause a fuss. It’s disgusting they have him booked.
— Tim Bowers (@Timbow1982) July 7, 2017
Ouch. What a horrendous booking.
— Ed (@eddo_) July 7, 2017
A spokesperson for Pride in London told PinkNews: “We are aware of the incident he was involved in and followed the outcome closely.
“Our view is that he was dealt with by the courts and that, having paid his dues and apologised, we should maintain our support for Calum and all the good work he does in the community.
“Everybody deserves another chance, but – as guardians of London’s Pride event – we carefully review our partnerships on an ongoing basis.”
The spokesperson added: “At Pride in London we share concerns about hate crime and the lasting impact they have on victims.
“The fight against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia is a major focus in everything we do. Our recent research and campaign highlights this.
“Calum featured in our #NoFilter campaign last year as one of our supporters and he will be one of 24 gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans influencers attending a meet and greet on Saturday.”
McSwiggan has not responded to requests for comment.
This morning, he tweeted: “I wish gay men would stop trying to tear one another down.
“We should treat each other with the love & acceptance we preach to others about,” he added.
I wish gay men would stop trying to tear one another down. We should treat each other with the love & acceptance we preach to others about.
— Calum McSwiggan 🌈 (@CalumMcSwiggan) July 7, 2017