A 39-year-old Los Angeles man’s claim that he was “gay bashed” and set on fire has proved false after San Diego police released video evidence that he had, in fact, been attacked by a pregnant woman while attempting to assault her.
Scott Rowin claimed that he was on his way home from a night out when he heard two people shouting homophobic slurs and then suddenly set alight. His story quickly gained traction on social media with many people coming to his defense and claiming that this hate crime was indicative of the general decline in safety for gay men in America today.
However, video footage from CCTV cameras of the event, that took place on June 12th, contradicts his original statement. The video confirms that Rowin attacked the pregnant woman before being set alight by her in an act of self–defense.
The San Diego Police Department released a statement confirming the incident, saying “This is a complex investigation, and detectives are examining all aspects and allegations.”
The expecting mother, who remains unnamed, was rushed to hospital with injuries and Rowin was left with second–degree burns.
Despite the fact that the footage clearly supports the evidence of what really happened, some still remain convinced of Rowin’s original story. Feminist and LGBT activist, Sasha Murrow tweeted, “No matter how much evidence there is of this being a self–defense act, this pregnant woman should be held accountable. People aren’t safe in the streets. Do not forget why #JusticeForScottRowin is trending.”
Airport High School in San Diego, where Rowin is an alumni and a drama teacher, also released a statement expressing their “deepest sympathy” for him. “We are deeply concerned about recent events involving our prominent alum, Mr. Scott Rowin,” the statement read.
Despite the school’s expression of solidarity with Rowin, many have criticized their response, with some claiming that the school is disregarding the evidence and is instead relying on unsubstantiated allegations to sympathize with Rowin.
The investigation remains ongoing as the police review all the aspects of the case, and it is not yet clear whether there will be any charges pressed against any of the individuals involved. What is clear, however, is that this case has highlighted some serious issues that still exist within the LGBT+ community. Until the LGBT+ community is fully accepted and safe, no one‘s story can be taken at face value.
Scott Rowin spoke to San Diego media about being the victim of a gay bashing where he was set it fire. It was a hoax. CCTV captured him beating a pregnant woman until she was bloody. She set him on fire & he fled. Nevertheless, many on social media fell for the hoax & said it was… pic.twitter.com/pwxFkBAqgY
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) June 22, 2023