The 20-year-old man in Spain who claimed eight hooded men carved an anti-gay slur on his butt using a knife in a horrific hate crime now says the act was consensual.
According to police reports from yesterday, the unnamed man admitted to making up the story so that he wouldn’t lose his current boyfriend.
“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 that was released late yesterday.
The young man had initially reported the hooded assailants attacked him at the entrance to his apartment in the Malasaña neighborhood of Madrid on Sunday. He told police the attackers shouted he was a “sh*teater” and a “maricón” (a Spanish slur for a gay man) while using a knife to carve the latter slur into his buttocks.
“This is the first assault of this kind that we have heard of,” the spokesperson for the Spanish National Police said at a press conference shortly after the man-made the claim. “The investigation is focusing on CCTV footage and on finding witnesses in order to identify the alleged attackers.”
The alleged attack outraged the nation, and local LGBTQ+ groups had called for nationwide protests this weekend to call attention to a series of anti-LGBTQ+ attacks in Spain. The country’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, denounced the alleged crime on Twitter, saying “Hatred has no place in our society.” He also promised to “continue to work for an open and diverse country, where no one has to be afraid for who they are.”
From the start of the investigation, though, police were suspicious about the man and his claims. According to a report from Spanish-language news source El País, the alleged victim was initially hesitant to file a report with the police and only did so after he was “dragged” by his current boyfriend to police. The man also claimed to have washed the clothes he was wearing during the assault. Police were unable to confirm any part of his story after speaking with witnesses, examining evidence, and reviewing CCTV footage in the area. After finding no evidence to support his claims, police invited the man to a second interview where he admitted he made up the entire story. He now admitted the act of butt carving was consensual, and that he created the false narrative of a hate crime attack in order to not lose his boyfriend. The man could face charges for filing a false police report.
Officials and activists were quick to point out that hate crimes remain a problem, and that one man’s false report should not be used to trivialize the problem of anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes and assaults in the country.
“If we frivolize with what happened, many people will feel even more coerced,” Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said in a statement yesterday. “Those people who denounce may [go on to] not denounce, to perhaps think that they do not believe it. The only thing I ask is that there are no irresponsible voices.”
Local activists said their protests will go on this weekend. However, it remains unclear if the young man is still together with his boyfriend.