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Anderson Cooper: Tyler Clementi Story 'Sickening'


Anderson Cooper has been all over cyber-bullying this week.

First he took on Andrew Shirvell and his boss, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox. Then, last night, he spent some time discussing the disturbing story of Tyler Clementi's suicide, sparked by the fact that his Rutgers University roommate used the internet to broadcast him hooking up with another man.

Cooper finds the entire situation "sickening." And that's putting it nicely. Dr. Phil, meanwhile, appeared to discuss what may have been going through Clementi's head as the story unfolded.

"This wasn't someone that just said, 'This is a gay classmate of mine,'" explained the doctor. "This is someone that took a video of someone in an intimate act. Doesn't matter whether it was a gay sex act, a straight -- it doesn't matter. I mean, that would be a horrible experience for anyone. And -- and to do that can be really devastating to a person psychologically."

Watch Cooper and Dr. Phil's exchange, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. The Internet has allowed cruelty to reach new heights of causing pain and hurting each other.

    Posted by: Timothy | Oct 1, 2010 9:28:43 AM

  2. If Anderson Cooper had any strength of character, he would come out, which is what he could do to help stop this by making it clear that there is nothing wrong with being gay. I have no respect for this man.

    Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 1, 2010 9:43:28 AM

  3. Jeremy at Goodasyou posted reactions from NOM and worldnetdaily, and it's truly vile. Beyond the typical correlation is causation nonsense to blaming the victim and making light of their death. One jackass even used the term "tyranny of tolerance" to portray Christianists as the victims of PC culture. It makes my blood boil.

    Posted by: Jonathan | Oct 1, 2010 9:44:56 AM

  4. Clementi's death is a tragedy, but from his own account on an Internet messageboard, his (douchebag) roommate just filmed him KISSING another guy. YES the roommate is a jerk, but he didn't clearly commit an atrocity that drove Clementi to commit suicide.

    As someone who's dealt with both anti-gay bullying and depression, I dont think you can't just draw a line between the two events and paint the roommate as being fully culpable. Clementi might have been dealing with internalized homophobia or some other issue.

    Clementi's death is a loss, but Im starting to get angry at today's gay youth, who are facing much less oppression than past generations, but taking the easy, cowardly way out.

    Posted by: dizzy spins | Oct 1, 2010 9:45:25 AM

  5. Not a big fan of Dr. Phil, but very pleased at his response- removing the gay from the equation (this would be devastating to anyone), while emphasizing that the perpetrator was indeed homophobic (clearly this was sensationalist.)

    Just such a shame. I want both perpetrators to have to register as Sex Offenders for the rest of their lives.

    Posted by: stephen | Oct 1, 2010 9:53:33 AM

  6. Tyler chose to kill himself. He certainly didn't have to, and it was an irrational act. His situation in life,at least as it's publicly known, was pretty good and many would be envious. I myself know people who are in much more difficult situations in life than Tyler was, dealing with far more serious issues than being caught have sex with a guy by your college room mate, and they persevere. There's a young guy from Staten Island (NYC) who lost all 4 limbs from an IED in Afghanistan. He's learning to to walk and function with 2 artificial arms, hands and legs. He hasn't killed himself. He is FAR worse of than Tyler was.

    People need to step back and get a grip.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 1, 2010 10:10:58 AM

  7. @RATBASTARD: Tyler is you are bullying him still. Tyler wasn't just caught by someone having sex with another guy; he was videotaped and the videotape was posted on line for the world to see! I'm glad your mythic quadruple amputee is recovering; Tyler can't. You, my friend, are the one who needs to get a grip and realize that children are killing themselves because people (like you?) are telling them they are worthless and objects of scorn.

    Posted by: mad1026 | Oct 1, 2010 10:36:16 AM

  8. I think it's nice when people like Ratbastard live up to their screennames.

    Posted by: crispy | Oct 1, 2010 10:46:58 AM

  9. I don't think blaming the victim this moment is being very helpful right now. This has become an epidemic; citing their weak will is hardly helpful. We have to call attention to why LGBT youth are being driven to suicide rather than griping about their youthful inexperience. It makes us sound like a bunch of cynical queens.

    Posted by: terry | Oct 1, 2010 10:51:44 AM

  10. Enough with the he didn't have to kill himself..he didn't have to but he did and why? Because of those sick bullies.

    They made him do it

    They are the murderers

    If I were in Tyler's shoes I would hope to have the strength to look for help elsewhere within those few days but I don't blame him at all for jumping..I blame those homophobic killers who beat him down SOO much, made him feel so worthless, took so much of his self worth away that his only escape was to jump.

    They are to blame NOT Tyler

    RIP Tyler

    Posted by: Sonnysideup | Oct 1, 2010 11:02:26 AM

  11. Indeed, Crispy. On every thread with a gay suicide or a gay bashing, a certain rodent finds a way to dismiss the victim (while claiming not to dismiss the victim) or question the veracity of the bullying or devalue the tragedy as less significant than another. It's typical for straight people to undermine the importance of gay deaths, but it's curious when a gay person consistently does the same on a gay blog. But one never knows what motives lurk behind the anonymity . . .

    Posted by: Ernie | Oct 1, 2010 11:03:49 AM

  12. "Clementi's death is a loss, but Im starting to get angry at today's gay youth, who are facing much less oppression than past generations, but taking the easy, cowardly way out."

    He didn't have a responsibility to not kill himself just because you might have had it worse off. Generally, people who commit suicide are suffering from clinical depression. They don't care about how much oppression you faced.

    Invariably, the people who go out of their way to bash suicide victims suffer from their own self-centered beliefs. They think that because they can handle it, everyone else should as well. Well, some people can't handle it, and they need help, not assholes telling them to buck up.

    Posted by: Zach | Oct 1, 2010 11:15:47 AM

  13. I'll second that Crispy.

    Posted by: ronnykmarshall | Oct 1, 2010 11:20:19 AM

  14. So much emotion around this. When I was 9 my stepfather shot himself in the head. Fo most of my life I've viewed suicide as the cowardly act of a weak person who has no regard for (and most likely contempt) for those left behind. When I was in (all male, catholic) high school there was a gay kid systematically bullied and he hung himself. I rationalized that he was just too weak and unable to deal with the world (he was a chronic outsider and clearly deeply depressed beyond the bullying). Thinking about this kid, who from the little we know, seems like he had a bright future ahead of him and was comfortable enough with his sexuality (not closeted and sexually active...) I just can't shake the feeling that today's gay youth is a very disturbing place. Yes they have visibility to healthy happy gays, it's much easier to come out... But that's a double edged sword: they don't have to develop the thick skins a lot of us did. For all the bullying and homophobia that clearly exists there is an acceptance that shortens the process. The problem is society at large says it's OK to be gay while our laws and our religions constantly remind you that you are an outsider, a freak, less than, and hell-bound. All things I had to deal with but I had to develop a LOT of strength to take it all on. It seems like these otherwise happy kids just can't deal. We need so much to change and so much more support for Gay youth. It's just tragic and deeply heartbreaking.
    As for Anderson Cooper, I get it: he wouldn't be where he's at as an out gay man, he wouldn't have the credibility as an unbiased journalist (it's ridiculous but true.) But enough already. Stop dancing around it. Everyday you send a coded message that your fine with being gay but society would not have it. Not a great message for anyone struggling to see a happy gay future for themselves. He doesn't owe it to anyone and he's not responsible for gay suicide, but he could make a difference and that should be enough for him.

    Posted by: eric k | Oct 1, 2010 11:24:48 AM

  15. @Anonymous: "If Anderson Cooper had any strength of character, he would come out, which is what he could do to help stop this by making it clear that there is nothing wrong with being gay. I have no respect for this man."

    The gay community gains little if anything by Anderson Cooper coming out. Pretty much every gay person assumes he's gay already, but by not being officially out, he can play the part of an ally and reach more people.

    I think his most important role is to speak to those whose views are in the middle and those who will listen only to a perceived straight white male than it is to to have someone to point to and say "Look, he's gay, too." The latter might make the gay community feel better, but it doesn't actually accomplish anything.

    Posted by: LightningBoalt | Oct 1, 2010 11:28:45 AM

  16. I have to agree with the comment starting "If Anderson Cooper had any strength of character" etc etc.

    By refusing to come out Cooper perpetuates the notion that there is something shameful about being gay, which of course there isn't.

    So young people get very mixed messages.

    I have no respect for Cooper, or other famous people in the same position, either.

    Posted by: Will | Oct 1, 2010 11:31:06 AM

  17. Where did I 'bash' Tyler Clementi? I didn't. I pointed out that his act of suicide is irrational, which it is. I pointed out that, on the surface at least, he had a pretty good life that would make some others less fortunate envious.

    Tyler Clementi DID NOT have to kill himself...he had MANY more viable and sane options; and although what occurred in the dorm room was obnoxious, and he clearly had an obnoxious room mate, these things could have been pretty easily rectified.

    I'll say it again: There are A LOT of people who have much worse off...people similar to Tyler contemplating suicide need to think about that. There is no harm in my saying this and pointing it out. It doesn't make me un-empathetic or a bully.

    And speaking of fucking bullies, check out how all the angry [fill in the blank] gang up on others on this forum and others. Look in the God damn mirror before accusing someone else of acting like a bully, assholes.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 1, 2010 11:32:34 AM

  18. Ratbastard, you're implying that the victim here did something wrong.

    Which is stupid, and offensive, and clearly, CLEARLY marks you as an asshole.

    Posted by: RomanHans | Oct 1, 2010 11:37:15 AM

  19. Keep in mind that Anderson Cooper reports the news, he isn't the news. I don't know anything about Tom Brokaw's personal life and nor do I need to. I think it is enough for Anderson to keep these dialogues going and continue to shine a light on these gay-related topics.

    Posted by: james | Oct 1, 2010 11:37:44 AM

  20. I agree with the folks that say anderson should come out. He's more or less out anyway; there are plenty of pix with he and his bf out and about. SO what's the big deal? I agree with the opinion, that by staying in the closet he is perpetuating the idea that if you are gay there is something to be ashamed of.

    To those with no empathy to the people that commit suicide. Why don't you do us all a favor. Do you need a google map to a bridge?

    Posted by: dms | Oct 1, 2010 11:42:06 AM

  21. You know what? HE DID do something wrong! He KILLED himself for a basically bullshit reason (some people actually have legit reasons for killing themselves). DON'T ROMANTICIZE what Tyler did. There's nothing romantic about walking to the middle of the GWB and jumping into the Hudson, your decomposing corpse floating 30 blocks north before being found.

    If you're contemplating suicide and you're in a similar situation as Tyler was, STOP, THINK, and act rationally. Life is short and then you'll have an eternity of death.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 1, 2010 11:43:14 AM

  22. I'm kind of shocked with how heartless people are. So much judgement on this man. You didn't know him so maybe you shouldn't be so quick to label him weak. We can't see into peoples hearts and know what torments them. So how about a little compassion for a life lost.

    And I don't see how Anderson Cooper owes anything to people who want him to come out. It's his right to decide when and where that happens and who deserves to know.

    Posted by: Brad | Oct 1, 2010 11:45:09 AM

  23. The road to hell is PAVED WITH GOOD (or alleged good) INTENTIONS.

    There is NOTHING...NADA, wrong with pointing out Tyler shouldn't have jumped off the GWB. It doesn't signify a lack of sympathy or empathy. In fact, it's the opposite.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 1, 2010 11:49:46 AM

  24. Poor Tyler. None of us will know what he was going through. It is just tragic.
    As for Anderson Cooper. I do not care about his personal life, But if he was spouting hate and in the closet I would want him outed.

    Posted by: Tom in Long Beach | Oct 1, 2010 12:20:21 PM

  25. "You know what? HE DID do something wrong! He KILLED himself for a basically bullshit reason (some people actually have legit reasons for killing themselves)."

    And you wonder why people are "ganging up" on you? Just because you think it was a bullshit reason, obviously Tyler didn't. When someone feels backed into a corner so desperately that they can't see a way out, telling them to be more sane and rational because other people in the world have more legitimate reasons for killing themselves isn't helpful. It's the sort of presumptive arrogance that places value judgments on emotional distress. When someone commits suicide their emotional distress, whatever it is, isn't bullshit.

    If we're to question choices in this sad story, shouldn't we be questioning the choice of roommates/friends who think it's ok to publicly humiliate another human being for sport? The people who grossly invaded his privacy had the option to stop and think, be rational, and stop what they were doing. They didn't. And they have blood on their hands.

    Posted by: Ernie | Oct 1, 2010 12:39:48 PM

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