Bullying | Dharun Ravi | New Jersey | Tyler Clementi

Tyler Clementi's Parents Sit Down With NBC: 'Sin Needs To Be Taken Out Of Homosexuality'


For the first time since his 2010 suicide, Tyler Clementi's parents are sitting down for a formal interview to discuss the young man's life and death.

In an interview with NBC News' Lester Holt, Tyler's father, James, admits Tyler had issues with depression that led to his suicide, but also insists that roommate Dharun Ravi's spying "was the straw that broke the camel's back."

Jane Clementi agrees, telling Holt that the "humiliation" of having his private sex life tweeted and shared was too much for her son to bear. "“I think it was – it was the humiliation that his roommates and his dorm mates were watching him in a very intimate act and that they were laughing behind his back," she says. "The last thing that Tyler looked at before he left the dorm room for the bridge was the Twitter page, where Ravi was announcing Tyler's activities."

Mrs. Clementi also opens up about how her son, who had only come out to her a few weeks before his death, changed her view of homosexuality.

She says the news [of Tyler's homosexuality] "shocked" her, in part because of her strong Christian faith.  Since then she says she’s gone from "point A" in her beliefs "to point B."

"Was that point A, the point of 'homosexuality is a sin?'" asked Holt.
"Well, yes," Mrs. Clementi answered. "And of trying to just accept it."

She said she also realizes that Tyler may have misread her reaction during their conversation. He later texted a friend that his mother had rejected him after he came out to her.

"It just was like a dagger," Mrs. Clementi said. "And that took me a long time to process. Because I did not think I had rejected him."

The interview airs tomorrow night. Judging from the short clip included AFTER THE JUMP, I recommend you keep a hanky close…

Watch NBC's teaser AFTER THE JUMP.

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  1. Waitaminute, Tyler's older brother is gay as well, right?

    Had he already come out as well?

    I haven't watched this but I suspect that I may have a few more questions than answers...

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Jun 27, 2012 6:33:40 PM

  2. Personal sadness is often too much to bear. Part of the healing process is to cash out on network television.

    Posted by: Jack | Jun 27, 2012 6:43:27 PM

  3. Jack, the media swarmed to this story and because of that we have had the opportunity as a nation to look at this issue with a much-needed sensitivity. Whether or not they are getting paid for this interview (or any of them) certainly doesn't bring their son back, and I'd bet that if they had to choose between cash and their son, they'd pick their son.
    Honestly, I hope they are getting paid. It's not much, but it's something. And I'm glad that because they are willing to talk, people are able to hear this story and work through their own misperceptions about homosexuality. I'm sure you'd agree this world could use some more understanding on this subject.

    Posted by: Marc | Jun 27, 2012 6:54:30 PM

  4. at this point in my life - when I hear of any person who "freaks out" when they find out someone is gay.....turns me off...to me,its moot..who cares? That person is still the same person. You're not present when they're intimate..so why do you care? As long as that person is a good human being on the planet earth.....then That..is all that should matter..period.

    Posted by: disgusted american | Jun 27, 2012 7:02:18 PM

  5. Very glad that Tyler's parents are doing this. His Mom's reaction to his being gay is something that's been talked about much over the past months. It sounds like she's realized she made a mistake in her thinking, and that her mistaken views caused her to react in a way that left Tyler feeling very alone.

    "Too little, too late" is one way to look at it, but I'm more inclined to say "good for her." I hope her message resonates in the hearts of other Christian parents.

    Posted by: Sam | Jun 27, 2012 7:03:47 PM

  6. I blame her for her sons death. Not the scapegoat roommate.

    Posted by: KM | Jun 27, 2012 7:10:36 PM



    Posted by: CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON | Jun 27, 2012 7:12:46 PM

  8. Anyone else think that this mother is partly to blame for inducing depression in her son because of her ignorant belief in a magical space-fairy?

    This woman had a beautiful and talented son. It must have been clear that he was different, and if not, it must have been clear to his MOTHER that he was depressed. Did she not ask him? Did she not try to help? Or did she stick her head in the sand and allow her son to remain with these feelings of loneliness because her status in a pointy building would be adversely affected otherwise?

    Religion poisons everything.

    Posted by: rob | Jun 27, 2012 7:20:49 PM

  9. Glad to finally see a glimmer of responsibility from the Mom --will watch the show.
    Hoping that they will cover the story that Jane used Tyler for her sounding board over the suspected (and actual) Gayness of James, several yrs older.
    Considering that this is the NYC television market, and Gay is all over TV -- These folks were awfully sheltered. James came out at 22, I think, and Tyler waited until he was 18 and had one foot out the door. Kids in more modern families, especially with an older Gay sibling, are tending to come out at 13-14 now.
    I have ALWAYS blamed her for sending her son out in the world so ungrounded that the stupid Ravi could push him over the edge, carelessly.

    Posted by: Bob | Jun 27, 2012 7:23:34 PM

  10. He was a nice looking kid - favors his Mom a lot. The long and short of it is that he had many years ahead of him - and he was someone's little boy. I can't imagine their grief.

    Posted by: TyInTennn | Jun 27, 2012 7:38:19 PM

  11. Christians have a lot to answer for.

    Posted by: Mykelb | Jun 27, 2012 7:46:32 PM

  12. @Jack: NBC News does not pay people to be interviewed. Nice try though.

    Posted by: WHAT? | Jun 27, 2012 8:10:40 PM

  13. @What All the more reason not to go on NBC. Why rehash this tragedy? Their suicidal son jumped off a bridge. The person who taunted only received 20-something days in jail. People love tragedy. Look at poor Mary Kennedy hanging herself. Suicide is the road some take. If this interview is to clear up misperceptions about homosexuality. Guess what? There are misconceptions. Gay perfection is an artificial state. Behind every "together" gay guy is a f-ed up mess. It just needs to be brought out. You'll find out though, if you get close enough. Gays exist under too many societal pressures not to be impacted.

    Posted by: Jack | Jun 27, 2012 8:50:09 PM

  14. I used to live in the same neighborhood as the Clementi's for many years but did not know them. They kept to themselves. While out walking my dog, I used to see this young red headed kid walking to church on Sunday mornings carrying his violin. He always looked so alone and I figured he was just a really good kid. You never saw too many going to church like that and I figured his parents must be so proud of him. After his death, I realized the kid was Tyler. In talking with other neighbors it was stated how rigid and religious the parents were. One neighbor told me his older brother was openly gay and his parents used to refer to him as just crazy. Sad

    Posted by: Tom | Jun 27, 2012 8:56:32 PM

  15. Nobody gets paid to do an interview with NBC news, folks. Tyler's parents are not "cashing in." They are sharing a hugely important and devastating story, and you should be offing grateful for the lives they might save.

    Posted by: Rehab | Jun 27, 2012 9:10:28 PM

  16. Her son would have been able to cope with his sexuality if he had been raised in a home that hadn't stigmatised same sex attracted people.
    His parents reacted badly to his admission that he was gay, and this had a much bigger part to play in his suicide than his silly college roommate.
    The saddest part of this story is the guilt his Mom and Dad will have to live with. But if you buy into a cruel way of living...

    Posted by: scotsyank | Jun 27, 2012 9:15:27 PM

  17. Her son would have been able to cope with his sexuality if he had been raised in a home that hadn't stigmatised same sex attracted people.
    His parents reacted badly to his admission that he was gay, and this had a much bigger part to play in his suicide than his silly college roommate.
    The saddest part of this story is the guilt his Mom and Dad will have to live with. But if you buy into a cruel way of living...

    Posted by: scotsyank | Jun 27, 2012 9:15:33 PM

  18. I'm interested in what she has to say.

    And if anyone is cashing in, it's NBC. Rock Center has had five different time slots and is a ratings failure.

    Posted by: Tony | Jun 27, 2012 9:19:02 PM

  19. Gay is not a sin, God created us all equal, gays and straights.

    Posted by: Dave | Jun 27, 2012 9:22:04 PM

  20. This is the back story to the bullying /suicide stories. Gay kids are vulnerable, because they rarely, if ever, have the kind of robust family and community support, around the extremely vulnerable area of their nascent sexuality, that many straight kids can take for granted. Sometimes it seems that people would rather talk about 'bullying' than even say the word 'homophobia.' I hope this piece helps move the conversation onto the real killer of gay kids: pervasively homophobic societal attitudes.

    Posted by: Hank | Jun 27, 2012 9:41:56 PM

  21. Beautifully put, HANK. I agree with you completely. And I think that ignorance - sometimes willful, sometimes naive - should be our primary target. Bigots adhere to an old model of human sexuality: Men are genetically 100% male, and they dress and act in a "manly" way, and they are sexually attracted to women only. Women are genetically 100% female, dress and act in a "feminine" way, and are sexually attracted only to men.

    It would be awesome to have some kind of mass public education about the modern, research-based, scientific understanding that neither sex, gender identity, gender expression, nor sexual orientation are either/or - they all exist along separate continuums. Most organized religions perpetuate the mythical, either/or conception of human sexuality. But as time goes on, people who cling to a theocratic understanding will look more and more like people who still (fervently!) cling to the belief that the Earth is flat.

    Posted by: JOE 2 | Jun 27, 2012 10:35:55 PM

  22. Acceptance of homosexuality is not acknowledgment of something pure and wonderful. This idea that when people accept it, they are buying into this discrimination free zone, standing up for the outcasts. Based on sexual attraction to the same sex, even gay people don't know, or can comprehend, their way in the heterosexual world. It sounds great in theory. Reality will have its' lessons.

    Posted by: Matt | Jun 27, 2012 11:28:30 PM

  23. Sorry, but if Tyler and jack could trade places I would vote for it
    Brian Williams is NBC Nightly News anchor. , Rock Center goes up and down, depending on what the topic and guest are.
    I this will get a big audience, because the story has gotten huge interest in the new york area and because decent christians are struggling now to try to understand homosexuality , because it is become obvious that there prior undrstanding is wrong .

    Posted by: Bob | Jun 28, 2012 12:27:11 AM

  24. @Bob You're a lunatic. What are you talking about?

    Posted by: Kelly | Jun 28, 2012 12:35:05 AM

  25. It's criminal that the idiot Judge in this case only gave the perpetrator less than a month in jail ! That Judge should be fired and put in jail himself.

    If this case had involved a racial incident the perpetrator would be in jail for a long time but because it was someone gay yet another right wing Judge didn't value that gay person's life. It's DISGRACEFUL. There is no justice in the US - most of the Judges are rich, white, right wingers. Until there is more balance there will be no justice.

    Posted by: Icebloo | Jun 28, 2012 2:02:28 AM

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