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Tyler Clementi's Parents Speak Out On Son's Suicide, Dharun Ravi's Trial And Their New Foundation: VIDEO

JaneJoeClementi

In their first formal interview since their son's 2010 suicide, Joe and Jane Clementi, Tyler Clementi's parents, sat down with NBC's Hester Holt to discuss how Dharun Ravi's actions led to Clementi's death ("This was an executed plan," says Joe), how they're coping since the trial and the way their their evangelical Christianity influenced their reaction to Tyler's coming out.

"Sin needs to be taken out of homosexuality," they learned.

The duo also express their surprise and appreciation at all the national attention around Clementi's death and the hate crime trial against Ravi, and Tyler's brother James, also gay, speaks out about the contentious ruling against Ravi, who was sentenced to 30 days in jail for his role in the 18-year old's death. He only spent 20 days behind bars.

While they're still upset over the trial, the Clementi family is now focusing on their new foundation, the Tyler Clementi Foundation, through which they're trying to erode social discrimination and save other young men and women from the fate that befell Tyler.

Watch the interview AFTER THE JUMP.

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Comments

  1. The NEW YORKER had a very length, well-researched article about Tyler's suicide and in that article they mentioned that Tyler's religious mother had rejected him after he told her he was gay about 2 weeks before he killed himself.

    I think this fact is being seriously under-reported. Yes, Ravi's actions certainly contributed to Tyler's suicide, but his mother's rejection must have been a big part of that too.

    Posted by: Dan CObb | Jun 29, 2012 7:49:14 AM


  2. Hat "fact" is being seriously pimped on this site and any others dealing with Clementi's suicide by paid operatives fro the Ravi family.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jun 29, 2012 8:06:34 AM


  3. We can't forget that Ravi, basically sold tix to see his fag roommate make out...

    Posted by: John Normile | Jun 29, 2012 8:12:20 AM


  4. I feel sad for the parents. Their loss of their youngest boy must be heart and gut wrenching. It's too bad they had to learn the lesson of being more open-minded about sexuality through the loss of their son given their religious views.I hope like them, another family won't have to go through this.

    Posted by: JT | Jun 29, 2012 8:12:29 AM


  5. Still a court of law found Ravi guilty on multiple of counts including invasion of privacy. He got off easy.

    Posted by: WayneMPLS | Jun 29, 2012 8:15:10 AM


  6. I a very sorry this young man felt so troubled that he decided to take his own life. However, to focus the blame entirely on his roommate and one incident is reckless and inappropriate.

    You are running the risk of overlooking all the issues that caused this tragedy. People rarely kill themselves over one thing.

    While the video was wrong, I cannot believe it was the defining incident that cause this tragedy.

    Posted by: Turbohand | Jun 29, 2012 8:28:23 AM


  7. Dharun got off way easy. Tyler's parents are at least taking responsibility for their part in what led to Tyler's tragic death. They've grown and learned as individuals what it's like to be gay and feel discriminated against, shunned and hated for who you are. And they are taking action in the aftermath of Tyler's death to promote a message of acceptance and love of all youth, regardless of their orientation.

    They made mistakes, but we need to remember who the villain is here. And that is Dharun Ravi and his friends, and our society that justifies bullying with excuses like "it's just a prank" and "boys being boys".

    Posted by: Francis | Jun 29, 2012 8:28:26 AM


  8. Dharun got off way easy. Tyler's parents are at least taking responsibility for their part in what led to Tyler's tragic death. They've grown and learned as individuals what it's like to be gay and feel discriminated against, shunned and hated for who you are. And they are taking action in the aftermath of Tyler's death to promote a message of acceptance and love of all youth, regardless of their orientation.

    They made mistakes, but we need to remember who the villain is here. And that is Dharun Ravi and his friends, and our society that justifies bullying with excuses like "it's just a prank" and "boys being boys".

    Posted by: Francis | Jun 29, 2012 8:28:27 AM


  9. Had Mrs C not been anti gay, Tyler might have had a place to go when Dharun outed him,, His ultra conservative christian mother, perhaps parents were also part of his meltdown but maybe they have had an awakening.

    Posted by: lk | Jun 29, 2012 8:35:22 AM


  10. Um, Hester Holt?

    NBC's reporter's name is Lester, not Hester.

    Feel very sad for Tyler's family.

    Posted by: Doug | Jun 29, 2012 9:07:02 AM


  11. Francis - have you actually reread what you wrote here?! Dharun's the one who went to jail and apologised for his stupidity but you think he got off easy? Because the parents "have grown"?! Seriously?!

    Posted by: Elegir | Jun 29, 2012 9:11:08 AM


  12. YOU CAN FIND THE NEW YORKER ARTICLE VIA THE NEW YORKER WEBSITE. GREAT ARTICLE.

    Posted by: THE QUEEN | Jun 29, 2012 10:16:27 AM


  13. I feel great compassion for Tyler Clementi's family. Not only have they lost a beloved child but they have had to watch a despicable bully get away with a slap on the hands for his crimes. In addition, some stupid people (probably trolls for the Ravi family) would rather blame anyone else other than the little creep who pushed Clementi to suicide. Good luck with the foundation and thanks to the family for speaking out.

    Posted by: Jay | Jun 29, 2012 10:18:36 AM


  14. Why is it always stated "he was making out with ANOTHER man". Is that not reinfocing that it was a "gay" situation? Why can't it be he was making out with a man? It's like they need to emphasize that this was a gay situation to the world.

    Posted by: JBMinDC | Jun 29, 2012 10:21:09 AM


  15. she is also partly responsible for his death.

    Posted by: Malaysian Ho | Jun 29, 2012 10:24:22 AM


  16. Dear Clementis: Please sue Ravi. Please?


    Posted by: Sue | Jun 29, 2012 11:16:39 AM


  17. BEST THING THE CLEMENTIS COULD DO WITH ANY MONEY BEING DONATED TO THEIR FOUNDATION IS TO GET A SCREENPLAY WRITTEN, A MOVIE OR MADE FOR TV MOVIE, WHATEVER, TO BE MADE REGARDING THIS SUBJECT. ONLY THEN WILL THESE SITUATIONS AND HOW TO PREVENT THEM GET INTO THE MAINSTREAM OF SOCIETY. FILM IS THE GREATEST MEDIUM OF THEM ALL. GOOD LUCK.

    Posted by: THE QUEEN | Jun 29, 2012 12:29:45 PM


  18. Evangelicals, you say? Well, that explains a few things. Why are we giving them a pass? We normally don't give evangelicals an inch.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 29, 2012 2:57:37 PM


  19. My sense of these parents is that they are VERY COLD people and I don't get the impression that they were moved much by their own son's death... which is a horrible thing to say, but I think it's true.

    Posted by: dancobbb | Jun 29, 2012 5:55:49 PM


  20. Ultra conservative religious people can easily hate their children if their children don't measure up to what they "know" their god wants their kid to be. This woman should never have had kids. Clearly she wanted a kid that she perceived to be perfect in the eyes of her own god... she couldn't handle the real world... just like the typical evangelical. This woman needs to receive serious attention from gays and lesbians around the world. Let's face it, this woman's hatred of gays drove her son to commit suicide. She is more culpable even that Ravi, in my estimation.

    Posted by: dancobbb | Jun 29, 2012 6:00:04 PM


  21. I also think they come across as 'cold'. I've known pretty well one other fanatical evangelical Christian family in my life [father/mother/son/daughter] and mother who was the most fanatical by far was EXTREMELY cold and smug. Amusing [and genuinely sad] thing is they ended up divorcing, and the kids have 'issues'. I can remember one Christmas where the early 20 something son [who despises his father] had nowhere to go, but his mom hooked up with her new BF and took off for Aruba, not even calling him on C-Day. My big ethnic occasional Catholic family was far more warm and loving growing up. Such a thing would have been unthinkable.

    People are right to seriously question the role Tyler's mom's rejection and Evangelical Christianity played in his suicide. I'm willing to bet a played a far bigger role than Ravi. I also get the impression Tyler was ill at ease, uncomfortable in his skin, and maybe didn't fit in well in the gay world. Perhaps a lack of a gay support network [or any support network], isolation and a feeling of rejection and not belonging also played a role.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 29, 2012 7:39:50 PM


  22. Tyler Clementi's case is complex and it's good to see a wide-ranging discussion of it. Ravi is, to some extent, a scapegoat. Is he guilty? I think yes. But I also think he was an unwitting tool of vaster forces, e.g. the "gays are less than human" ethic that made Tyler's rights to privacy and respect easy to violate.

    Posted by: Chuck Mielke | Jul 1, 2012 9:44:06 PM


  23. hello

    Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 3, 2012 11:32:59 PM


  24. I found out about 3 years ago that my son was gay. He was 26 years old. I went through many feelings, the first being denial then shock then "why us God?", then depression and sometimes anger. I still get all of these feelings but they're not as strong now. I have separated my love for my son from his sexual preference. I have stopped trying to figure out the why of it all - the nature vs. nurture thing. I am a Christian and I have thought through what to do about it because of my faith and the only thing that makes any sense to me now is that this must be a test and that what I must do now is to love my son and his boyfriend who live with us currently. If anything would happen to either of them, I would be devastated. My son tried to commit suicide over being gay when he was around 19 years old. Fortunately the gun he used didn't work - it jammed. So, all I can tell anyone who has or is going through something like this is that you will get through it and that the most power we have is to love them and to love others, even bullies (although I do not like what they do). I believe there is also miscommunication. If people would simply try to talk out their feelings to each other or to a therapist, I believe it would very much help. My heart and prayers go out to Tyler's parents and to Ravi and to his family and to every life who has been touched by this tragedy. Anonymous

    Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 3, 2012 11:54:27 PM


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