Matthew Shepard Foundation Slams New Book Disputing Role Of Anti-Gay Hate In Shepard's Murder
The Matthew Shepard Foundation has denounced a re-telling of the murder of Matthew Shepard put forth by Stephen Jimenez in his new book, The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard. As previously reported, Jimenez, who is gay, argues that it was not anti-gay prejudice that motivated Aaron McKinney to murder Shepard but rather a "drug-fueled rage that had nothing to do with [Matthew's] sexuality." According to Jimenez, "McKinney had been a male hustler, had been familiar with gay guys and gay bars...He really did like having sex with gay guys and...he was not unfamiliar with homosexuality and the gay world." Jimenez also asserts that gay rights advocates were responsible for perpetuating a false narrative that focused on anti-gay hate to help push through hate crime legislation nationally. The New York Daily News reports:
"Attempts now to rewrite the story of this hate crime appear to be based on untrustworthy sources, factual errors, rumors and innuendo rather than the actual evidence gathered by law enforcement and presented in a court of law," the foundation said in a release [...]
As the book's release date approaches, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which was founded 15 years ago, issued a statement that reaffirms Shepard was "killed in a brutal, anti-gay hate crime.
"We do not respond to innuendo, rumor or conspiracy theories. Instead we remain committed to honoring Matthew's memory, and refuse to be intimidated by those who seek to tarnish it," the statement reads.
This is not the first time someone attempted to change the accepted narrative of Shepard's murder. Back in 2004, ABC's "20/20" ran a controversial report in which McKinney said it was a meth-fueled robbery that ended violently — not a hate crime.
McKinney said he targeted the 21-year-old University of Wyoming freshman because he was well-dressed and assumed he would have a lot of money.
Many gay-rights activists and scholars criticized the "20/20" report arguing it ignored the evidence that anti-gay hatred fueled the brutal Oct. 7, 1998, murder in which Shepard was tied to a fence, tortured and left for dead.