Dharun Ravi’s legal team is on a mission! After the 15 count guilty verdict and an imminent threat of imprisonment and possible deportation, they want to sway public opinion in his favor and influence his sentencing. What other way to do it than a series of media appearances explaining “Dharun’s side” of the story?
I am not a Dharun Ravi hater. I believe Dharun’s sentence should be minimal and symbolic. I don’t think he deserves jail time like murders and rapists. I also don’t blame Dharun for Tyler’s suicide. Having said that, I also believe he is guilty of invasion of privacy, bias intimidation and evidence tampering.
Chris Cuomo’s interview was the very first time Dharun Ravi was speaking out about the webcam incident on television. Since Dharun didn’t testify during the trial, this interview was a great opportunity for him to explain what and why all this happened. I started watching this interview with an open mind. I honestly wanted to be swayed. But the interview left me disappointed. It appeared as a desperate cover up attempt on Dharun’s part.
1) Before Dharun and Tyler met, Dharun googled and found out Tyler was gay. And then he tweeted “Fuck my life! He is Gay.” When Cuomo asked Dharun why he wrote that tweet, this is was the response: “These (my Twitter followers) are my closest friends, they know I don’t hate gay people”. So? What was the point? If you have no problems with gay people, why would you be disappointed to know your roommate is gay?
2) According to Dharun, he was at the dorm room, when MB walked in to the room for his first date with Tyler. Dharun tried to start a conversation with MB but found him very unfriendly. He left the two alone and went to Molly’s room. When Molly was curious to know about Tyler’s date, Dharun first started describing MB and then said to her. “You know what, I can just show you.” He turned on his webcam remotely from Molly’ room. This is Dharun’s explanation of his “accidental” first viewing, but, why did he set up the webcam pointing at Tyler’s bed in the first place? Did he know in advance that Molly would ask him to describe Tyler’s date? What was the intention?
3) Dharun’s explanation about the “I dare you to watch” tweet is again confusing. He said he was concerned that Tyler was making it a routine to bring dates to their dorm room and that he didn’t trust MB. Per Cuomo, instead of addressing these concerns with Tyler directly, Dharun tweeted about it, because that is what young kids these days do. It was that simple. Really? That doesn’t explain why Dharun dared all his twitter followers to watch Tyler’s sexual encounter. Am I missing something here?
4) The very last text message that Dharun sent to Tyler, after seeing Tyler’s FB post about jumping off from the GW bridge is this:
“I’ve known you were gay and I have no problem with it… In fact, one of my closest friends is gay and I have a very open relationship. I just suspected you were shy and never broached it as a topic. I don’t want your freshman year to be ruined because of a petty misunderstanding, it’s adding to my guilt. You have a right to move if you wish but I don’t want you to feel pressured to without fully understanding the situation.”
If Dharun really has a close gay friend, then why didn’t that friend testify during Dharun’s trial? Instead Dharun’s father’s friends and business partners testified that he was not homophobic. But when cross examined they all agreed that they never discussed homosexuality or gay people with Dharun. There is a chance that Dharun’s close friend is in the closet and that is the reason that person couldn’t testify. But why Dharun doesn’t talk about this friend anymore? And if he has a close friend who is gay, why would he tweet stuff like “Fuck my life, my roommate is gay” or “keep the gays away”?
Chris Cuomo did a very lousy job with his cheesy yes or no type questions, overtly dramatic narratives and shallow reporting. He missed (ignored) the chance to talk to Ravi about his “keep the gays away” message, which played a major role in the trial. Cuomo also seemed ignorant of lot of things. He was arguing with Garden State Equality’s Steven Goldstein that what Dharun committed is not a hate crime because there was no violence involved. One doesn’t need to get violent to commit a hate crime. Words hurt more than actions. Kids like Asher Brown and Billy Lucas didn’t commit suicide because they were violently attacked by their schoolmates. They were broken down by words and sometimes with actions that didn’t involve any physical violence.
This tweet from Mrs_Amelia says it all “Chris Cuomo is a lawyer but last time I checked he wasn’t #DharunRavi’s lawyer. This interview is so pro Ravi its ridiculous!” It was ridiculous. Ravi shows no remorse and claims to be the victim in all of this. At the end, I was not swayed. I know many weren’t. His legal team should find better ways to sway public opinion.
You can watch the interview at: 20/20 Rutgers Webcam Spying Scandal