Missoula, MT – A man who claimed he was beaten by anti-gay thugs earlier this month in Missoula admitted he made the whole thing up.
Joseph Baken, 22, pleaded guilty earlier this week to a misdemeanor of filing a false police report and received a six-month suspended sentence and a $300 fine according to the Missoula Independent.
In the original version that he told the police, Baken, 22, said he was celebrating his birthday at a local bar and asked about the whereabouts of a gay club. NBC Montana reported that “Baken said a man invited him outside for a cigarette and then two others joined in to beat him.”
The New York Daily News reports that the original story created a firestorm of outrage:
Photos of Baken’s battered face were posted on Facebook, Tumblr and other social media sites, prompting an outcry against homophobic violence and calls for protest.
Similarly, the Missoula Independent added that the alleged hate crime…
drew outrage from across the nation from people decrying homophobic violence. In Missoula, 560 people signed up to attend pub crawl that aimed to support victims of such violence and make the city safer.
But it turns out that the attack was a hoax rather than a man being victimized by violent gay bashing.
Baken was caught on video on the night of the alleged attack doing backflips on the street corner for “Olympic gold.” Baken landed on his face, and that’s how he actually got hurt.
A local police official said that “it has now been determined that the assault did not occur.”
Watch the footage from two different angles, one of which a tipster sent to the Independent: