Ellen DeGeneres Shaken by Gay Student's Suicide

Says bullying of gays "an epidemic"

By Greg Wilson
|  Friday, Oct 1, 2010  |  Updated 3:56 PM EDT
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In Memoriam

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The heartbreaking story of the Rutgers University student who killed himself after a roommate allegedly videotaped his tryst with another man has left gay talk show host Ellen DeGeneres "devastated."

"I am devastated over the death of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi," DeGeneres said. "He was outed as being gay on the Internet and he killed himself. ... One life lost in this senseless way is tragic.

"This needs to be a wake up call to everyone that teenage bullying and teasing is an epidemic in this country, and the death rate is climbing," she adds. "We have an obligation to change this."

 

Prosecutors are considering treating the case against the roommate, Dharun Ravi, and his pal, Molly Wei, from whose dorm room he allegedly livestreamed the video. For now, the pair have been charged with invasion of privacy.

"The on-going investigation is considering the motives leading to the illegal Internet transmission of a personal encounter involving the victim," the Middlesex County, N.J., Prosecutor's Office says in a statement. "We will be making every effort to assess whether bias played a role in the incident, and, if so, we will bring appropriate charges."

Clementi's body was pulled from the Hudson River earlier this week and identified Thursday. Authorities say he jumped from the George Washington Bridge. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday that he doesn't know how the pair can sleep at night, and expressed his condolences to Clementi's family.

"As the father of a 17-year-old…I can't imagine what those parents are feeling today, I can't," Christie said. "You send your son to school to get an education with great hopes and aspirations, and I can't imagine what those parents are feeling today."

Selected Reading: People, NJ.com, Ellen.

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