Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images
by Alyssa Toomey | Wed., Sep. 10, 2014 3:13 PM
Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images
While Catfish host Nev Schulman may spend his days unraveling the truth and lies of online dating, it seems that the MTV star has now found himself at the center of his own headline-making scandal following the release of his new book, In Real Life: Love, Lies & Identity in the Digital Age.
In his tome, the self-professed "Dr. Drew of online relationships" details an incident which took place back in 2006 while he was attending college at Sarah Lawrence. During his junior year, Schulman describes how he accidentally "punched" a person in self-defense while serving as a photographer at the school's annual Sleaze Ball, a coming-out dance celebrating LGBTQ students, only to later realize that the "crew-cut-styled individual" was a woman.
Ultimately, the charges were dismissed, however, the passage in his book began to raise eyebrows after Schulman took to Twitter on Monday to share his thoughts on the violent Ray Rice elevator video, which shows the former football hero punching his wife and led to the NFL star being dropped by the Ravens.
Shulman's tweet, which insisted that "real men show patience and honor" has since been removed from his Twitter page following a string of backlash from former Sarah Lawrence students who claim that the incident went down quite differently than the MTV star detailed.
In the wake of the controversy, Schulman has released a statement, clarifying the intention behind his social media message.
"In college, I was in a situation where I was forced to defend myself, after being suddenly attacked," he said. "Charges were brought, but my case was almost immediately dismissed as this was clearly a case of self-defense. My post was meant to raise awareness and support for everyone affected by the awful abuses of domestic violence."
Grand Central Publishing
In his book, Schulman details the incident as follows:
I decided to photograph the school's annual Sleaze Ball, a night of debauchery, drugs, and girls dressed primarily in lingerie. While I was photographing, an individual who didn't like that I was taking pictures attempted to tackle me and smash my camera on the ground. Since the camera was attached to a strap around my neck, I found myself in a very unpleasant situation, much like a dog with a choke collar. In an effort to free myself, I punched the person and ran off; when I returned minutes later, I discovered that the short, stocky, crew-cut-styled individual that I'd fought with was a woman—a fact I hadn't been aware of in the heat of the moment. The next thing I knew, I'd been arrested.
The case was dismissed almost immediately, but Sarah Lawrence took the opportunity to toss me out once and for all. I never even finished my junior year. My attitude was, "Never mind. No big deal. I had it coming." It didn't matter much to me. But my mom was crushed. She'd always put her neck out for me more times than I could count, and now I was hurting her legacy at the school she loved so much. I'd finally screwed up so badly that it ended her relationship with Sarah Lawrence for good.
However, Vulture has spoken to a former student, who claims to be the woman Nev attacked, and she claims that the TV star did not act in self-defense.
"I confronted him, and asked him to stop taking pictures. I didn't tackle him and I certainly didn't choke him with his camera strap," she told Vulture, asking to remain anonymous. "I tapped his shoulder and he turned and hit me out of nowhere, I went down and he held me in a head lock and repeatedly punched me while I tried to get free...When I woke up the next day, my face was bruised, I was hurt, and a friend urged me to go to the hospital, which I did...I was advised not to press charges because it would be a difficult case to win, as I didn't have any broken bones and it would be his word against mine. I also felt intimidated because his lawyer had been waiting for me in the parking lot after my legal meeting...As an LBGT financial aid student I didn't think the chance of getting justice looked good."