Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers student found guilty hate crimes for spying on his dorm roommate Tyler Clementi, is going on an media blitz to explain his side of the story. Ravi, who faces up to ten years in prison for the invasion of privacy and bias intimidation convictions, is planing an appeal: Yesterday, he told the Star-Ledger, "I wasn’t biased. I didn’t act out of hate and I wasn’t uncomfortable with Tyler being gay," and, in an interview to be broadcast tonight on 20/20, he says that spying on Clementi a second time during an intimate encounter "actually wasn't my idea."
In September 2010, Ravi had set up a webcam in the dorm room he shared with roommate Tyler Clementi and and viewed Clementi and Clementi's guest during intimate encounters, sometimes sharing a link to view the livestream via Twitter. Clementi killed himself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge the day after the second time he was filmed. While prosecutors have portrayed Ravi as homophobic, his lawyer and the witnesses speaking on his behalf said he was not homophobic, instead claiming he was simply acting immaturely. But jurors agreed with prosecutors, finding that Ravi invaded Clementi's and his guest's privacy twice and meant to intimidate Clementi when he spied a second time.
So, whose idea was it? "This kid"—Ravi's friend, Lokesh Ohja—"he wanted to see [Clementi's guest], so he says, 'Oh you should have your webcam like it was on Sunday so I can see who this guy is,'" Ravi said. Ohja testified that he helped Ravi set up the webcam to look directly at Clementi's bed on September 21.
Ravi has said that Clementi's guest, M.B., whom Clementi met online and only met in person at his Rutgers dorm, seemed sketchy, "sinister," and insisted that he wasn't trying to bully Clementi or that he was trying to publicize what was on his webcam to his friends. Referring to his Twitter messages, "That was me fooling around with my friends again, exaggerating, embellishing what was going on," adding to 20/20 host Chris Cuomo, "You're a guy, I'm a guy. I don't know any of my friends that would want to see two guys having sex with each other. And that's something that never even entered my mind, that anyone would watch it for that."
Ravi, who faces possible deportation over his conviction, admitted that he shouldn't have spied on Clementi a second time. He said, "I was only 18 years old" when this happened "...in 18 years of life, I don't see how someone could have so much hate towards a group of people for any reason." He also blamed technology, "If you take all the technology out, this is just like I looked into the window and then left...and then told a bunch of people about it. I think technology kind of makes it seem a lot worse."