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  HE SPEAKS

Dharun Ravi Finally Tells The World: “I’m Very Sorry About Tyler”

In an exclusive interview with the New Jersey Star-Ledger, Dharun Ravi has finally shown some remorse over the death of Tyler Clementi. Ravi was found guilty of bias intimidation (a hate crime) and invasion of privacy last Friday and faces up to 10 years in jail and deportation. Sentencing goes down May 21.

Here’s what Ravi said when asked what he felt after he found out Tyler was dead:

“I’m very sorry about Tyler. I have parents and a little brother, and I can only try to imagine how they feel. But I want the Clementis to know I had no problem with their son. I didn’t hate Tyler and I knew he was okay with me. I wanted to talk to his parents, but I was afraid. I didn’t know what to say. At first, I actually thought I could be helpful because as far as I knew, I was the last one to see him alive.”

But Ravi won’t admit that Clementi’s homosexuality caused him to treat him differently than if Clementi had been straight.

“I don’t even recognize the person I was two years ago,” he said, admitting he was insensitive and immature. “But I wasn’t biased. I didn’t act out of hate and I wasn’t uncomfortable with Tyler being gay.”

He shows surprising faith in his decision not to take a generous, jail-time-free plea deal, stating in no uncertain terms that he does not lament missing an easy out.

“I’m never going to regret not taking the plea. If I took the plea, I would have had to testify that I did what I did to intimidate Tyler and that would be a lie. I won’t ever get up there and tell the world I hated Tyler because he was gay, or tell the world I was trying to hurt or intimidate him because it’s not true.”

Lastly, Ravi says he’s sad that he’ll never know if his apology text ever got through to Clementi.

“One of the most frustrating parts is that he never got my apology. I texted an apology and when he didn’t answer, I e-mailed him. I told him I didn’t want him to feel pressure to have to move and that we could work things out.”

This was one of those times where you needed to pick up the freaking phone and call, Ravi. Maybe you’ll learn that as you grow up.

By:           Evan Mulvihill
On:           Mar 22, 2012
Tagged: , , , ,

  • 24 Comments
    • Polyboy
      Polyboy

      That…was an apology? It seemed more like self pity and more justifications.

      Mar 22, 2012 at 9:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Caleb
      Caleb

      I agree. That was no apology — that was an explanation of his actions.

      Mar 22, 2012 at 9:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tony
      Tony

      This dude is so slick. He will say anything if it makes him look better. Now he’s saying there was an apology email…I never remember hearing about any apology email sent to Tyler..everything was checked. Also, it was reported that if he took the plea deal, he most likely would have been deported so he wanted to chance it. Suck it up and do your time.

      Mar 22, 2012 at 9:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike
      Mike

      Remorse on appeal. Transparent. Sorry he was found guilty. Pathetic. Put him in jail where he belongs & THEN deport him!

      Mar 22, 2012 at 10:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • yaoming
      yaoming

      I think he sent the “apology” e-mail to cover his ass after he read Tyler’s FB post saying he was going to kill himself.

      Mar 22, 2012 at 11:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • patrocles
      patrocles

      Ravi’s attorney has orchestrated every move from the very beginning of this case, and the interview — and every “message point” in it — are no exception. The current goal is to influence the sentencing, of course.

      Mar 22, 2012 at 11:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mikel D McGrew
      Mikel D McGrew

      That was a classic example of the non apology! It is easy for him to claim such things now – Clementi, the victim cannot refute them. Ravi deserves from prison and then deportation. We don’t need his type in the United States – we have enought home grown bigots as it is.

      Mar 22, 2012 at 12:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Christopher Banks
      Christopher Banks

      If the text apology is indeed true, then yes, it was a time to call. I’ve sat in a room with a 20-year-old who was texting a friend back after just hearing the friend’s mother had died.

      Mar 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Caleb
      Caleb

      @Mikel D McGrew: Yes, Sir, we sure do!!!

      Mar 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • cwm
      cwm

      He kept his mouth shut because his lawyers told him an apology would sound like a confession. Now they’re telling him, “you might get a softer sentence if you can sound contrite.”

      Which he, uh…can’t. Nor was Ravi’s prior email even faintly convincing; it was a passive-aggressive litany of excuses, many of which (at least implicitly) blamed his roommate. Think Tyler would’ve changed his mind, had he read it?

      Mar 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Adrian
      Adrian

      The thing that bothers me the most about this case is that Ravi would have probably been sent to jail even if Clementis didn’t jump off the bridge, because Ravi broke the law.

      If someone breaks the law while trying to do you wrong you don’t go jumping off a bridge to your death. You press charges instead.

      Mar 22, 2012 at 4:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Shannon1981
      Shannon1981

      Please tell me no one is buying this BS. Just a lawyered up PR stunt to make sure his sentencing is light.

      Mar 22, 2012 at 5:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 5 · yaoming wrote, “I think he sent the “apology” e-mail to cover his ass after he read Tyler’s FB post saying he was going to kill himself.”

      You might want to consider that email messages have a string of headers normally hidden from users that indicate how the message was routed and at what times. Facebook typically requires users to log in before seeing someone’s postings. At a minimum, there would be time stamps indicating when web pages were viewed kept in server logs, including the IP address of the entity viewing it, but facebook can actually track a lot more by taking advantage of HTTP cookies. Since facebook’s business model appears to be to gather as much information about its users as possible, my guess is that facebook could in fact tell you precisely when Ravi viewed Tyler’s facebook pages (although facebook won’t say anything without a court order).

      Mar 22, 2012 at 6:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Real
      Real

      I wrote weeks ago that Ravi would not have any guilt. Gay people need to open their eyes. You would have seen this coming a mile away if you followed past cases and acknowledged heterosexual behavior.

      Mar 22, 2012 at 8:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Ehrenstein
    • mike 07042
      mike 07042

      @Shannon1981 Unfortunately, the Star Ledger, the New Jersey paper that printed this interview, has been repeatedly accepted Ravi’s excuses for his behaviour. This Sunday it published an editorial advocating for no jail time. The reason for leniency, according to the Star Ledger, was that it was natural for Ravi to single Clementi’s activity out for ridicule because it was homosexual activity, much, the paper argued, like obese and unattractive people might be singled out to be secretly filmed. This acceptance that homosexual sex is somehow a natural object of ridicule is disturbing and exactly why there are hate crimes laws on the books.

      Mar 22, 2012 at 11:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 16 · mike 07042 wrote, “The reason for leniency, according to the Star Ledger, was that it was natural for Ravi to single Clementi’s activity out for ridicule because it was homosexual activity, much, the paper argued, like obese and unattractive people might be singled out to be secretly filmed. This acceptance that homosexual sex is somehow a natural object of ridicule is disturbing and exactly why there are hate crimes laws on the books.”

      In fact, the Star Ledger’s editorial didn’t say that. You can read it at http://blog.nj.com/njv_editorial_page/2012/03/dharun_ravi_doesnt_deserve_pri.html and what it said was the following:

      “What Ravi and Wei did was beyond mean. But it’s not clear they did it specifically because Clementi was gay.

      “Yes, they treated him like a sideshow curiosity. But lascivious pranks aren’t uncommon in a freshman dorm, and you get the impression the same might have happened if the shy violinist had brought home an extremely obese or particularly unattractive woman he met online. How uncool — easy target.

      “Remember, while Ravi made fun of Clementi for being gay, Clementi made fun of Ravi for his Indian heritage. Both accused the other of being poor. These were two roommates who didn’t know how to talk to each other, so they wrote petty jibes online. They were immature, not trying to instill fear. As Star-Ledger columnist Kathleen O’Brien pointed out, the other kids in the dorm, who said nothing and did nothing to stop Ravi’s scheme, are culpable, too.”

      The editorial also states:

      “We searched for proof of homophobia in Ravi, but we should focus that scrutiny on ourselves. Do we tell our kids it’s okay to be gay? Why don’t we accept soldiers and teachers and athletes who are openly gay? Or allow gay people to marry whom they love, like everyone else?

      “What kind of despair prompted Clementi to step off that bridge? Maybe it’s something he internalized, that we as a society have taught.”

      Now, you may or may not agree with this editorial, but it is anything but a homophobic rant – homophobes do not ask, “Do we tell our kids it’s okay to be gay,” as a rhetorical question.

      Mar 23, 2012 at 2:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • cwm
      cwm

      @B: OK, so the NJ newspaper’s excuses for bullying were more tortuous than what one poster appeared to report. I won’t criticize that person; I’m glad that the average Queerty participant can write more concisely and sincerely than a professional journalist.

      So: here’s someone paid to write for a living, who has to jump through so many hoops to justify a mean-spirited act.

      Why? Well, perhaps simply because it’s indefensible.

      Is it also because–although (most) everyone claims to be concerned about the continuing increase in suicides among young GLBT people–when it comes time to hold someone responsible for the damage bullying causes, all that supposed “concern” suddenly shifts to the poor oppressed bullies.

      We’re once again encountering a common theme, which has often appeared among those on Queerty making excuses for Ravi. That being: Tyler is really the one at fault, because he was an unusually talented and sensitive young man. Which is another way of saying: he was too intellectual. He wasn’t extroverted enough. He was a nerd. Stack up enough of these stereotypes (some often levelled at…hey, whaddya know…gay men!) and the overall message is clear.

      Tyler’s suicide proves he wasn’t manly enough to take a joke. That there must have been something wrong with his character, or he would have just shrugged it off.

      What a load of bullshit!

      Bullies always target those who are most vulnerable.

      If someone’s been bullied frequently and intensely all their lives (as Tyler was), they’re more likely to suffer permanent damage from it.

      No, I don’t think putting Ravi in prison for ten years is going to solve the problem.

      But continuing to make excuses for bullies (which has made up about 80 to 90 percent of post-trial media coverage)–in the guise of hand-wringing about “hate crimes laws going too far,” etc.–will make certain the problem continues to get worse.

      Mar 23, 2012 at 3:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mike 07042
      mike 07042

      @B and @cwm. My summary of the article may not have captured every nuance of the rhetoric. But, the lengthy section quoted amply by B amply shows that the paper encouraged us to emphathize with Ravi because, after all, the sex to Ravi and Wei was a “sideshow curiousity.” The one aspect of the sex that was different from althe majorityl the other “hook ups” that we might assume were occuring at the dorm that night was that it occurred between 2 people of the same sex. That is what made it a “sideshow curiousity.” So, although the editorial may have expressly said that “it’s not clear that they [Ravi and Wei] did it because he was gay,” the logic of the editorial undercuts this claim. When you cut through all the rhetorical gymnastics in the editorial to the principles that one must accept to follow its conclusion, I believe that my previous statement accurately summarized its underlying logic.

      Mar 23, 2012 at 8:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 19 · mike 07042 wrote, “@B and @cwm. My summary of the article may not have captured every nuance of the rhetoric. But, the lengthy section quoted amply by B amply shows that the paper encouraged us to emphathize with Ravi because, after all, the sex to Ravi and Wei was a “sideshow curiousity.””

      Read the first sentence that I quoted: “What Ravi and Wei did was beyond mean. But it’s not clear they did it specifically because Clementi was gay.” The term “beyond mean” is not meant to encourage us to “emphathize [sic]” with Ravi. The paper was merely questioning whether his unacceptable behavior was due to an anti-gay bias as opposed to being an unusually mindless jerk.

      It also pointed out that a lot of things may have contributed to Clementi’s suicide so that Ravi’s behavior might simply have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Does anyone really think that spending years hearing middle school and high school students’ homophobic slurs, even if not directed at Clementi personally, would not have had an impact on him? The editorial was pointing out that parents in general who do not try to educate their children that anti-gay bias is wrong also share some responsibility.

      You might not agree with the editorial, but I don’t think it was an anti-gay one. It was really demanding a concerted effort to put an end to homophobic behavior.

      Mar 23, 2012 at 1:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mike 07042
      mike 07042

      @20. I don’t think that I’m going to persuade you B. Based on the fact that Clementi’s hook-up was singled out for ridicule and publicity, the first place to look is the distinguishing characteristic about that hook-up that made it videofeed-worthy. The only aspect that was different from the intimate conduct of a majority of the other young people in that dorm was that Tyler was gay and that he had the audacity to think that he could have a private 3 hours with a lover like all the straight couples in his dorm. I appreciate that the Star Ledger opines that “it’s not clear [Ravi and Wei] did it [i.e. made the tape] because he was gay.” But, it offers no alternative explanation for why this conduct was worthy of a video feed whereas all the other conduct was not. The fact that it was gay sex made it a “sideshow curiousity.”The facts clearly show that the sex was taped by Ravi because Clementi was gay and for no other reason. And, the paper’s “sideshow curiousity” statement tacitly acknowledges this.

      For the record, I appreciate that the Star Ledger came out early in favor of marriage equality and other progressive issues. I have never stated that even the sloppy logic evident by the editorial constitutes a “homophobic rant.” I don’t necessarily think that putting Ravi behind bars for any length of time or deporting him would serve any useful purpose. But, in this editorial, the Star Ledger has grossly mischaracterized the evidence.

      Apologies in advance for any spelling or grammatical lapses.

      Mar 23, 2012 at 6:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 21 · mike 07042 wrote, “I appreciate that the Star Ledger opines that “it’s not clear [Ravi and Wei] did it [i.e. made the tape] because he was gay.” But, it offers no alternative explanation for why this conduct was worthy of a video feed whereas all the other conduct was not.”

      But it did offer an alternative explanation: “But lascivious pranks aren’t uncommon in a freshman dorm, and you get the impression the same might have happened if the shy violinist had brought home an extremely obese or particularly unattractive woman he met online.” Note the last phrase, “he met online.” The question is whether the reaction was due to being gay or due to M.B. being obviously someone who was not a student. Did they stare at M.B. because he was there for gay sex or did they stare at him because he was noticeably older than they were (by an amount people wouldn’t notice later in life)?

      Also Molly Wei apparently showed the video stream to a few friends. Did Ravi go around telling people what was happening that night or did Molly’s friends start gossiping, with the story changing slightly with each retelling? There’s a lot of ways that the events M.B. reported might have happened. I’m sure his feelings of being looked on as a “slideshow curiosity” were real. The question is what caused the behavior that resulted in those feelings.

      Mar 24, 2012 at 2:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mike 07042
      mike 07042

      So he was taped because he was not a student, not because he was gay? C’mon. Do you even believe that?

      Mar 24, 2012 at 4:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 23 · mike 07042 wrote, “So he was taped because he was not a student, not because he was gay?”

      Nobody was “taped” at all. “Taped” means there was a recording. Aside from the use of newer technology, what they did was the equivalent of looking through a keyhole, as opposed to putting in a hidden camera and recording something for later viewing.

      As to why they set up the cam, there are a number of possibilities, and some reasonable ones would not make sense if they were older: in this case they were away from home for the first time in their lives, and only for a few weeks at that, and barely out of high school.

      The witnesses claimed that what they saw was for a few seconds in a corner of the frame. You’d think that if Ravi wanted to catch sexual activity, the cam would have been pointed straight at his roommate’s bed. Apparently it wasn’t (unless multiple witnesses were lying).

      Mar 26, 2012 at 2:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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