Clementi’s story also became linked to the It Gets Better project—an online collection of video monologues expressing solidarity with unhappy or harassed gay teens.
The site was launched the day before Clementi’s death, in response to the suicide, two weeks earlier, of Billy Lucas, a fifteen-year-old from Indiana who, for years, had been called a “fag” and told vicious things, including “You don’t deserve to live.” That October, President Barack Obama taped an It Gets Better message, referring to “several young people who were bullied and taunted for being gay, and who ultimately took their own lives.”It became widely understood that a closeted student at Rutgers had committed suicide after video of him having sex with a man was secretly shot and posted online.
Clementi’s death became an international news story, fusing parental anxieties about the hidden worlds of teen-age computing, teen-age sex, and teen-age unkindness.
ABC News and others reported that a sex tape had been posted on the Internet.
Their youngest son, Tyler, had died a year earlier, and the family’s tragedy was the silent focus of everyone in the room.
That September, Tyler Clementi and Ravi were freshman roommates at Rutgers University, in a dormitory three miles from the courtroom.
Ellen De Generes declared that Clementi had been “outed as being gay on the Internet and he killed himself.
Something must be done.”Enraged online commentary called for life imprisonment for Ravi and Wei, and Ravi’s home address and phone number were published on Twitter. Garden State Equality, a New Jersey gay-rights group, released a statement that read, in part, “We are sickened that anyone in our society, such as the students allegedly responsible for making the surreptitious video, might consider destroying others’ lives as a sport.” Governor Chris Christie, of New Jersey, said, “I don’t know how those two folks are going to sleep at night, knowing that they contributed to driving that young man to that alternative.” Senator Frank Lautenberg and Representative Rush Holt, both from New Jersey, introduced the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act.CNN claimed that Clementi’s room had “become a prison” to him in the days before his death.Next Media Animation, the Taiwanese company that turns tabloid stories into cartoons, depicted Ravi and Wei reeling from the sight of Clementi having sex under a blanket.Ravi had made four court appearances since his indictment.That morning’s hearing was intended to set a trial date, and to consider motions previously submitted by Steven Altman, Ravi’s lawyer.Keybowvio noted that his electronic folders were fastidiously organized; perhaps jokingly, he added, “i have ocd.”In the next few minutes, Ravi wrote “wtf”—“what the fuck”—seven times.