Another Hate-Crime Hoax? The Left Tells Stories Too Bad to be True

We thought we knew this tragic story.

It was late and Matthew Shepard, a young gay college student in Wyoming, needed a ride home. He left the Fireside Lounge with two strangers who offered a lift. Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson were not Good Samaritans, however. They took Shepard to a remote outskirt of Laramie, tied him to a fence post and pistol-whipped him so many times that the cyclist who found him the next day mistook him for a scarecrow.

The media told Shepard’s story repeatedly, explaining the two murderers had gone into a homophobia-induced rage when Shepard came onto them. JoAnn Wypijewski described the immediate aftermath of the murder in Harper’s Magazine, “Press crews who had never before and have not since lingered over gruesome murders of homosexuals came out in force, reporting their brush with a bigotry so poisonous it could scarcely be imagined.”

Groups like GLAAD moved in and defined the narrative: This is what happens when homosexuality isn’t fully embraced as part of mainstream society. In fact, as Breitbart’s Austin Ruse writes, this attack had enormous cultural consequences:

Almost immediately Shepard became a secular saint, and his killing became a kind of gay Passion Play where he suffered and died for the cause of homosexuality against the growing homophobia and hatred of gay America.

Indeed, a Mathew Shepard industry grew rapidly, with plays and foundations along with state and even national hate-crimes legislation named for him. Rock stars wrote songs about him, including Elton John and Melissa Etheridge. Lady Gaga performed John Lennon’s “Imagine” and changed the lyrics to include Shepard.

Even before Shepard died, two of his friends were peddling the narrative that he died at the hands of vicious homophobes. Within days, the gay establishment latched onto what would drive the hate-crimes story for years to come; even now, the Laramie Project, a stage play about the killing, is performed all over the country. Indeed, it will be performed next week at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.

But what if everything we knew about the Matthew Shepard story was a lie?

Read about how this wasn’t a hate crime at all here.

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About Nancy French

Nancy French is a three time New York Times Best Selling Author.

  • Rozy

    Well, what else can we expect from the followers and pawns of the Father of Lies? Thanks for sharing this. It is difficult to believe anything the “left” says.

  • praxagora

    Why would you write this? I find you astonishing

    • David French

      The truth matters.

      • praxagora

        And you know the truth? The fact is that only Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson actually know what happened. And even if the very few anonymous sources in Jimenez’s book are correct and McKinney and Shepard had a previous relationship; how does that refute the idea that he was killed because of his sexuality? A closeted gay man or a straight man who has engaged in gay sex in order to get drug money is certainly capable of an anti-gay hate crime.
        And I would ask again, why did you post this? Not to find out the truth; because the truth is that gay men and women are at constant risk in this country of being attacked and even murdered for the sake of their identity. Just read the recent accounts of gay men being attacked and killed in NYC over the past two years.
        You posted this only to minimize what happened to Matthew Shepard. To make his death seem like less of a tragedy and that’s shameful

    • Mo86

      So you complained to the pro-gay magazine The Advocate with this same comment, right? They are the ones who broke the story and even admitted they did so to push their agenda of normalizing homosexuality.

      • praxagora

        Does the Advocate exist in order to host a conversation through the lens of faith?

        • Mo86

          No clue what you’re on about, especially since there’s no mention of “faith” in anything I’ve said here.

          Now, how about answering my question?

          • praxagora

            Patheos exists in order to host a conversation through the lens of faith.

          • Mo86

            So… no answer to my question, eh?


          • praxagora

            You haven’t asked a question worth answering. The Advocate should not have published this article in my opinion. It’s not responsible journalism since Jimenez has a history of untruths concerning Matthew Shepard and some conflicts of interest. But the job of the Advocate is to raise stories about issues relating to the LGBT community. Patheos is supposed to be a place to discuss issues of faith and community, and I would ask, again, how does this article contribute to that?

          • Mo86

            “You haven’t asked a question worth answering.”

            Sure I have. You’re complaining about someone telling the facts of a story, here, on a website that few people see. (Compared to a well known magazine.) I asked if you complained to The Advocate, which is where the story was first seen.

            “The Advocate should not
            have published this article in my opinion.”

            Thank you for admitting that. Thank you for admitting that what you want is for the media to print lies for the express purpose of influencing the public.

            When it comes to promoting homosexuality even printing outright lies is acceptable in your view, as long as it presents the issue of homosexuality in a positive light. Facts do not matter.

            Many of us have known this for years. But I appreciate someone from the other side admitting it on the internet for the world to see.

          • praxagora

            I think that your agenda-driven little mind is interfering with your reading comprehension.
            Jimenez has a history with the Matthew Shepard story; including a close personal friendship with the attorney of one of his murderers. He has been criticized for telling untruths about this story in the past and his book seems to more of the same.

            As I said in my previous comment; that’s why I don’t believe they should have printed it.

            Can you point to where I said that printing lies about homosexuality is acceptable? Because you won’t be able to. Just because someone wrote a book doesn’t actually mean that it is true. You’re aware of that, right?

            What I object to about this article is the ugliness of its title, and the fact that Ms French felt it necessary to even post it here. It makes Christians look bad to revel in this type of nastiness.

  • Peter

    Nancy, so you “know” that the book is the truth, but prior stories about Matthew Sheppard are a “lie”, eh?

    Perhaps you should present the irrefutable truth, instead of expecting your readers to accept your story on faith?

    That is not to say that either I believe or disbelieve the book, I don’t have the foggiest idea about it. I don’t really know much about Matthew Sheppard either.

    I do know, however, that hate crimes against homosexuals have taken place, and that is a fact. Perhaps you want to write about the murder of Mark Carson in New York City recently? You can find the article at the Wall Street Journal here:

    So, I guess I am wondering what your point is? Oh yeah, somehow the entire “left” made up a story about a hate crime perpetrated against a gay man….yeah that’s the ticket, eh?

    Don’t you have constructive ways to express your faith? I haven’t seen much here.

  • zendodeb

    Look up Ryan Keith Skipper. You never head of him, he never became a big-media cause. But he is just as dead. The 2 who killed him were not high. They killed him because he was gay.

  • Sagrav

    From the original Advocate article that your own article uses as its primary source:
    “…what’s striking throughout his book is how desperate McKinney is to refute allegations that he is gay or bisexual — even at the expense of undermining his own case. Whether it was a hate crime, a drug crime, or a combination of the two, it’s hard to shake the suspicion that self-hate and a misguided culture of masculinity, which taught McKinney to abhor in himself what Shepard had learned to embrace, was as complicit as anything else in the murder of Matthew Shepard.”

    So Matthew Shepard’s murder was still a hate crime, just a more complicated hate crime then we previously knew. A lot of anti-LGBT violence is perpetrated by individuals desperate to prove that they are different and superior to their victims. This article in no way diminishes the impact or implications of Matthew Shepard’s death.

  • lebaugh4846

    Nicely written article Nancy. Of course those who prefer to believe a lie won’t be swayed. They’ll continue on in their delusional mindset.