A man made up a story about having a vile slur carved into his buttocks so he could hide from his partner that he was selling himself.
There has been outrage across Spain this week following reports that a 20-year-old man had been a victim of a homophobic attack.
It was alleged the victim was attacked by eight masked gang members at the entrance to his apartment building in the Malasana district of Madrid on Sunday.
The attackers were reported to have cut his lower lip with a knife while calling him a ‘s**t-eater’, and then scored the word ‘maricón’ into his buttocks – the Spanish equivalent of ‘f****t’.
Police promptly launched an investigation and said they were collecting ‘as much evidence as possible from security cameras and witnesses’.
‘Police are looking to arrest and identify these people and clarify whether it was really a homophobic attack or hate crime,’ they added.
‘This is the first assault of this kind we have heard of.’
But it turns out the victim, who is Spanish, had made a false report.
Local media reported the man admitted to police on Wednesday that he was a male prostitute and the injuries were consensual during sex.
He said he invented everything to keep his new partner, who was not aware of his work, so he felt he could not reveal it was a client who had made the incisions.
His story was reported to have unravelled when he was asked to make a police statement, and officers noted ‘abundant contradictions’ in his version.
The 20-year-old is now said to be facing charges for the equivalent of perverting the course of justice in Spain.
The alleged crime had sent shockwaves across the country, even among politicians.
Prime minister Pedro Sanchez had scheduled an urgent meeting of the hate crimes committee for this coming Friday.
He tweeted on Monday: ‘I condemn this homophobic attack most vehemently.
‘We won’t stand for it and we’ll keep working for an open and diverse country where no one is scared to be who they are, and in which we can all live safely and freely.’
Government spokesperson Isabel Rodríguez García said: ‘Hate crimes require the strongest social and political reproach.’
She added the Government would use ‘every legal instrument available’ to prevent ‘discourse that promotes hatred’.
Several protests were called in response to the alleged attack, with one planned on Wednesday night and on Saturday in Puerta del Sol square. One was called ‘they’re killing us’.
Spain’s LGBT+ community is still reeling from the shocking killing of Samuel Luiz, who was beaten to death near a nightclub in the northern city of Coruna.
Activists believe the attack on the gay 24-year-old man was motivated by homophobia.
Although a recent YouGov survey in Spain showed 91% of people would be supportive if a family member came out as lesbian, gay or bisexual, there are claims there is a growing issue with homophobic violence in the country.
According to the Madrid Observatory against LGBTphobia, there have been at least 103 homophobic assaults in Madrid in 2021, and 41% of LGBT+ Spaniards suffered harassment in the last year.
Campaigners say official statistics capture only a fraction of the problem because many incidents are not reported.
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