A young man who told police he was beaten up in a would-be hate crime appeared in court today admitting that he made the entire incident up.
The story of Joseph Baken travelled from Missoula, Montana across the country when a picture of his scratched and bruised face made waves on the internet.
Now, Baken has declared in court that he made the false police report after video surfaced of him attempting to do a back flip and failing.
Police say that Baken initially claimed three men beat him early Sunday after he went into a Missoula bar, announced it was his birthday and asked if anyone knew where he could find a gay bar.
Photos of Baken’s badly bruised face were posted on an anti-homophobia Facebook page and other sites, and the case prompted widespread support from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
The site alleged that the fictitious assailants used anti-gay curses targetted at Baken’s homosexuality.
‘Nobody deserves this, especially no just because of your sexuality,’ the organizers wrote on the Wipe Out Homophobia page.
Shortly after the case began to rise to national attention, police received an anonymous video of Baken attempting to do a backflip off of a street curb and subsequently hitting his face on the sidewalk.
As a result, he was charged with filing a false police report, to which he plead guilty on Wednesday.