According to Gawker, “Catfish” host and author of “In Real Life: Love, Lies and Identity in the Digital Age,” Nev Schulman was kicked out of Sarah Lawrence for punching a woman in the face at a party. The incident isn’t invented — Schulman mentions it in his book — but his description of events in the book doesn’t jibe with what Gawker learned in interviews.
The different stories stem from Schulman’s claim that he acted in self-defense and didn’t realize he was punching a woman. Gawker’s anonymous sources suggested that what actually happened is that Schulman tried to photograph two women kissing, and when he ignored their request to stop, one of the women put her hand on his camera, at which point he punched her. Gawker also dug up a Tumblr post from last year that says the same thing, and they even found the DJ from the event, who said there was no way Schulman didn’t realize he was hitting a woman. Schulman has since released the following statement through a publicist:
In college, I was in a situation where I was forced to defend myself, after being suddenly attacked. Charges were brought, but my case was almost immediately dismissed as this was clearly a case of self-defense. My post was meant to raise awareness and support for everyone affected by the awful abuses of domestic violence.
In the excerpt from Schulman’s book about the incident, he says only that someone didn’t like that he was taking pictures and then grabbed his camera, which was on a strap around his neck. He compared the feeling to being “like a dog with a choke collar.” He says he threw the punch only to free himself, and only discovered later that the person he’d hit was a woman.
It’s the second day in a row of trouble for the new author. Schulman landed himself in hot water yesterday after posting a selfie of himself in an elevator with the caption “Cowards make me sick. Real men show strength through patience & honor. This elevator is abuse free. #RESPECT.” Whether the tweet was meant as tongue in cheek or not, Schulman took enough heat for it that he subsequently deleted it.