Channing Smith went through hell mentally: a so-called girlfriend from his class had leaked his spicy messages with a boy on her Instagram and Snap Chat Profile. Now everyone in his circle of friends suddenly knew that he had gay feelings. For the 16-year-old boy from Manchester (Tennessee) the humiliation was too high, he saw no other way out than to commit suicide.
Smith had just completed a shift at Burger King on September 22nd. At 22 hours he went to his bedroom. His brother suspects that he then discovered what the girl had done.
A lively telephone conversation followed, in which he even announced that he would commit suicide. However, the girl did not take any action.
Finally, on social media, Smith announced that he would take a break. “I really hate how I can’t trust anyone because those I did were so fake. Bye,” was his last message. At 4 a.m., his father found his body in his room.
The betrayal involved another of Smith’s ‘comrades’. “They did it purely to humiliate my brother,” mourns his brother Joshua (38). “We live in a small rural village. Imagine going to school the next day. He would have been laughed at anyway.”
The instigators are now threatening to get rid of it without any punishment, and Joshua is having a hard time with that. “We are willing to forgive in our hearts, but we would still like to see some follow-up to this case. Of course, those children shouldn’t be convicted of murder, but there is extensive harassment and involuntary manslaughter here.”
Whether there will be a process at all is not guaranteed. “We are now trying to create a storm, to put pressure on the issue of justice. We owe that to my brother.”
“Pain is indescribable”
“Apparently Channing confessed to some people that he was gay or bisexual,” Joshua continues. “As a family, we knew nothing, but we certainly wouldn’t have made a problem of it. The only thing that mattered was his luck.”
“It must be terrible if the whole world suddenly knows something so sensitive about you. He should have had the opportunity to come out with it himself. These days, social media have unfortunately become so powerful that they can be used as a weapon of destruction.”
“One photo is enough to push someone’s life,” Channing’s mother concludes. “The pain I feel is indescribable. How can anyone joke like that? I cannot understand that with my mind.”