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Catfish’s Nev, expelled from college for punching a woman, claims self-defense, defends tweet

Catfish's Nev Schulman

Catfish’s Nev Schulman (Photo by MTV)

Catfish star Nev Schulman says he was trying to “raise awareness and support” about domestic violence when he tweeted an image of himself in an “abuse free” elevator, which was criticized in part because he was kicked out of college after punching a woman.

Monday, horrific video was released showing Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice knocking his now-wife unconscious in an elevator. Tuesday, Nev tweeted a selfie and wrote,

“Cowards make me sick. Real men show strength through patience & honor. This elevator is abuse free #RESPECT.”

The tweet was later deleted after it generated significant criticism, both for its flippant, self-congratulatory attitude and for its apparent hypocrisy. That’s because, as Gawker points out, Nev recently admitted that he was expelled from college for punching a woman.

In his book In Real Life: Love, Lies & Identity in the Digital Age, Nev writes:

“While I was photographing, an individual who didn’t like that I was taking pictures attempted to tackle me and smash my camera on the ground. Since the camera was attached to a strap around my neck, I found myself in a very unpleasant situation, much like a dog with a choke collar. In an effort to free myself, I punched the person and ran off; when I returned minutes later, I discovered that the short, stocky, crew-cut-styled individual that I’d fought with was a woman–a fact that I hadn’t been aware of in the heat of the moment. The next thing I knew, I’d been arrested. The case was dismissed almost immediately, but Sarah Lawrence took the opportunity to toss me out once and for all.

Gawker interviewed people who say they were there, one of whom calls his version “definitely bullshit.”

Following the criticism, the tweet was deleted. In a statement, Nev told The Wrap:

“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.”

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  • Andy Dehnart

    Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

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