Vice-President Joe Biden is trying to keep a narrative alive long after it’s been debunked, by talking to a friendly audience about the gay martyr who wasn’t.
In his remarks at the million-dollar dinner thrown Saturday night in Washington, D.C. by the gay Human Rights Campaign, Biden mentioned a bill named after Matthew Shepard, whose murder in 1998 made global news and even now is remembered in hushed tones.
It is now endlessly repeated that 21-year old Shepard was killed because he was gay, that he was targeted by total strangers who lured him out on a deserted and snowy road, tied him to a fence post, tortured and killed him. Shepard was compared to Jesus Christ and his killing launched thousands of headlines, magazine covers and dozens of hate crimes laws.
The problem is that almost this entire story is false.
A book published two years ago by an award winning gay filmmaker makes the case that Shepard was a troubled young man, a drug dealer, who was killed by a man he not only knew but someone he dealt drugs to and had gay sex with.
In The Book of Matt, author Stephen Jimenez demonstrates that Shepard traveled in dark and dangerous drug circles and that his choices eventually caught up with him. He was murdered over a contested drug shipment. His lover-killer dressed the crime scene up as a hate-crime to throw detectives off his trail. Gay advocates took the meme and ran with it and are running with it still.
The gay Human Rights Campaign dinner drew 3,500 well heeled, famous and powerful attendees including actresses Allison Janney and Ellen Page, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Eric Fanning, newly appointed Secretary of the Army.
Follow Austin Ruse on Twitter @austinruse