Yasmin Seweid disappeared. Then her story did.
The Baruch College freshman’s tale of subway harassment by a trio of inebriated Donald Trump-supporting assailants unraveled on Wednesday after New York City police failed to find a single witness or any security footage corroborating the teen’s colorful account.
“Trump America is real and I witnessed it first hand last night!” Seweid wrote on Facebook on December 2. “What a traumatizing night.”
The trauma allegedly included the intoxicated triumvirate ripping a strap from a handbag and attempting to pull the hijab from her head. All the while, they chanted “Trump! Trump!” and issued such insulting comments as, “Look, it’s a f—ing terrorist” and “Get the hell out of the country!”
“It breaks my heart that so many individuals chose to be bystanders while watching me get harassed verbally and physically by these disgusting pigs,” Seweid declared on her Facebook page, which, like her, ultimately became inaccessible in the aftermath of the story. The truth, too, proved elusive, as Seweid clung to her story for nearly two weeks before confessing to the hoax on Wednesday.
The cops charged her with two misdemeanors, obstructing governmental administration and filing a false report, that each potentially carries a year behind bars upon conviction.
The fact that the political demographics in Manhattan don’t exactly match Montana’s made the entire saga difficult to digest. In the big borough on the tiny island where the faux incident supposedly took place, Clinton ballot-box supporters outnumbered Trump voters 515,481 to 58,935. But Make America Great Again enthusiasts apparently peopled this particular subway car, with onlookers refusing to intervene and three Trump supporters feeling comfortable in Clinton Country to terrorize a beautiful young woman in public.
With such inconvenient truths clashing with an all-too-convenient narrative, true believers believed.
“The incident is another in a growing list of bias crimes across the city since Trump’s election,” the New York Daily News reported. “Yasmin’s experience seems to be one of the growing number of racially motivated attacks that have occurred in the wake of Donald Trump’s surprise electoral victory,” Rafi Schwartz wrote at Fusion. Buzzfeed, which apparently neglects to add an “alleged” when the accused support the president-elect, elected to headline its story on the matter: “Drunk Men Yelling ‘Donald Trump’ Attempt To Remove Woman’s Hijab On NYC Subway.”
The story now gets scrubbed away like its author’s Facebook page. But the narrative remains.
On MSNBC Wednesday night, Joy Reid asked of hate crimes against Muslim Americans, “How do we know those crimes will be continued to be prosecuted?” Filling in for Rachel Maddow, Reid played footage of the regular host’s interview with Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “In terms of anti-Muslim hate crimes, [it’s] the biggest upsurge since 9/11,” Maddow claimed, which provoked a lengthy response from Lorretta Lynch on how Muslims constitute “our neighbors and friends and family members.”
They certainly do for Yasmin Seweid, whose father noted her late arrival home on December 1. Kids say the darndest things to escape the wrath of a strict Muslim parent—especially when their clandestine date with a Christian runs past curfew.
It was no hate crime. It was a crime of passion.