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Ellen DeGeneres Speaks About Outed Student Tyler Clementi, Who Jumped Off the George Washington Bridge

By DNAinfo Staff on October 1, 2010 1:13pm

By Yepoka Yeebo

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN — Ellen DeGeneres said she is "devastated" by the death of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers freshman who jumped off the George Washington Bridge last week after learning that his roommate had broadcast his sexual encounter with another man.

"He was outed as being gay on the Internet and he killed himself," the gay rights advocate and entertainer said on Thursday's episode of the "Ellen DeGeneres Show."

"I want anyone out there who feels different and alone to know that I know how you feel, and there is help out there," she said choking back tears. "Things will get easier, peoples minds do change, and you should be alive to see it."

Tyler Clementi's body was found in the Hudson River after he apparently jumped off the George Washington Bridge.
Tyler Clementi's body was found in the Hudson River after he apparently jumped off the George Washington Bridge.
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DeGeneres was just one of a host of celebrities, groups and activists to comment on Clementi's suicide. The Empire State Pride Agenda, which works for the rights of LGBT New Yorkers, said that the college freshman's death was just one of many similar recent tragedies.

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic suicide of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers freshman who jumped off the George Washington Bridge because of the irresponsible and insensitive actions of his roommate and other peers," read a statement from the organization. "This is coming on the heels of similar tragedies across the country."

New York City sex advice columnist Dan Savage launched a YouTube channel to support bullied gay teens called "It Gets Better," encouraging older members of the LGBT community to post messages about how they overcame bullying.

"My reaction [to another suicide] was I wish I could have talked to this kid so I could have told him 'It gets better," he said, speaking to MTV news.

Tyler Clementi's body was spotted in the Harlem River on Wednesday afternoon, and identified on Thursday. Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, 18, and Rutgers freshman Molly Wei, 18, were arrested this week on invasion of privacy charges for using a webcam to record Clementi.

In the days before the suicide, a user that reports say may have been Clementi posted several several messages on gay forum JustUsBoys.com.

Gawker reported that on September 21, user "cit2mo" started a thread on JustUsBoys.com — which traced the post back to a Rutgers IP address — called "college roommate spying....."

The user said he asked to use the room he shared with his roommate alone, saying, "When I got back to the room I instantly noticed he had turned the webcam toward my bed. And he had posted online again....saying.... 'anyone want a free show just video chat me tonight?'"

The user believed to be Clemanti reported the incident to school authorities, according to a posting. His last posting, on September 22nd, said dorm authorities seemed to take the report seriously.

Hours after that message, Clementi drove to Fort Lee, N.J., parked his car and walked towards Manhattan.

Clementi posted a Facebook message moments before leaping to his death from the George Washington Bridge, writing "Jumping off the gw bridge. Sorry."