On a recent episode of the Spanish-language reality TV show Caso Cerrado (Case Closed), a Judge Judy-style courtroom program in which Judge Ana María Polo resolves people’s claims, a university student sued his former friend and fraternity brother for allegedly drugging him, hiring a man to sleep in his bed next to him and then uploading video of it onto social media as a cruel homophobic prank that ruined his life.
This strange and dramatic episode of Caso Cerrado highlights the role of homophobia in international fraternity culture and the way that homosexuality is still used in some Spanish-language media for sensationalism.
The two were at a college celebration. The plaintiff, named Hiverson, alleges that he and the defendant (Joseph) became friends because he would regularly defend the defendant from on-campus bullies. He also said that he helped Joseph get into his fraternity and that the two ended up together at a fraternal hotel party one night.
Hiverson had been drinking and smoking hookah and eventually passed out only to be woken up in his hotel room by his girlfriend. When he came to, his girlfriend (who was recording the incident) asked, “Who’s this?” and gestured to the man sleeping in the bed next to him.
Hiverson immediately freaked out, smacked the phone out of his girlfriend’s hand and proceeded to fight the stranger in bed with him, breaking a hotel lamp and television in the process.
He claims that the humiliation (and resulting criminal charges) caused him to lose his girlfriend and be kicked out his fraternity and his sports team and lose his college scholarship.
Hiverson went on the show to sue Joseph for $75,000 (his remaining university tuition) so that he can finish university and then leave the state.
However, Joseph says that Hiverson has it all wrong. And that far from being friends, Hiverson only protected him from others’ bullying so that he could make Joseph “his personal slave” to do his homework and wash his clothes.
Joseph claims that Hiverson subjected him to annual fraternity hazing and says that he made Joseph publicly wear a sign that said “25-year-old virgin” and then allegedly forced him to masturbate in public as part of a humiliating hazing ritual. (Joseph even supplied a picture of the ritual with Hiverson standing nearby as evidence to the judge.)
Joseph claims that he saw Hiverson “swapping spit” with another man during their night of drinking and hookah smoking. He says the two started groping and stimulating one another’s genitals.
“He might deny it, but he’s sick… He’s an alcoholic,” Joseph said.
Joseph said that he tried to pull Hiverson away from his lover, but that Hiverson threatened to hit him. So Joseph left them alone and then went to the house of Hiverson’s girlfriend to tell her that Hiverson was making a drunken scene of himself.
Joseph then claims that he gave Hiverson’s girlfriend a key to his friend’s hotel room (why he had one is not entirely clear, though Joseph says it has to do with the fraternity members all staying in the same hotel), and the girlfriend checked on Hiverson.
The girlfriend claims that she didn’t upload the video to social media, and claims to have deleted it, but if that’s so, it’s unclear how the video made it online.
Here’s the Caso Cerrado gay fraternity brother episode:
Three surprise witnesses make an appearance in this dramatic episode of Caso Cerrado: Hiverson’s girlfriend, a professor speaking on Hiverson’s behalf and the man that Hiverson woke up next to.
We won’t give away all the surprises, but the women come out looking the best in this case: Judge Polo discourages Joseph from using a anti-gay slur (mostly because you can’t say it on TV) while Hiverson’s girlfriend does not come off homophobic when recounting the incident.
If anything, Hiverson’s case proves that waking up next to a man in bed isn’t the worst thing in the world, but reacting badly to it can be.