Today Google Alerts made me aware of this "report" from


I'll let the art speak for itself and simply post a Moment from The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later as rebuttal. What was clear to me after reading The Laramie Project Cycle, then seeing it for the first time on stage last month at BAM, and especially after reading the linked "report," we still have work to do!


(Oh, and in terms of its claims that the Matthew Shepard Foundation is misappropriating funds and involved in unorthodox and inapproproate fundraising campaigns, I urge the "authors" to review the 990s from other not-for-profits. Or perhaps they just don't understand how not-for-profits operate?)


MOMENT: 20/20



Cathy Connolly, University of Wyoming professor.



There was a generation or two generations of students who came to this university believing

that the story of Matthew Shepard was relevant. That this was part of their history and they

wanted to know more about it. That was the sense that I had in the past. And they were aware

that they were in the same rooms, walking the same little paths that both Matthew and the

perpetrators walked. But now, new students don’t come to the university either knowing or

caring or thinking it’s relevant to their lives


Because here is what else is going on with Matthew Shepard. There was a 20/20 episode that came out in 2004—six years after Matthew was killed—and the implication of that TV program was that it wasn’t a hate crime, but a robbery or drug deal gone bad. And people here in Laramie at that time were pretty livid given the inaccuracies.



When 20/20 called me for an interview,



Dave O’Malley, lead investigator on the Shepard case for the Laramie Police Dept.


I asked them “What exactly are you all doing?” And they said,


It’s an objective, what’s-going-on-six-years-after type of a thing.


They came to our house and the producer Glenn Silber and Elizabeth Vargas, and my wife Jen

and I, sat at THAT table (he points to his living room table). And I asked them, “Is there any

specific focus that you are directing this piece to?”



“No no no no don’t worry about that.”


And Elizabeth Vargas went in our bathroom and changed clothes and we set up and did the

interview. And shortly into it, it popped straight to the methamphetamine thing.


Nov. 26, 2004 — This is 20/20.

The story of Matthew Shepard garnered national attention when the attack was characterized as

a hate crime. But Shepard's killers, in their first interview since their convictions, tell 20/20 that

money and drugs motivated their actions that night, not hatred of gays.


While McKinney and Henderson admit to killing Shepard, both men now say the real story is not

what it seemed.


It was very shocking to me to see that.


Laramie resident Jan Lundhurst


They were interviewing the murderers after they’d been in prison for many years, and I thought,

well, yeah, you can change your story however you want to now. They completely changed

what they had said in their confessions.


It angered me more than anything the things 20/20 DIDN’T say—[the things they left out.] I

mean how do you come in and a) lie to me but b) put a piece together that’s based solely on

meth heads from the Buckhorn Bar and two convicted murderers. And I’m just goin’ “Holy Crap!”


(Holding up the email)

After they left I found a hard copy of an email from Glen Silber to Elizabeth Vargas, and I can give you a copy of it, it said,



“Although Dave is a highly skilled investigator and was the key to solving the crime quickly, he

fell into the hate crimes motivation early and our piece will ultimately discredit that flawed



And I read that and I went these assho—excuse me I-- get a little angry. These guys sit in my

house and lie to me. And Silber drives all the way back to Colorado and our phone rings and

he says,


“UhhDid we leave anything there?”



And I said, “Yeah and my wife has already scanned it and sent it to Judy Shepard, and she sent

it to her attorney in D.C. and you can come back and get it if you want to.” And he drove all the

way back from Denver and—I-I- I’m not a violent individual but I really did want to choke him.




And we used to watch 20/20 every week... .



PBS did a nice rebuttal they went point by point through the entire thing pointing out the false

statements, the leading questions, the quotes taken out of context but how many people watch PBS and how many people watch 20/20?



There are things straight from the trial, the reality of the actual confession, everything that happened in the trial gave us the truth and we thought because it was the truth and the truth played out here – that the truth would prevail. But the reality is, that over time, that 20/20 piece has made a tremendous negative impact on how Matthew Shepard’s murder is perceived. And this is –– this is personal—there’s a perception and belief now that it was a drug deal gone bad and that’s all. So you asked me how I felt? I go catatonic after things like this. This is our history.



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