Seth Loven competed in MTV’s “Copycat” singing competition. He said he has had roles in two movies – as Johnny’s best friend in ABC’s remake of “Dirty Dancing” and as a background actor in the upcoming “Shots Fired” television series.
But it’s his role as president of LGBT Burke that has brought him the most attention in his hometown of Morganton.
“People have been ugly and bigoted,” said Loven, 22.
At an HB2 protest this year, he said, passersby called him and other participants “faggots.” They told them they were going to hell. One pickup truck stopped in the road and belched a large plume of black smoke over the group.
In July, it got personal.
After the local newspaper ran a story about fundraising for a Burke Pride festival, Loven said he was threatened on Facebook by someone who wrote that he “would be one less fag.” On Sept. 3, the day of the festival, Loven said, he found a threatening message on his car: “You die.”
But it was an online exchange that same day – which Facebook subsequently removed – that alarmed him especially:
“Faggot fest going on in Morganton today,” a man wrote on his public page.
“Target practice,” another Facebook user replied.
Burke County Sheriff Steve Whisenant said his office received a complaint about the postings and submitted the information to the district attorney “to determine if the act met the guidelines for prosecution.”
When asked what District Attorney David Learner had decided, a spokesman for his office provided the newspaper with a written reply sent that same day to the sheriff.
In the letter, Learner said he reviewed the elements of four possible crimes – communicating threats, cyberbullying, ethnic intimidation and terrorism – and recommended that no charges be filed: “The alleged Facebook statements do not fulfill the elements of any one of these statutes,” he wrote. “If you are aware of any other criminal statute that might apply to this Facebook exchange, please let me know and I will be glad to review the same.”
Despite the continuing harassment, Loven said, “I’m not moving from my hometown. I want to make a difference.”