Last week, Gawker received an anonymous tip attempting to stoke moral outrage within at least one of us, in hopes that we’d share it with the world. We receive quite a few tips of this nature, but the difference here was that the outrage was so obviously counterfeit, and so clearly calculated to get us to promote the object of that counterfeit outrage.

The supposed infraction had to do with Michael Alig, the notorious club kid and subject of the film Party Monster, who was released from prison in 2014 after spending 17 years locked up for killing his drug dealer, Andre “Angel” Melendez. The tip alerted us to the existence of a new short film (around 4 minutes long) by one Sebastian Sommer that features Alig discussing his time in prison (specifically regarding grooming) and looking on as another actor uses a hammer to destroy a portable DVD player (Alig confessed to hitting Melendez over the head with a hammer).

The email mischaracterized Alig’s appearance as “making a joke about his murder,” as well as his current publicly expressed attitude regarding the death of Melendez, which he told me by phone “may never be forgivable.” Even if the tip email had been correct about the content of the film, though, something even grosser than Alig glibly referencing the murder he committed (he was formally charged with manslaughter as part of his plea deal) to promote himself is a third party taking Alig to task for doing so, while using the murder to promote both himself and his movie. That’s not just bad taste, that’s hypocritical bad taste.

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Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to 23-year-old filmmaker Sebastian Sommer.

Here’s the initial email that was sent to our general tip line:

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From: Arca Spillage <[REDACTED]>
To: <tips@gawker.com>
Subject: Michael Alig Stars in Film That Makes Fun of Murder
Date: March 3rd at 11:44 AM

Hello! Have something I need to tell you.

Notorious personality Michael Alig, famous for killing a drug dealer and going to prison for it, being a part of the Club Kids, and being the subject of film ‘Party Monster’ is at it again with another controversy.

Since being released from prison Michael Alig has starred in a short film called [REDACTED] that features him making a joke about his murder. The controversial incident famously featured a hammer and in this film Michael Alig gives a young protege a hammer so as to smash something with. He talks about going to prison and being just like everyone else in a joking manner. This film is an outrage and completely insensitive and after getting ahold of this private link I felt the strong need to leak it with you. This person got away with murder and the way he treats his crime is completely unacceptable. The film also features crack smoking, strangulations, and instagram famous losers.

this is the link:

[REDACTED]

password: [REDACTED]

I know that this short film is going to be premiering this upcoming week. It was directed by Sebastian Sommer, an untalented, annoying, troublemaker who famously made a film about suicide with Trans actress/superstar Hari Nef and redhead Julianne Moore wannabe India Menuez.

This disgusting perversion needs to be brought to peoples attention.

Arca

A few hours later, director Sebastian Sommer friend-requested me on Facebook. I did not accept the request. Then, in my personal inbox, I received this expanded version of the original pitch:

From: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
To: richjuz@gmail.com
Date: Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 2:11 PM
Subject: Michael Alig Juicy Tip for Gawker

Hello! Have a juicy tip i wanted to pitch you for Gawker.

Notorious personality Michael Alig, famous for killing a drug dealer and going to prison for it, being a part of the Club Kids, and being the subject of film ‘Party Monster’ is at it again with another bizarre controversy and project to add to his warped legacy.

Since being released from prison Michael Alig has been making a name for himself as an actor. He just starred in a short film called [REDACTED] that features him making a joke/reference to his murder!! The controversial incident that sent him to prison famously featured a hammer and in this short film Michael Alig gives a young protege of his a hammer so as to smash something with. He also speaks comically about going to prison and being just like everyone else in a joking manner that I don’t find funny.

This is terrible! This person got away with murder and yet the way he treats his wrongdoing is completely unacceptable. The film also features crack smoking, strangulations, and instagram famous models alongside Michael Alig acting like a complete fool. I know for a fact that this short film is going to be premiering this upcoming week with LA based [REDACTED] Magazine. I know all of this because I am friends with someone who stars in it and when they sent me the private link I quickly became outraged at the insensitivity presented here! Michael Alig may be somewhat of a gay icon but the way he goes about things is very troubling to me.

this is the link:

[REDACTED]

password: [REDACTED]

The controversy continues though! It was directed by Sebastian Sommer (who is that right?!) an annoying, native new yorker, film brat who famously made a film about suicide with Trans actress/superstar Hari Nef and who is now caught in his own drama with Michael Alig, allegedly being accused of stealing Michaels iPad shortly after making the film. Who in their right mind steals an iPad from a convicted murderer? Michael has been calling Sebastians grandmother in the middle of the night in tears, begging Sebastian to bring the iPad back, which Sebastian claims he didn’t touch.

It is important for people to see that Michael is back to his old ways of recklessness, and I figured I would send you all of this information. I can provide additional proof of things if need be like screenshots of text messages between Michael and Sebastian about the missing iPad. I would rather not reveal who I am but I will reiterate that I am a close friend with an actor in the film and I want this insanity to come to light.

What follows is the rest of our exchange, which spanned several days, verbatim:

From: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
To: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
Date: Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 3:35 PM

Wouldn’t my writing about this just serve to promote a movie that you find morally reprehensible, though?

From: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
To: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 7:36 PM

Because Michael Alig is in it and the filmmaker behind the project blows everyone and gets loads of press anyways it’s slated to be promoted heavily unfortunately ;-( so I wanted to reach out to you because I felt like this was the chance to paint the picture that this movie is not a comeback for Michael and to show people what it actually is! <3

From: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
To:Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 7:44 PM

AND the fact that the filmmaker allegedly took Michael Aligs iPad and that this scandal which is being investigated by the authorities will not be mentioned in any of the press and this needs to come to light as well

From: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
To: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
Date: Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 8:23 PM

All of this seems like really elaborate marketing to me (Sommer friend requesting me on Facebook today between you sending your tip to the general Gawker email and my personal one only strengthens my suspicion).

If you can prove that it isn’t—that you are in no way connected to the film (which I think you are given how much you know about it, or you just are really up in other people’s business)—I might be persuaded to write about it.

However, if you admit that you ARE connected to the film and this is an attempted stunt to trick me into covering your movie, I’ll almost certainly write about that.

From: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
To: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 3:23 AM

I didn’t want Michael or the filmmaker tying this back to me but I have decided to give you the full scoop. I initially acted in the film and then had them cut my scenes out of the movie. I was not aware that Michael Alig was going to be in it, let alone make a joke about his murder and give someone a hammer, a fucking hammer!!! to smash something with in slow motion, making a mockery of Angels death. I am outraged and I want this film completely condemned before it gets released and I want the masturbatory press that the filmmaker and Michael Alig get to be completely tainted by what I’m revealing to you, I am offended that this criminal gets to prance around freely, making a joke on his murderous past . I have included the scandalous text messages between the filmmaker and Michael (in which Michael gets kicked out of his house and the filmmaker tells him to stop taking drugs) for you as a bonus xoxoxo

From: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
To: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 1:00 PM

What are your thoughts?

From: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
To: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
Date: Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 1:07 PM

Refer to the last email I sent you for the two scenarios in which I would consider writing something about this. Both require full disclosure and proof of your identity.

From: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
To: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 1:59 PM

You caught me darling. It’s me Michael.

I’ll admit it was a cute stunt. This little shit put me in a movie and I already signed the release form so I can’t get out of it!! I am also highly suspicious that he was the one who stole an iPad from my roommate, leading me to being kicked out of my place of residence. To quote Mean Girls, he is a life ruiner. I NEED this film to be condemned and this drama exposed, it’s premiering early this week and he’s doing interviews about it all over and I can’t have anyone lauding this trainwreck.

(To this, he attached a 6-second video of Michael Alig filming himself on his phone, biting his tongue.)

From: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
To: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 3:19 PM

Do u like the video I sent u? I bit my tongue ;-(

Michael

Sent from my iPhone

I wrote Michael Alig an email through his website. “Someone contacted me via an anonymous email,” I wrote using the site’s contact form. “Eventually, he or she claimed to be you. I’m contacting you here to see if you will, in fact, confirm or deny that. If so, you obviously know what I’m referring to. If not, I’ll explain more if you’re interested.”

Alig wrote me back shortly:

From: Michael Alig <REDACTED>
To: rich@gawker.com
Date: Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 4:01 PM

Hi Rich!

Thank you for contacting me. Im almost afraid to ask what this is all about! I did not send Gawker any anonymous emails, so I can only imagine what trouble someone is trying to stir up. I would really appreciate whatever information you can give me on this, Rich!

Thanks for the heads up...

Yours,

Michael Alig

I reported this to Arca Spillage:

From: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
To: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
Date: Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 6:01 PM

I contacted Michael through his website and he said that he never contacted me or Gawker.

From: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
To: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 6:23 PM

Who you spoke to was not the real Michael Alig

From: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
To: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 6:25 PM

It’s fine. Don’t leak it. No ones going to care anyways.

From: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
To: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
Date: Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 8:02 PM

You’re so bad at this.

From: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
To: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
Date:Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 8:09 PM

What? I don’t even know who I am.

From: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
To: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 8:24 PM

This is insane

From: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
To: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 8:25 PM

i think the best solution is to just post all of this nonsense

From: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
To: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 8:28 PM

Including Michaels response saying he didn’t contact you which I don’t believe you

From: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
To: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
Date: Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 9:03 PM

Admit that you’re Sebastian Sommer and it might be interesting enough to write about.

From: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
To: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 9:10 PM

I’m not Sebastian. I’m the girl who shows her tits in the film.

From: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
To: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 9:53 PM

Ok well I tried.

From: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
To: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 10:49 PM

Ok well. I tried. The film will be getting positive press this week. Sorry to bother you! Tried to tarnish the film but can see that I failed

And then, a few days of silence. During this time, Sebastian Sommer canceled his Facebook friend request to me. Did I expect that I’d never hear from him again? No I did not. I must be fucking psychic:

From: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
To: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 2:09 PM

Okay. Fine. I’m both the director and a press whore. I come from a really difficult and poor background and I really don’t want this film to go unnoticed because I spent a lot of time on it. What do I need to do to get coverage on this?

Seb Som

Sent from my iPhone

From: Rich Juzwiak <richjuz@gmail.com>
To: Arca Spillage <REDACTED>
Date: Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 2:24 PM

You’ve claimed multiple identities over the course of this exchange. Please message me on Facebook to confirm that you’re Sebastian Sommer and we’ll proceed.

Finally, after accepting a second friend request from Sommer (by now we’d shared so much), I had my confirmation:

I don’t know what the future holds for Sebastian Sommer’s filmmaking, but it is clear that he has a high capacity for extreme human behavior and is quite savvy at facilitating readable email exchanges. In our current cultural climate, I’d say that he is one to watch.

I spoke to Alig on the phone for about 40 minutes on Wednesday, and he told me his side of the story.

“He’s supposed to be some genius!” Alig said incredulously, regarding Sommer after I recapped the director’s initial pitch and our ensuing exchange. “So says the media.”

“I don’t know what I did to make light of my crime,” said Alig. “I made light of facial cleanser. That’s about as far as I went, and it’s about as far as I go. Despite my demeanor, it was a horrible thing that we did. It wasn’t something where we woke up one morning and said, ‘Hey, let’s kill Angel.’ It was a terrible, terrible thing that was the culmination of a lot of terrible decisions. There’s nothing funny or good about it. There’s nothing to be made fun of about it. I feel terrible for Angel’s family and for his mother and for what they’re going through. I can’t even imagine how my mother would react if I were the one who died that day. There’s nothing to be made fun of. For him to suggest otherwise...I mean, to say that’s in poor taste is not even in the realm...I don’t even know what this is! I’m used to publicity stunts and media pranks, but this is really taking it to another level.”

I asked Alig about how he felt appearing in the same frame as a hammer. “You’re not going to believe me, this is coming from Michael Alig, but I was duped,” he responded. “We even commented on it that there was a hammer sitting there. He said that he films his movies very off-the-cuff, where you just walk into a room and whatever’s there, basically, he uses. The hammer just happened to be there and we all raised an eyebrow at that: ‘Oh my god, what a coincidence.’ He made a point of bringing that up to make it seem like it really was a coincidence.”

Alig confirmed his suspicion about the theft of the iPad (which he says belongs to his roommate Patrick), as well as calling Sommer’s grandmother over its loss. He says the police have been notified. As to when he filmed his part in the movie, Alig said, “What’s now, March? At the earliest, it would have been December 2015. But I’m thinking it was more like January or February. Or January.”

“Every single thing he told me to do in the movie, I have to question now,” Alig told me. “Did he set me up through the whole thing? Was he planning this all along? If he was planning this all along, I have to give him some credit, because it’s a little genius. It’s like Scooby Doo villain genius: ‘And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!’”

“This guy,” said Michael Alig about Sebastian Sommer, “I’m afraid of him.”