The lawyer for family of the married gay man who fell to his death from his cruise ship balcony now says that the man jumped as an “act of protest” after being called a “pedophile” by crew members. A newly released video shows the late man saying, “I have a husband. I am not a pedophile.” In earlier news accounts the lawyer alleged that the fall was accidental following a scuffle with ship security. The Daily Mail reports:
Michael Winkleman admits that Bernardo Elbaz, 35, did not accidentally go into the water at around 1am last Friday while a passenger on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, but at the same time is saying the man did not commit suicide. Instead, Winkleman – who is representing the family of Elbaz – claims that the man jumped because he was mistreated by members of the staff and guests on the ship. In a new video that has been released from inside Elbaz’s room just moments before he jumped he is seen arguing with security, allegedly over homophobic comments directed at him, before saying; ‘I have a husband, I’m not a pedophile.’ Shortly after this he ran out on the balcony and went overboard, though the video does not show that act.
Erik Elbaz said his husband did not jump on Monday, and Winkleman initially backed up this claim, but the lawyer on Tuesday changed his story shortly after homicide detectives revealed that they had reviewed video from the deceased’s cell phone that proved he intentionally went overboard. Police and Royal Caribbean also said that this occurred because of a domestic dispute, but Winkleman claims that is not the case. ‘This was not a domestic dispute, this was not a suicide,’ Winkleman told NBC Miami. ‘This was an act of protest based on the way that this legally gay, legally married couple was mistreated by Royal Caribbean.’
The Coast Guard suspended its search for Elbaz’ body on Saturday.