The hashtag #RIPReese trended on Twitter on Tuesday after it was reported that Maurice “Reese Him Daddie” Willoughby, 20, died by suicide. Willoughby was the subject of a viral video showing him being bullied for his relationship with a trans woman. Initial reports suggested that Willoughby killed himself due to the bullying, but now, his girlfriend has confirmed on Instagram Live he died of an overdose after threatening to kill them both.
A recent viral video shows Willoughby being harassed on the streets of Philadelphia. In the video, Willoughby is carrying a plastic bag when a group of men start mocking him for dating a trans woman. After the video went viral, Willoughby took to Facebook to defend his girlfriend, identified only as Faith.
“Y’all can say whatever about faith I really don’t care if she not passable I don’t care if she wasn’t born a woman she is a woman to me & I love her flaws that’s what makes her faith if you heard her story it’s motivating….. I’m happy you should be happy for me,” Willoughby wrote online, as reported by The Advocate.
It was initially reported that the bullying is what caused Willoughby to decide to end his life. His friends said that after the video went viral, he became depressed.
“That was my friend and everyone who took part in bulling him need to be in jail,” wrote Amethyst Jade Lee in a Facebook post.
A friend, who chose to remain anonymous, told Aazios, the outlet that originally broke the story, “He was getting picked on and joked on all the time.”
“Where we are from, if you like trans woman, and you black, the streets will talk about you, fight you, even try to kill you. He was dealing with a lot,” the friend added.
Tributes to Willoughby were posted all over social media. Ashlee Marie Preston, journalist and the first trans woman to become editor-in-chief of a national publication, tweeted, “When a man is confident & secure enough to openly love a trans woman; this is the bullying and harassment he gets. When trans attracted men kill us; it’s out of fear that this will happen to them if they are outed. Reese didn’t kill his girlfriend; he killed himself instead. #RIP”
However, according to a statement by the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, Willoughby did not kill himself due to the harassment. The organization said that Faith clarified what happened on Instagram Live. The institute reported that Faith said Willoughby threatened to murder her and then himself. When she ran away to safety, he then overdosed on drugs.
“Our deepest condolences to Faith and also to Reese’s family. This is a time to mourn for a lost life and support Faith during this difficult time in her life. She is a survivor of abuse and as stated on her Instagram page, a woman who lost her lover. Black women are always mourning and caring for the world while trying to keep ourselves alive. Our love and support to Faith,” the organization said.
In an earlier Instagram post, Faith wrote “you was my everything until those pills took total control and took you away !”
“I STILL HAVE HIS MESSAGES AND VOICEMAILS CAUSE WE TALKED ALWAY UP UNTIL I RAN TO NEW YORK TO WAIT FOR OUR COURT DAT ON THE 20th of this month and he though in his mind no matter wat I said he thought I wasnt comin back wat was I suppose to do I know he was goin to take both of us cause he said thats how much he loved me but I knew it was the pills talkin not him,” she added.
If you have thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available for free at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. The line is available 24 hours every day.