Another day, another beaten-up sex symbol. Photographs have emerged of Tila Tequila, the pint-size bachelorette of MTV's "A Shot at Love," with extensive purple bruises spotting her upper arms. This comes just days after she accused San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman of battery and false imprisonment.
Tequila claims the hulking football player choked her and tossed her to the ground when she tried to leave his home early Sunday, but Merriman denies the charges. He says he was simply concerned for her safety when she tried to leave his house and drive home drunk. Tequila says she's allergic to alcohol and wasn't drinking that night, but the owner of a bar the pair visited earlier in the night says she was drinking. Anonymous sources told San Diego's KGTV that it was Tequila who first flew off the handle when she walked in on Merriman in his bedroom with two women. She stripped down naked and threatened to sleep with one of his friends, according to sources. There are also reports of tweets being recently deleted from her Twitter account and speculation about why.
At this point, it's a case of he said, she said. No one knows what really happened -- except for Tequila and Merriman -- but theories abound nonetheless. In a blog post on SFGate, Zennie62 points to Tequila's description on her MySpace page of herself as "bipolar," "bisexual" and suffering from "multiple personalities." He says that his gut tells him "that Tequila got too drunk and Merriman tried to stop her from doing something, perhaps driving, then all hell broke loose." Thankfully, our justice system doesn't rely on gut feelings.
This should all sound awfully familiar. We heard the same speculation soon after Rihanna alleged that Chris Brown had beaten her. So many were sure she had done something to provoke him. Rumors spread that she had hit him first and that she had given him herpes -- things that were supposed to justify him beating, choking, biting and threatening to kill her. Someone went so far as to create and sell a T-shirt reading, "Rihanna deserved it." We're seeing the very same thing with Tequila: She must have been drunk, jealous or acting crazy -- after all, she admits to being bipolar!
Shouldn't "innocent until proven guilty" apply to the accuser as well?
Update: Late Friday, after this post was written, charges were dropped against Merriman. "Our office has determined there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any crime was committed," said Bonnie Dumanis, San Diego's district attorney. Tequila's lawyer soon fired back with the following statement: "Just because the DA has made this reckless decision doesn't mean that justice will not be served in this case. No one is above the law. Tila Tequila will immediately begin pursuing civil charges against Mr. Merriman and she will have her day in court."