Hey everybody, I’m a close personal friend of Skyler’s, and the inspiration for the Jeff character on Clarence. I lived with Skyler for three years. I took the photo of him at the top of the cartoon brew article. Point being, I feel like I’ve seen a part of this story that not many are privy to. My goal in sharing this is not to discredit anyone, or downplay the seriousness of what happened. Skyler’s actions are abhorrent, and my heart goes out to the victim. As someone who is close to the situation I think it would be useful to present additional information about the incident:
Skyler is currently in the hospital receiving treatment for mental illness. Specifically a form of Bipolar 1 that results in prolonged psychotic episodes, not sleeping for days, and erratic, sometimes frightening behavior that mimics schizophrenia. On the same day the assault happened, Skyler also walked through the streets shirtless screaming at cops. I saw him try to smoke cigarettes through his nose and drink days old olive juice. He popped in and out of different characters, and answered questions with riddles. And the next day, when me and another close friend drove him to the hospital to get him treatment, I sat with him for hours in the Emergency Room as he sat strapped to a bed singing They Might Be Giants songs and talking like a cowboy. I don’t know if he was cognizant enough to see that I was crying. It was one of the saddest things I’d ever seen. Here in front of me, was a guy I had known extremely well, but was obviously “not home”. When I talked to the doctor and learned more about his specific illness, and that he would be coping with it for the rest of his life, it broke my heart. Again, here was someone who was like a brother to me, and I just got told he may never be the same again.
What happened was horrible, but the tone of the online conversation is painting Skyler as a calculating predator. I don’t deny what happened, but based on my experience, his actions were the result of a tragic bipolar (potentially schizophrenic) episode, and don’t reflect the thoughtful, considerate, kind hearted person I’ve always known him to be.
Again, I am not defending or excusing his behavior. I just hope I can provide context to this conversation.