Gayes, a moment of silence is dedicated to 20-year-old Maurice Willoughby Jr., aka “Reese”, who died after unsuccessfully battling drug addiction to cope with severe mental health issues. Reese was an aspiring rapper living in Philadelphia, but better known from a viral video posted early February of 2019. In the video, Reese was filmed being harassed and emasculated by a group of men in his neighborhood for having relations with trans women.
“Bro, you do what?” says the voice behind the camera.
“Fuck trannies,” Reese responded. “So what?”
The man behind the camera continues to say, “He suck dick” as Reese continues to argue with the other group of men.
Earlier this week, Reese’s girlfriend Faith Palmer, a trans woman, took to social media to share that he committed suicide. Many people quickly shared his story, reporting that he committed suicide because of being bullied for being with a trans woman. Eventually this headline gained attention and condolences from key LGBT celebrity figures such as Janet Mock, Indya Moore and Keke Palmer.
However, Palmer took to Instagram live and clarified that her boyfriend died of a drug overdose after she left him, and that it was not necessarily due to bullying alone. Palmer also describes that her boyfriend repeatedly made threats on her life and his own and physically abused her, which ultimately led her to seek safety and leave him.
“I did everything in my power to save him. I went to the cops after I got beat for three days in a row because he couldn’t control all of these emotions mentally that he was going through with his mom abandoning him. Then people bashing him, then people denying him from you know making music because he’s gay and he goes with a transsexual. So he’s battling all these demons and he’s fucking me up unconsciously knowing because he’s on these drugs.”
One instance that revealed the toxicity of their relationship is seen in a video posted on Reese’s Facebook, where he is seen threatening to kill her.
“If she cheated on me, I would kill her. I will find her and kill her,” he says in the video. “…and she made a promise that she will never leave me, so that would just be a lie…that means she crossed me.”
The Marsha P. Johnson Institute also confirms that Palmer "went on Instagram live to clarify that Reese actually died of an overdose after she left him. A heavy drug user, Reese threatened to take his life and Faith’s. She ran away to safety, and it was then that he committed suicide."
LGBT activist Ashlee Marie Preston shared during a Facebook live that she spoke with Willoughby’s girlfriend Faith Palmer who told her that “people don’t know the full story,” She said he needed mental health support.
Gaye has reached out to Palmer for further clarification on details. We will continue to update this story as it unfolds.
Rest in Peace Maurice Willoughby. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, contact The Trevor Project’s TrevorLifeline 24/7/365 at 1-866-488-7386. Counseling is also available 24/7/365 via chat everyday at TheTrevorProject.org/help or by texting 678-678.