Krit McClean, the male model who was arrested after he stripped naked and threatened police in Times Square on June 30, attributed his bizarre behavior to a “manic episode” in a new op-ed in the New York Post.
The 21-year-old New York native also claimed he undressed himself because he was receiving subliminal messages from billboards, specifically one for Express jeans that read: “Express Yourself.”
“I obeyed. I immediately took off my clothes,” he wrote. “Being naked, I thought, was the most truthful way of expressing myself. It made me feel safe.”
McClean was sedated by police and arrested after jumping off the top of the TKTS booth in Duffy Square, where he was perched in the buff for little more than an hour yelling things like “Donald Trump where the fuck are you?!” and “I love fashion, it’s taught me so much!”
In his essay, McClean described being “beckoned” to the top of the TKTS booth by an unseen force, and how he believed the police were “evil” and “out to get” him.
McClean said he spent three weeks in Bellevue Hospital, and now takes medication for his bipolar disorder, which he says was heightened after he decided to quit smoking marijuana weeks earlier. He also attends therapy sessions weekly.
“I’m still trying to fix the damage in other parts of my life,” wrote McClean. “Ford Models no longer represents me. Columbia is holding a disciplinary hearing. I faced criminal charges in court.”
McClean said “most reactions have been punitive and don’t come from a place of understanding of mental illness,” which is why he’s coming forward with his story:
“That is why I am going public — to help others with mental illness who battle constant judgments and stigmas. In sharing my experience, I hope to start a dialogue. I’m now involved with the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
We can all relate to being judged and misunderstood. We have all at some point been the “weird” one, whether in the classroom, gym or office. But if we approach each other with empathy, openness and sensitivity instead of judgment, we might just learn from one another.
I will continue to pursue my career in the arts and in modeling. I’m working on my photography and acting. I’m also learning to love myself, even my mania, because it’s a part of who I am.”
You can read McClean’s full piece in the New York Post.