Craig Jungwirth. By now just the mention of that name will make almost any gay man in South Florida cringe.
The man, who was once arrested, and made national news, by threatening to harm the Wilton Manors LGBT community with a “Pulse” like the attack in 2016, continues to harass local queer men.
They’re angry. They’re fed up. But their options are limited. They’ve spoken to law enforcement agencies. Some have attempted to file restraining orders.
On March 29, two of those men went to court, only to be told Jungwirth had not been served so the court was unable to put a restraining order in place. Jungwirth, though, has a long history of evading lawsuits by avoiding being served notice, a legal requirement before a civil case can move forward.
Russell Cormican, a local defense attorney, has dealt with Jungwirth several times over the years with different litigation. He called him a master at manipulating the legal system to evade accountability.
“The thing with him is he's intelligent enough and sophisticated enough to exploit the system in his favor,” Cormican said.
The latest accusations against Jungwirth include cyberstalking and harassment.
For James his recent dealings with Jungwirth have turned into a nightmare. The local barber asked that his last name not be used for fear of further harassment.
It all started when James made a comment on someone’s Facebook post about Jungwirth where he wrote “This fuckers at it again, he needs to be locked up.”
“I made a comment, not knowing that my safety or my sanity is going to be jeopardized,” James said.
When James went to work the next day he noticed an appointment with Craig Jungwirth.
“I canceled the appointment,” he said.
Later that afternoon Jungwirth called the barbershop and James spoke to him briefly before handing the phone back to the receptionist. James said Jungwirth allegedly told the receptionist he was going to show up to the shop at 4 p.m. to “beat the fucking hell out of that fucker.”
James called the police and filed a report. He’s also one of the men who recently attempted to file a restraining order against Jungwirth.
In the next two weeks following their interaction Jungwirth booked 188 appointments through the online system forcing James to go offline.
“I can't tell you how much money I lost because nobody's able to book me online. I'm a very demanding barber. I get booked constantly. My schedule got pulled offline,” he said. “This guy is crazy. He's always been all bark and no bite. But it's like you just don't know what this nut job is going to do.”
James has also since locked down his Facebook profile while removing his personal information from online.
In addition to James not being able to be booked he also missed a whole day of work when he tried to get a law enforcement agency to intervene.
When SFGN reached out to Jungwirth for comment, he replied via text with this quote in Sun-Sentinel from four years ago.
"’We are happy that the nightmare for Mr. Jungwirth is finally over and that he can move on," Jungwirth's lawyer, Assistant Federal Public Defender Michael Spivack, wrote in an emailed response.’”
Of course that quote is totally unrelated to Jungwirth’s recent alleged harassment.
Jungwirth spent months behind bars in 2016 while prosecutors attempted to gather evidence against him when he allegedly threatened the local LGBT community. In the end though investigators were not able to link the threats to any of the 59 Facebook profiles Jungwirth had access to so they dropped the case.
Jungwirth made national news when he was accused of posting this message on Facebook:
“My events are selling out cause you faggots are total patsies. None of you deserve to live,” a man wrote on Facebook with the profile name Craig Jungwirth. “If you losers thought the Pulse nightclub shooting was bad, wait till you see what I’m planning for Labor Day.” Another message read: “I’m gonna be killing you fags faster than cops kill niggers. It’s time to clean up Wilton Manors from all you AIDS infested losers.”
SFGN was never able to independently verify whether those messages came from Jungwirth since he was known to create multiple fake profiles to promote his Beach Bear Weekend events.
Adam Dupuis is the other local man who attempted to file a restraining order against Jungwirth recently. Dupuis accused Jungwirth of impersonating him on a gay dating app, GROWLr, creating dozens and dozens of fake profiles using his name and photo. In many of these messages he’s promoting another fake Beach Bear weekend event under Dupuis’s name and tying the event to Instinct Magazine, where Dupuis works.
James and Dupuis’ cases were heard by a judge on March 29. The judge explained to James and Dupuis that since Jungwirth had not been served the paperwork there was nothing she could do. If Jungwirth isn’t served within 120 days the case will be dismissed. If history is any judge Jungwirth will evade being served as he has done in the past with other lawsuits.
Austin Tyler from Massachusetts tells a similar story of harassment on GROWLr. Recently he filed a cybersecurity complaint with the FBI over Jungwirth’s harassment.
Tyler said he’s been getting Beach Bear Weekend invites on the GROWLr for years.
“Eventually he just caught me on a bad afternoon, I was like ‘this asshole again.’ I said ‘Craig I know it’s you, I’m never going to click this link,’” Tyler said. Tyler went back and forth with him.
Recently Jungwirth called his place of employment saying “This is Craig Jungwirth, you tried to block me on GROWLr, so are you going to compensate me.” Since then he’s continued to call his job.
Tyler said he must have friended him on Facebook and used his profile to track down his job.
In 2019 Meyer Persow was continually harassed at his last job with a local city. Jungwirth allegedly repeatedly called the city to attempt to get him fired. Why? Persow made a comment on a story related to Jungwirth on Facebook.
“He told them that I threatened him and I should be fired,” Persow said. “It caused some heartache at work. I didn’t know what was going to go on. I didn’t know how much they were going to push it. It just became very uncomfortable.”
Recently Jungwirth, or someone claiming to be Jungwirth, is targeting Persow again. Persow chimed in on a conversation about the reopening of Broward County. Then a guy named Robbie Romero commented, “Meyer Persow is a complete tool. He works for Broward County.”
The Broward County comment raised a red flag because his current job isn’t posted on Facebook. Then he remembered — a month prior someone had checked out his LinkedIn profile.
It was Jungwirth, who checked him out.
Dupuis told a similar story of Jungwirth checking out his LinkedIn profile where he took his photo in order to impersonate him.
When it comes to cybercrimes Cormican noted they are notoriously difficult to prove.
“Anytime you're dealing with cybercrime, or allegations of online criminal activity, the proof of those crimes is always a lot more difficult to prove than if something occurs, face to face,” he said. “It's not like you can just show someone a photo lineup and say this is the guy who robbed you. Instead it’s more like, I got this anonymous message, or someone was creating appointments on my website, so it’s harder to prove. And that’s the problem.”
The last time SFGN reported on Jungwirth’s local misdeeds was in 2019 when he was accused of operating @FortLauderdalePride, an Instagram account that’s just close enough to Pride Fort Lauderdale’s account (@PrideFortLauderdale) to confuse people. The account no longer appears to be active and it’s unclear what the ultimate goal was.
In the past Jungwirth has been accused of attempting to scam the gay community with fake “Bear” events.
In 2019 Jungwirth also attempted to sell tickets to a legitimate pool party at a local guesthouse that he had no part in.
Years ago Jungwirth legitimately bought the rights to Beach Bear Weekend but then was accused of turning it into a scam. The former organizers attempted to sue Jungwirth to take the event back, but eventually dropped the suit after deciding the event was forever tainted and no longer worth the hassle. Eventually a new legitimate event called Bearsurrection was launched with the hope of circumventing Jungwirth.
It didn’t work. Jungwirth continued to attempt to piggyback off other real events in order to attempt to cause chaos and scam the LGBT community.
If a member of the LGBT community comes across Jungwirth online Tyler has this advice for them: “I know it’s tempting to get into an online fight with him. However, there is no rationalizing with [...] somebody who’s completely amoral. There’s no prize to win for insulting the shit out of somebody who does not abide by normal social standards. It just doesn’t occur to him that what he’s doing is wrong at all.”
A recap of some of Jungwirth’s past legal issues:
FALL 2016 — Arrested and charged with interstate transmission of a threatening communication. Charges later dropped.
2016 — Jungwirth maliciously sues Alibi, The Manor, Hunter’s and PJ’s Bar in Wilton Manors in Orange County Court in Orlando for allegedly breaching Beach Bear Weekend contracts they never had signed, but Jungwirth bounces all his filing fee checks to the county and various Judges dismiss all the suits on motions by Norm Kent acting as their counsel.
January 2017 — Charges against Jungwirth dropped after prosecutors admitted the evidence against him was “weak.” Federal investigators were not able to link the threats to any of the 59 Facebook profiles Jungwirth had access to.
January 2017 — Jungwirth pleads guilty to skipping out on his bill at the Courtyard Cafe in 2015 as well as criminal mischief from an incident in 2016 when Jungwirth defaced the windows at Rumors with paint. Sentenced to probation.
June 2017 — Arrested again after he violated the terms of his probation by not completing a psychological evaluation and assessment and violating a no-contact order with the victim of his crimes. “The bottom line is it wasn’t done. He needs to get it done. He was ordered to have it done. What he’s saying is clearly not true,” Judge Lerner-Wren said at the time. “I would certainly admonish Mr. Jungwirth to fully comply with any and all no-contact orders — direct, indirect and that is through any means of social media — email, Twitter, Facebook, blogging.”
August 2017 — Attempts to sue Publisher of SFGN, Norm Kent, for defamation. “Defendant Kent intentionally and with malice published an article which provided entirely different information and cited these various websites, contracts and various agreements as sources thus making misrepresentations and making false statements,” the lawsuit read. It was later dismissed. “His claim is specious without merit and a frivolous waste of the court’s time,” Kent said at the time. “Nothing we said about him was untrue. SFGN stands by its reporting.”
FALL 2017 — Trying to avoid service on a suit naming him as a defendant, Jungwirth hides out in a county court bathroom and is removed by BSO.
FALL 2018 — Jungwirth attempts to sue an Alibi bartender for defamation at a Pride Fort Lauderdale event. Pending, awaiting a ruling on a motion to dismiss.
December 2018 — Arrested after an incident involving an argument with his mother where he was accused of falsely imprisoning her, which included trying to prevent her from meeting with police officers. He was released on bond. Formal charges were not filed. The State Attorney declined to prosecute the case.
November 2020 - According to the Orlando Sentinel Jungwirth was being investigated by Central Florida law enforcement agencies for continuing to promote and sell tickets to a Christmas event that had been canceled. The Sentinel wrote: “The Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Orlando Police Department have looked into whether Jungwirth committed any crimes, though he is not currently facing charges.” It doesn’t appear anything came of those investigations yet.