FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — A North Carolina high school graduate is speaking out about a striptease that cost him his diploma.
Jack Britt High School graduate Quintin Murphy, however, told WTVD-TV that the stunt was not a prank, but a demonstration.
“I deeply apologize if you guys took it the wrong way,” said Murphy.
Murphy said he did it to draw the world’s attention to the plight of Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. It was a protest over how he says his uncle and grandfather and other wounded war vets have been treated.
“Fayetteville does not have the best VA hospital,” said Murphy. “I have been there with my uncle and grandfather, and I’ve see how poor things are, and like these are men that have served.”
Murphy said his uncle is a wounded warrior, and he knew Quintin was going to do the striptease. He says his uncle wholeheartedly supports him.
“You know it really touched my heart,” said Quintin’s uncle, Leonard Johnson.
Johnson is a disabled war vet, who was injured in Iraq. He says for the past 10 years he has battled the VA over PTSD and other medical treatments.
“I have been on morphine for 10 years,” said Johnson. “It took over a year-and-a-half to get my brace, my back brace, my knee braces, and an arm brace.”
Johnson said he appreciates his nephew’s gesture.
Whatever his motive, school officials say Murphy’s stunt was inappropriate. He won’t get his diploma for a couple of months, and he has been banned from all school property.
He admits his message was probably lost in the moment, but Murphy said it was worth it.
“I just want to tell them to be spontaneous, keep living,” said Murphy.
Murphy said friends and classmates have been very supportive. He hopes what he did will not stop his plans from attending college and joining the Army.