MIAMI (CBSMiami) – For the first time, we’re hearing and seeing Bernardo Elbaz just minutes before he went overboard off Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas.
“I have a husband, I’m not a pedophile,” Elbaz could be heard saying in the video to Royal Caribbean employees. “This is being broadcast. And actually, this is going straight to my server because I work with the internet.”
The attorney representing his husband, Erik Elbaz, said Bernardo Elbaz was very drunk and angry that crew members used gay slurs against him.
Bernardo and Erik Elbaz, who lived together in New York and have been married for about a year, had booked the cruise on the Oasis of the Seas to celebrate Eric’s 34th birthday.
Originally, Royal Caribbean said that crew members saw Bernardo Elbaz, 35, “intentionally going over the side of the ship” on November 6th around 1 a.m. Friday morning while the ship was about 17 miles from the Turks and Caicos.
“Our on board security team responded to the guest’s stateroom after a neighboring guest complained about a domestic dispute on the guest’s balcony,” according to a second statement from the cruise line. “Our staff did not have a physical altercation with the guest and were unable to prevent his jumping from the stateroom balcony.”
Broward sheriff’s investigators said when the ship’s security went to the couple’s cabin regarding a domestic disturbance they found evidence of a physical altercation.
BSO investigators said Bernardo Elbaz’s death will be ruled a suicide. However, Elbaz’s attorney said this was not a suicide, it was a protest.
“He did intentionally go overboard, there’s no question about that. The reason he went over was because of an act of protest based entirely on the way he was being treated by Royal Caribbean crew members,” said attorney Mike Winkleman.
“So you’re saying that because there were these gay slurs and calling him a pedophile, his way of protesting was jumping overboard?” CBS4’s Ted Scouten asked Winkleman.
“I don’t think he jumped overboard. I think he was staging some type of protest, but he basically tumbled over. I don’t think he just jumped off going out,” replied Winkleman.