Rising NASCAR star Hailie Deegan didn’t participate in last week’s Freedom 500 at Bradenton’s (Florida) DeSoto Speedway, and now we know why.
Deegan, a full-time NASCAR Truck Series driver and one of the few female drivers in the sport, posted a video to her YouTube account late Monday saying that she skipped the race in fear for her life.
Deegan, who titled the video, “Our Lives Are Being Threatened,” said she ultimately chose to miss the race because she saw a post from a fan who lives near her race shop that threatened to kill her boyfriend, Chase Cabre.
“His official words were, not that he’s going to kill Chase, but that he’s going to come … and be the last thing Chase ever sees,” Deegan says in the 15-minute video.
Deegan starts the video by explaining she missed the event because of a personal matter between her and Cabre.
A few minutes into the video, Deegan — who was voted the Truck Series’ Most Popular Driver last year — then says that everything started with an “eight-page, handwritten letter” written to her truck team, David Gilliland Racing, stating that “he” was dating Deegan for multiple months and was in love with her.
“It kind of scared me a little bit, because I’d dealt with stalker situations before,” said Deegan. “I went home that day, looked up the guy’s name on the note, and figured out that he was getting catfished by a fake Hailie Deegan account.”
Catfishing, put simply, is a deceptive activity where a person creates a fictional persona or fake identity of a person on a social networking service.
“They say anything they have to to get money out of that person,” Deegan continues in the video.
Deegan later said that the fake account went on to accuse Cabre of holding her “hostage,” beating her and physically abusing her.
“None of that is true,” Deegan says in the video. “But it makes them feel a lot of anger toward Chase. Then this guy gets wrapped up in this whole deal believing Chase beats me.”
Cabre, who appears in the video alongside Deegan, goes on to say that he then saw another threatening social media post later that night after dinner.
Following that admission, the YouTube video then plays a 30-second clip of a sound bite from the alleged person threatening Cabre.
“At that point, someone who lives, I wouldn’t say close, but not too far away from where it would be possible,” Cabre says. “It makes you a little worried inside. Then, Hailie said … let’s call the cops.”
According to the video, local authorities then stayed with the couple 24/7. Deegan, who said she first noticed alarming posts from the alleged person late last year, said everything they posted was “death-related.”
She screenshotted the posts — “I know you need proof when stuff like this happens,” she says — and the authorities stayed with the two all night.
“The messages have progressively gotten worse,” Deegan says later in the video, adding that they’ve been going on for over two weeks now. “When you get tagged in pictures of guns and knives, literally by the hour … this guy is very persistent on social media … maybe over 100 times a day.”
Deegan, who said that the couple has reached out to the person to say the account is fake, eventually admits that she is “done” being scared.
“I went to the extent of messaging him, literally just trying to break down the situation,” she says. “Dude, you’re getting catfished. This isn’t me, my boyfriend does not beat me. We literally do everything together — I’m on TV all the time. I’m just explaining the whole thing, trying to break it down to him, and he seemed like he was accepting it at first.”
Then, Deegan continued, the person started to have second thoughts, thinking they were “messaging the other account.”
At that point, the couple says, they contacted FBI agents, NASCAR security and filed multiple police reports.
“If you are watching this video right now … just please stop,” Cabre says. “I’m not threatening, I’m doing anything … I’m just saying, it’s over. It’s not real. Just leave it alone.”
“It’s become a nuisance in our life, because it’s put everything on a halt,” Deegan adds. “We don’t really know what to do from here.”
This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Hailie Deegan skips Freedom 500 after threatening posts from ‘stalker’