Arizona podcaster and ASU grad killed in Los Angeles hit-and-run
Mat George, who co-hosted the podcast "She Rates Dogs," was killed in a hit-and-run in Los Angeles early on Saturday morning, his co-host Michaela Okland confirmed Sunday.
According to CBS Los Angeles, a male pedestrian was struck by a BMW in the Beverly Grove community at around 2:20 a.m, and the Los Angeles County coroner's office identified that person as Matthew Thomas George, 26. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The New York Times reported that George was struck as he crossed a street at an unmarked crosswalk.
After co-host and friend Okland announced his death on Twitter tributes praised George for his personality, humor and outspokenness, discussing issues of dating and his identity as a gay man, which made him popular with listeners of "She Rates Dogs."
In an interview with Shoutout Arizona last year, George mentioned being an out gay man, and the risk he took in moving to L.A. from Arizona. "Growing up and being in the closet, I never knew anyone or heard about anyone who had similar experiences and fears that I had," George said.
"Before switching from a life that was going towards medicine to a life in entertainment there were a lot of questions going through my mind. Some questions included was it worth it? Am I sure this is what I really wanted? Could I really do this and still make enough money to support a family one day. After a long 2 weeks of thinking about it 24/7, I ultimately decided that I was going to make the switch. I knew it was risky but I also knew that if I didn’t try I would never stop wondering what could’ve been."
So I did it. I packed up my apartment and left my friends in Arizona to move to LA and start SheRatesDogs the Podcast with my best friend, Michaela Okland. With this being the biggest risk I’ve ever taken, I was understandably a nervous wreck. 5 months later I can honestly say that I am SO happy that I did this.
By doing the podcast George wanted to share his own experiences hoped "and make LGBTQ+ people all across the world feel like they're not alone. The most rewarding moments are when members of the LGBTQ+ community reach out to me and tell me what a difference I've made in their lives," George said.
Co-host Okland has posted on the "She Rates Dogs" Twitter account that one more episode featuring George was recorded before his death but has been put on hold, however.
It was while studying at ASU that George discovered his talent for storytelling: "Towards the end of my college days at Arizona State University I started to share my experiences as a gay man with different people I was close to. Their reactions made me realize that a lot of these stories were funny to others, which then gave me more confidence to start sharing them with even more people."
George graduated from Arizona State University in 2017, according to his LinkedIn page.
Supporters encouraged anyone wanting to honor George's memory to make a donation to LGBTQ inclusion nonprofit GLSEN.
The Los Angeles Police Department is seeking information about the white BMW that struck and killed George. Authorities urge anyone with tips to contact (213) 473-0234 or dial Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.