New Bedford Roommate Wars: ‘I Don’t Want to Be Known as Vaseline Guy’
We've all heard of roommate relationships going south, but this story from New Bedford is Next Level.
A roommate war has reached a very public boiling point, so much so that one party apparently called the police to intervene.
When that intervention wasn't possible, Nick Matthew resorted to putting flyers on hundreds of cars in Fairhaven and at the New Bedford Market Basket on Thursday afternoon, turning what was a private dispute into a matter that has locals scratching their heads.
Nick Matthew's Side of the Story
Matthew, the man who apparently distributed the flyers, claims his life has been "a living hell" since he found Reid McKinney's ad for a roommate on Craigslist.
"I am losing my mind and I need your help," Matthew wrote.
Among the unproven accusations Matthew levels at his roommate, McKinney, are that he turns off the heat in the apartment and opens the windows. "I can see my breath when I brush my teeth. My plants are dying."
Matthew also describes noisy behavior such as doors being slammed, chairs being kicked and whistling at 3 a.m. He also accuses McKinney of "following me around the apartment verbally attacking me."
The strangest complaint from Matthew, however, has to be the claim that McKinney, an Old Rochester Regional High and UMass Law graduate, "puts petroleum jelly on objects throughout the apartment, including the bathroom doorknob, the toilet seat, my bath towels, the thermostat and light switches."
"This morning," Matthew wrote, "he slathered the bathroom sink's hot water knob."
Reid McKinney's Side of the Story
We spoke to McKinney Friday morning. He said he has seen the flyer that is being distributed across the SouthCoast and that most of the items listed on it were "completely fabricated."
He called the accusations "over the top" and "pretty libelous."
He agrees that the weirdest part of the flyer is the claim that he's "smearing Vaseline everywhere."
McKinney explained that he unloads trucks for a living.
"My fingers dry out, so I put Aquaphor on them, so yes, sometimes it gets on things. I'm not going around the apartment with a tub of Vaseline scooping it onto door knobs."
McKinney admits that he keeps the heat low in the apartment to save money. He said his job doesn't pay much and alleges that Matthew hasn't paid his share of the rent since October, claiming an eviction process is underway.
He thinks Matthew's goal might be to scare the landlord into stopping that process.
Matthew, however, denies that claim. While attempts to reach him for this story were unsuccessful, he provided more thoughts via QR codes at the bottom of his flyer. In one message to the public, he said he's not trying to get McKinney evicted, either.
"Not at all. He needs a place to rest like everyone else. I'm trying to get some peace and sanity back in my life. I want the harassment to stop."
Matthew does admit that he hasn't paid rent.
McKinney said he is concerned about how the flyer, now in the hands of potentially hundreds of people, could affect his business.
"I definitely feel like it could damage my reputation," he said. "I'm currently launching a business, a law firm, with my name on it. I don't want to be known as the Vaseline Guy."
McKinney said he doesn't believe Matthew, a former middle school science teacher according to the flyer info, has held a job since the year 2021.
Matthew said he'd happily move out, but "90% of the landlords don't respond to me. God knows why."
Would McKinney Ever Use Craigslist Again to Find a Roommate?
While this Craigslist ad clearly didn't work out, McKinney said he's not ready to abandon the idea of listing roommate-wanted ads on the website.
"I've had some fine roommates from Craigslist," he said. "It's about half and half."
How this dispute will resolve itself is anyone's guess.
"I've heard all the jokes about the Single White Female movie," McKinney joked. For reference, see the trailer for the 1992 film about a roommate-gone-wrong situation here.
New Bedford Assistant Deputy Chief of Police Scott Carola said he can't comment on any specific domestic cases (family, spouses, friends and roommates can all be viewed as domestic). "However, it's important to know that we don't want to discourage people from calling the police if there is no violence at the moment. If they are having a disturbance and they want some police intervention we will respond, we will file a report, and we will make all their options available."
Living With Others Is Hard and These Weird Habits Prove It
Gallery Credit: Maddie Levine
Need to Fly Away From Your Roommate? You Can't Check These Items
Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart
Weirdest Celebrity Conspiracy Theories
Gallery Credit: Erica Russell