A Cautionary Tale of Infiltration, Betrayal, and the Activist Community

by Melissa Brewer

I've been busy with worky stuff, so I didn't have time to blog Melissa's moving, informative, and maddening essay when it was first posted. I apologize to her for that. She wrote an important introduction and overview of the noisy Twitter conflagration that made her life a living hell, and has embroiled me and hundreds of other people for months. It is best read together with Matt Osborne's tidy little synopsis of this Ratfucking* of the stopRush effort and me.

Although they'd like everyone to think that what they did was just about me, what Heather E. Chase (@heatherEchase) and Imani Gandy (@angryblacklady) did had an impact on many people. Particularly affected by their selfish machinations were about 3000 #StopRush volunteers, but also several other women who have spent their lives fighting for women's rights. And their fight was much greater than building a small wiki project that died only a few months later when it's founder was able to leverage the attention she received into a paying contractor's job with a bona fide and well respected women's rights organization. Evidently, they made this acqui-hire before Chase and Gandy had admitted what they'd done to us. It might have made a difference in their decision.

Of course, many other people—even well branded bloggers—who never bothered to research any of the story before "defending their friends," were lured into that embarrassing trap based on their modest acquaintances, and these women’s shrieks of "conspiracy theory! conspiracy theory!"  They have been quiet lately, probably due to the fact that their friends, the  purported "victims," Chase and Gandy admitted doing exactly what we said they had done.

Melissa's story will explain a lot of things to you. I urge you to read it. Some highlights:

I’m writing this post today to tell you a story. It’s the story of a man who wanted to “infiltrate” a movement and manipulated many people so that he could “make his way” as the next Breitbart or James O’Keefe.

I felt good about my involvement in StopRush. I was true to the boycott, too. In fact, because of StopRush, I’ve learned how to vote with my wallet in a number of ways. I’m a conscientious consumer. I have StopRush to thank for that.

As depressing as it’s going to sound, this story is also about hypocrisy in its very core form. While #TeamUterati “worked” to further “women’s rights” and decry slutshaming on a public level, none of the “TeamUterati women seemed to think twice about aiding and abetting Jason Wade Taylor in his “war”. The women targeted in his ruse included… (emphasis mine).

If this story doesn't open your eyes to the dangers of bloggers acting as careerists, using any means necessary to promote themselves at the expense of other progressive causes and the broader public interest, nothing will.   

I'd like to be able to say Melissa's post has led to better relationships between like-minded people on Twitter, particularly those who are more than sick of the drama these people continue to flog every day. Unfortunately, all it's done is bring her more strident and vitriolic attacks from those who are now so thoroughly invested in all these manifestations of Internet Disinhibition run amok.

*A Note About The Term “Ratfucking.”

Chase and Gandy and their supporters lamely try to deflect from the selfishness of their deed by saying that Matt Osborne and I have claimed that what they did was "political."  Why? Because Osborne used the term "Ratfucker."  This is a typical Breitbartian trick where you try to obfuscate the guts of a story by picking off tiny tangents that you hope the gullible will be distracted by.  It was just more of the spinning and manipulation that these two cunning women have used since they first started denying that they did anything at all (most stridently argued to friends in private). They had been slowly backing away from their denials before finally admitting what they did—but only after we published hard evidence that proved it.  They excused it all with still more cover-ups, unsupported assertions about my "bullying and abusing women," and of course, their ongoing use of other people to mask their duplicity. Along the way, they shamelessly encouraged their vicious supporters to attack mine (ironically, often women themselves).  

But back to their tangent:  Not only did the term "Ratfucker" long ago escape its Watergate-era boundaries and come to mean any dirty trick done for any kind of gain, but even at face value, it was appropriate  Chase and Gandy were played by Jason Wade Taylor,  a con-man who absolutely had a political agenda and used their greed and epic ethical fails to assist him.  Their motives were never political, and no one ever said they were.

Rather, their motive was to raise funds to pay their salaries in a quick-and-dirty advocacy effort that designed to do just that. I know. I was there when it was formed. In those days, I spoke to Gandy nearly every day. Out of work, and out of money, her constant refrain (very closely paraphrased) was "I have just enough cushion to last until maybe October. I need to make this work or I will need to find a job."

Ratfucking me and StopRush, apparently, was part of "making this work."

Please read Melissa's story in its entirety. It's an important one with many lessons for social media activists.

Update No. 1 

The always dishonest and complicit @MiltShook (a blogger of such stature, he writes his own reviews on Amazon), who continues to deny—and conceal—his major role in this drama, has been spouting off on Twitter about how "Shoq wrote Melissa's piece." This is typical of Shook, who makes straw assertions like these about me almost every day since I eviscerated a truly ridiculous undocumented hit piece he wrote about me on behalf of Chase, Gandy, Jessica, Padilla, and Himself.. Shook postures that he wants all this to stop, while tweeting almost hourly about me. A few examples.  Had I written Melissa's essay (replete with tales of her rape and abuse), I would hardly have been as fuzzy about the perp's motives as she was. She gives them wiggle room. I don't. We already know and proved exactly what their motives were.

Related

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read this:

  • When Feminists Turn "Mean Girls"  — A series of tweets from just a few of the more obsessive beasts who have trolled my Twitter stream since last August, blathering baseless allegations that I "abuse women."  

    Each of them are frequently encouraged and retweeted by  @angryblacklady, @honeybadgerLA, @vdaze, @semishark, @dvnix, and many others actively engaged in harassing me on Twitter, even having contests to see who can drive down my follower count the fastest. Seriously.  Their goal has been to cover-up their own malfeasance and contrived scandals meant to mask it and they have literally shat on thousands of twitter relationships to do it. Fortunately, as the chirpstory shows, they are now revealing themselves to be incredibly manipulative and vicious, further discrediting their phony narratives. And people are finally starting to  get it and push back.

And then this to explain the horror that you just read: 

Related

To see real time responses or engage me about this drama, please follow @ShoqRetorts

 

Unless you have been living in a cave somewhere, you've probably heard the canard acting as the title of this post.   It's been a recurring meme for 3 years now, and used by enemies, past and present to smear me and assassinate my character.  It gets new life whenever any new drama resurrects it such as the ridiculous "shoq abused vdaze narrative now entering it's third month. Smears work the same way right wing propaganda does. You repeat the lie again and again and again until enough people think "gosh, there must be something to it or all these people wouldn't be saying it, right?."  It's sometimes called "Fox News."  This may all seem pretty juvenile to you, and it is, but it usually does to someone not living through it. These people are now running "unfollower contests."  The followers lost already  mean little to me. But the damages to my name, reputation and professional interests are another matter.

The lack of any real evidence will help me in future actions taken against this vicious character assassination.  So to prove they have never had any, and never did….I am now offering an open invitation to… 

Bring it! Bring your hard evidence against @shoq 

Total (eligible) submissions since 9/30/2012:  0     
 

 


To all of you #shoqboilers out there, here's your moment to shine.  Bring us your evidence of my "bullying" and "abusing women."  Let everyone see the hard evidence of your claims which you push relentlessly, month after month, year after year.  I will let everyone see just what you have. You don't even have to leave an email. Just be sure what you have is at least credible. Only the infamous @vdaze voice message is exempt, as that 8 month old voice mail message has been discussed ad nauseum and was merely a device to triggrer this latest smear. 

As for anything else, please post below any evidence you have below AS A COMMENT on this paqe. This might include:

  • A tweet, blog post, website link that has a real person standing behind it, and not some anonymous smear-merchant with an ax to grind using phony images or unacccountable websites.
  • An accounting or anecdote with a real  witness who would sign an affadavit as to its truthfulness, or testify to it in court.
  • An email (with headers) or instant message that went through Google or some other service where the text can be subpoenaed. 
  • A voice message or other recording
  • If your evidence is a tweet, webpage, or other webobject, you must include a URL or it goes to the garbage-out page.
  • Merely posting Tweets of someone making a claim is not evidence of anything, but if you insist on looking silly, and exposing yourself (and them) to hard questions from commenters, you can post those too.
  • If you provide some lame conversation where a political difference of opinion is what you call "bullying," or my sarcastically dispatching some right wing loon or contrarian or argumentative lefty puritopian, I will let that stand, just to show how ridiculous people can be. Such engagements are not "bullying." That's called "Twitter."

I will allow anything that meets the above criteria. I have enabled posting of media too.

You don't have to leave a real name or email if you don't wish, but if you do, you will seem more credible.  

A few rules:

  • If you try to provide anecdotal or circumtantial evidence with nothing to back it up, I will delete it from this page, but move it to a garbage-out page where they can still be seen, but they won't clutter up the stream of evidence. 
  • What you post must be about yourself, or someone real who has some kind of track record on Twitter or Facebook.  Someone that has had an account for at least 6 months, for example. 
  • You, the abused person, or their appointed legal proxy or representative should be willing to stand behind the claim and discuss it below, answering questions posed by others.  You/they should also be prepared to defend it were it ever brought up in court.
  • If it's just unsupportable bullshit with no real proof it was ever posted or happened, it has no business being mentioned as evidence or a "fact" and will be moved to the garbage-out page.
  • Mere rants will not be allowed at all. If you just want to spew opinions about me, start a blog. This is for what people claim is hard evidence of Shoq's "abusing or bullying of anyone, but particularly women,"  
  • If you provide patently false information, you may expose yourself to charges of defamation or libel.

So why am I doing this?

Because I am disgusted by this daily kangaroo court justice that so many people enable because they 1) don't know or have any the facts, 2) don't want to be bullied for asking questions of the smear mongers, or 3) are simply gullible, naive, or stupid.

There is no evidence of this abuse narrative and there never was. To these #shoqboilers, I was born in Kenya, and that's the end of their story.  I argue politics, and I organize social media projects. And I do both vociferously and enthusiastically. Both have made me a lot of enemies on the Right and the Left. They rarely want to take me down with ideas or debate, so they try to intimidate people into unfollowing me, or attacking me. It's been this way for years.  

I don't bully anyone, nor do IU "abuse women."  I once raised my voice and used an inappropriate word in anger at an cybe-girlfriend who was encouraged to publish a recording of it 8 months after the fact, just to embarass me. I apologized for it here on this blog in several ways. 

So if you want to make some new charge, bring your evidence and back up your story.  But more importantly, if  you encounter anyone making such charges, ask them to post it here where everyone can share it. If they haven't done that yet, or don't want to do that for any reason, 1) ask yourself why, and then, 2) dismiss it for what it is, is: bullshit.

To see real time responses or engage me about this drama, please follow @ShoqRetorts

I especially welcome these participants

@gottalaff, @tymlee, @nicolesandler, @angryblacklady, @vdaze, @jennyjinx, @ttlanes, @rebeccayorkart, @nadiaartist, @semishark, @brandibax, @shoqpaholic_918,@james_x_,  @themanknownasx, @iboudreau, @theXclass, @sickjew, @jc_christian,  @tosFM, @dudeImanegg, @cody_k, @deniseromano, @watergatesummer

Bonus

If you have instant mesages, emails, or Direct Messages with any of the above people to disparage, smear or even urge you to unfollow me, use the contact button in the menu above. I will pay you for it. 

The Evidence Begins Below 

See garbage-out page for crap that didn't qualify as serious evidence.  (01) posts moved there.