The Witchfinder explains himself, answers baseless blackmail allegations and releases heartening (anonymised) information about some of Randi’s (former) subscribers.
I remember my first interaction with Randi Harper well. In fact I wrote an article about it. I had created, as obvious satire (literally labelled ‘parody’) a ‘Bot for Endangered Sealions’. A while later, I started to receive tweets. Lots of tweets. I tried to reply only to find the stranger who was sending them had blocked me. It was Randi Harper.
Soon after, a small group of her friends started trying to brigade me using discriminatory language. When I shared my article about her with supporters, one of them called it a ‘meltdown’. I laughed at them.
I soon discovered that Randi has a history, and then of course Milo Yiannopoulos released his exposé on her – so damning it needed three parts –  (archive here),  (archive here) and  (archive here). The ‘Social Justice Warrior’ who had baselessly harassed me has a history of meth abuse and no longer has custody of her own child.
Randi’s swarm of harassers had the advantage of internet anonymity. Even so, the number of her supporters was relatively small. I thought this group merited research but did not have the time to track them down.
The recent hack of the entire Patreon database (article archive here) passed me by, until I saw a post on GamerGhazi. Following the links, it appeared that Randi Harper’s Patreon supporters list had been dumped to a separate table. I quickly found the pastebin. Naturally, I was keen to act ethically and lawfully. Because the original hackers had (obviously) obtained the data illegally, there were significant legal limitations on what I could do.
I decided the ethical thing to do would be to warn the people concerned, reassuring them I would not release the data and also what might happen, as I thought the Patreon boilerplate warning insufficient. I said this near the end, “There may be a lawful public interest in my contacting the relevant authorities (including an employer)”, and some Ghazi types have tried to claim it is blackmail.
It is actually just boilerplate legal language related to UK law. Obviously I am analysing these supporters and in some limited circumstances I might be required to report things – for example if they were a risk to a child. As a person who may wish to enter a regulated profession, I would be expected to cooperate with the authorities. Far from being a blackmail demand it is just standardised ‘cover-yourself’ legal language.
Having said that, if I discovered that one of Randi’s supporters was a teacher and had been involved in (say) ‘jokes’ about paedophilia in Sarah Nyberg’s chats of FFShrine I would inform the police, social services and local school board, in confidence and without hesitation then – let them decide what to do.
I have also always been surprised that so many warriors for ‘social justice’ would support Randi’s online attacks, her release of private information, her defence of Sarah Nyberg (archive here) – details of Nyberg here (archive of that here) and other misdeeds.
I decided to give everyone concerned the basic information about Randi and invite comment. The responses were heartening. Some people, of course, responded with typical Randi-style bluster and abuse –
“You are not a responsible journalist. You are a reprehensible excuse for a sub-human being.
I recommend you fuck off and die.”
“AhahahahahahaHA!hahahaha. Breitbart links. “Extremist views.” Consistent libel of people based on 10-year-old chat logs.”
However others responded with shock and horror to what they had discovered and immediately indicated they would end their support for Harper. Whilst some have bravely agreed to be named I have decided on anonymity anyway, despite their consent, to protect them from Harper and her (rapidly shrinking) band of internet thugs. This response, in particular, restored my faith in humanity. The user is called ‘Bob’ to protect their anonymity and spare them harassment by Randi and her hate group.
Q – 1. Did you know about Randi Harper’s history?
Bob – More than some brief details about the gamergate thing and her project to create a twitter filter, no.
Q – 2. Do you endorse her extremist views?
Bob – Too broad a question that begs for an answer, so my response will be specific to your claims in your post. Pedophilia, and Racism/white supremacy: Absolutely not, and had I known of this abhorrent position, I would have never donated. [‘Bob’ is referring to her defence of Sarah Nyberg]
Drug use and dying her dog blue; The old proverb: ‘not my circus, not my monkeys’ covers it succinctly. More appropriately; I see it as a non-issue, people do much stranger things.
Q – 3. In light of the revelations about her, and her support for Sarah Nyberg, will you continue to donate?
Bob – No. For the record I stopped giving her the $1/month, after a few months into it due to her increasingly erratic and strange updates. I think I gave her a total of $5 before I decided she was not someone I wanted to continue to support at $1 per month.
Q – 4. Are you aggrieved at Ms Harper’s failure to safeguard your personal data?
Bob – This security issue is not her failure, but patreon’s, However, yes I do find their gross negligence to be particularly aggravating.
Not all Harper’s backers are native English speakers. Another expressed genuine remorse and appeared to fear they had committed a crime by supporting her –
“[…] I am deeply ashamed of being what I am […] I know that I have no justification for my crime […]”
I am continuing to receive responses, some abusive, some apologetic, some neutrally asking to unsubscribe from my mailing list. What is telling however, is that overall only about 20 of Harper’s 516 subscribers actually emailed to defend her.
What my research reveals is twofold. Firstly, many of Harper’s supporters simply do not know the truth about her. Secondly, the number of her supporters willing to threaten is relatively small. Few of them (less than 10%) have been willing to defend her. Your author hopes and believes that, given the truth, time and space to consider they will withdraw their support and spare their money for more worthy causes.
Your author is aware of the controversy whipped up on /r/KotakuInAction/ by a post on GamerGhazi. Take Ghazi with a mountain of salt. I have never had any intention of publishing the list, nor of trying to get people fired merely for supporting Randi Harper. However, those of her supporters who engage in online harassment now know that their cowardly behaviour is no longer anonymous. They risk their reputations and if they cross the line, they can be identified and the authorities are only a call away.
NOTE – As requested the full text of the email complained of. Note Ghazi cut out that I had given my real name and contact details to reassure people I was legitimate –
I am the author of the major blog www.matthewhopkinsnews.com. I am sending you this email because your name appears in a list of people who donate to a Patreon operated by a person called Randi Harper. The list was confidential but has been hacked and placed online by unknown third parties. As a result of the leak you may be named, so please read this email carefully.
Ms Harper is a controversial figure due to her extreme political views, including support for Sarah Nyberg, a political activist who at one time claimed to be a paedophile and supported white supremacism, although now claims they were ‘joking’. Harper has also admitted to drug abuse, including attempting to smoke meth from a broken lightbulb. She also irresponsibly dyed her dog blue and accidentally allowed it to lick up her drugs. The following Breitbart articles may be of assistance –
You are supporting a person who is associated with some of the vilest imaginable extremism. Your exposure is interesting, partly because a similar leak occurred a few years ago here in Britain, when the membership list of one of Britain’s far right parties was leaked online – http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/oct/20/bnp-membership-list-wikileaks
As a responsible journalist, I can assure you I shall not be publishing the list. However, some of you may work in regulated roles with responsible access to information, vulnerable adults or children. There may be a lawful public interest in my contacting the relevant authorities (including an employer). In addition, the third parties who obtained the data have, as I said, released it online and I suspect it will find its way to Wikileaks, amongst other places. I would like to invite you to answer the following questions –
1. Did you know about Randi Harper’s history?
2. Do you endorse her extremist views?
3. In light of the revelations about her, and her support for Sarah Nyberg, will you continue to donate?
4. Are you aggrieved at Ms Harper’s failure to safeguard your personal data? Please provide comment as soon as possible.
I am the author of www.matthewhopkinsnews.com, a Conservative leaning blog that has had over 188,000 unique visits since January this year. My pen name is Matthew Hopkins and my real name is Sam Smith. My blog has sourced stories for some of Britain’s largest newspapers. I am studying a Master’s Degree in law combined with an LPC (attorney’s certificate). In fact I was praised in the British Parliament by then Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming for my legal skills representing a vulnerable woman in the High Court, who faced being declared mentally incompetent – http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm140113/petntext/140113p0001.htm .