The Witchfinder exposes Sarah Jeong (@SarahJeong), a self-described ‘feminist’ who opposes the criminalisation of revenge porn and only last week violated a rape survivor again by revealing her name as a victim, republishing the information even after a larger publication took the material down.
In the United Kingdom, revealing the identity of a rape victim in the press is a criminal offence pursuant to s4(5) Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1976. This was extended to nearly all victims of sex crimes, regardless of gender, pursuant to s20(1) of Schedule 6 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
In the United States where Jeong lives, laws that protect the anonymity of rape victims have been struck down as unconstitutional, but even so there is a convention that decent reputable publications will not reveal this information unless there is a public interest (for example if the allegation of rape is proven to be false).
In 2014, a woman wrote to ‘Today in Tabs’, a Newsweek column, complaining of an article and stating she was a survivor of rape. Newsweek, disgracefully, published the letter and revealed this private information, although it was later removed from the article on their website (which now only refers to the woman’s legal threat). Newsweek did the right thing, eventually, regardless of the law in their jurisdiction.
Sadly, ‘doing the right thing’ is not where Sarah Jeong lives. Unhappy with criticism she received at the time in a related matter, and with heavy criticism on /r/KotakuInAction a couple of weeks ago, she decided to re-publish the relevant portion of the letter concerned in a blog post and once again linked the woman’s name to her status as a rape victim. This can be a criminal offence in the United Kingdom. Sarah also clearly believes that the victim will be harassed as a result, saying –
“[…] And I’m sorry to [THIRD PARTY redacted]. I never wanted to dig up the past—because it undoubtedly means she (and [VICTIM DOX redacted] as well, honestly) will be harassed all over again. […]”
Since the bulk of Jeong’s article concerns her lengthy argument with the doxed victim’s husband, it is unclear what her motives in dredging all this up again are, aside from her prediction that the subject of her ire will be ‘harassed’. She does not appear to raise any public interest in the stale subject matter, nor does she claim the rape allegation is false or misleading.
The husband has not objected to this article, but has declined to comment, expressing a desire not to get dragged into the dispute again. Despite viciously mean-spirited remarks by Jeong, he and his wife have shown they are the better people by far. This is the kind of despicable comment Jeong makes in her post –
“[…] Although he professed that his wife’s survivor status should be utterly confidential, he treated the information like a weapon. […]”
The article is still up and easily found on Jeong’s blog, although your author will not link to it here. In bizarre leftist fashion it even has ‘ghazi’ in the title for no apparent reason.
Like the wannabe lawyer she is, Jeong enjoys semantic quibbles such as this article (archive here) on her blog arguing over the meaning of the word ‘dox’. Her most recent blog post, however, even meets her strict definition. The letter she chooses to republish is clearly a ‘document’ even on her chosen interpretation.
It is not the first time that Jeong has found herself on a different side to the victims of abuse. In 2013 Jeong announced that she opposed the criminalisation of revenge porn in an article (archive here) for Wired magazine and said that the, “exploitation of women and children has always been the Trojan horse of internet regulation”.
The context of the public debate at the time was the conviction of Hunter Moore, operator of a ‘revenge porn’ website, earlier that year. It transpired that in reality most of Moore’s pictures had been stolen by a hacker, not procured from jealous ex-boyfriends. Clearly the men and women concerned deserved protection, but in US law the publication itself was not a crime (although in the end the hacking was).
The UK has recently enacted a very sensible ‘revenge porn’ law earlier this year under s33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015. To be guilty one must be proven beyond reasonable doubt to have disclosed photographs and videos that are private and sexual, without consent, with the intention of causing distress. Even then, if all that is proven, there is a defence for journalists acting in the public interest.
Porn is also protected. If the material was ever disclosed for reward by the subject (meaning porn) then it is protected as long as the accused has no reason to believe that the subject did not consent at the time. Having consented, the subject is also not allowed to change their mind later.
In general ‘revenge porn’ type offences are often targeted at the vulnerable, including young adults and even children, who are more easily persuaded or pressured into unwise decisions. Sarah Jeong is, by her own admission, not in favour of expanding the criminal law to protect them.
One thing Sarah Jeong is apparently in favour of is associating with her online friend Sarah Nyberg (@SRHButts). Nyberg, a born-male transsexual, was exposed by Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart last year as having boasted of being a paedophile, at length and in great detail. Nyberg has also claimed to be attracted to various children, albeit only to the ‘white half’ of a mixed race child. When crusading journalist Milo Yiannopoulos exposed her, Nyberg claimed in an article that she had merely been a ‘teenage edgelord’ and had made the racist paedophile remarks for a joke.
In a later article, Breitbart criticised Jeong and other so-called progressives by name for continuing to associate with Nyberg. Ironically, Milo Yiannopoulos was far more ethical that the extreme SJWs who regularly criticise him – in his articles about Nyberg, Milo conscientiously obscured the name of the young woman who was the main subject of Nyberg’s ‘joke’ paedophile obsession.
Jeong has never condemned Nyberg. Instead she agreed to appear in a ‘feminist’ deck of cards with ‘her’ and continued to chat with her on Twitter as though nothing had occurred.
In light of the various allegations against her I asked Jeong to explain herself. Why she engaged in such unethical behaviour?
According to the Witchfinder’s orwellian tracking software, Jeong viewed my request many times. Nonetheless she did not respond nor did she deny any of the allegations.
Like all of those involved in the debates around media ethics, your author recognises that such conversations can be heated and intensely polarised. Nonetheless I hope that all people of good intent recognise that there are lines not to be crossed. Vindictively doxing a rape victim, when even the original publication has removed the material, is one of them.
Your inquisitor is of the opinion that morally, Jeong is unfit to be a journalist or a lawyer. I have asked Motherboard and the other publications she writes for to confirm whether they will sever their relationship with her, and I have also drawn the matter to the attention of Harvard university. With the greatest of regrets I also hereby nominate her for the Deepfreeze database of unethical journalists under the category of ‘Intimidation’ (which also covers doxing) for her behaviour in doxing the rape victim.
By adding Jeong to Deepfreeze, there will be a permanent record of her behaviour and also prospective employers and commissioners will know they risk boycott campaigns and public criticism if they take her on.
If, like the author site, you believe that doxing rape victims is wrong why not politely let @SarahJeong know and encourage her (respectfully) to take her blog post down. Also consider contacting @Motherboard, @Vice or editor @DerekTMead. Mr Mead publishes his contact details on his VICE author page here.
Mead was sent this article prior to publication and did not object to his details being published. Accordingly, I link to his emails below –
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com