Friday, July 20, 2012

Return to Neverland: Bullies, Stalkers and the Huffington Post

I know it seems that, to those of us in BookBloglandia, every day for the past couple of weeks has brought a new crop of hair-pulling, foot-stomping rage. A new self-congratulatory post from the Stop The Good Reads Bullies page will arrive, patting itself on the back on how selflessly it devotes itself to Internet!Justice. Or several smug and obsequious comments from one of the owner's many sockpuppets will pop up like new mushrooms out of the pile of - well, what people commonly put on mushrooms. Or an intelligent Dear Author post will develop a comments section that slowly spirals down into the pits of madness over whether or not reviews "should" use dirty words like - well, what people commonly put on mushrooms.

Today, blogland exploded when the Huffington Post Books page posted an anonymous Op-Ed article from the Stop The Good Reads Bullies Page - giving STGRB national coverage and validation. Bloggers flew to their keyboards to vent their simultaneous, vitriolic outrage that the Huffington Post would so irresponsibly drive traffic to a website that's endangering and stalking women. It then posted a somewhat troubling apology that admitted they'd solicited an interview with the site weeks ago - and yet somehow never picked up on STGRB's blatant, acidic language and stalking behaviour. While the magnificent Foz Meadows wrote a stirring response that was posted on the Huffington Post Books blog afterward, I discovered something wrong on the Stop the Good Reads Bullies site.

Now, we already know that the STGRB, like a crazed Pocahontas, paints with all the colours of the wrong. But now they've stepped in it. In their comments section of their latest post, an anonymous commenter asked:

"The claims the posters are making in the comments of that article [meaning the HuffPo one] are untrue. This site is not posting personal information about people. Do you see any names and addresses? I don't."
This prompted Site Administrator "Peter Pan" to reply (the orange emphasis is mine):
 As you can see, "Peter Pan" openly declares that the reviewers who've opposed this site are dishonest, and have made "stuff up without any evidence" and are, moreover, "pretending" to be stalked in order to to "play the victim."

Gee, that's awful! What a horrendous lie! Most especially since now that one peruses the site, there is a remarkable absence of the damning personal information we reviewers have been raging about. Sure, the insults are still there, but we're all for free speech, aren't we? See, STGRB is all about discussing bullying, and the bully culture, and demonstrating slightly out-of-context situations of bad reviews. Clearly, the Mean Girl Reviewer Bullies just made up all that stuff about being stalked and having their privacy invaded because they were afraid of STGRB exposing their evil.

Except nothing completely disappears on the internet. Even stuff that you thought you removed.

 For instance, I conveniently took a couple of screenshots of the times STGRB administrators admitted to stalking people (orange emphasis mine):

Such as here:
And here:
Those are just silly off-the-cuff remarks, right? STGRB wasn't doing the stalking.

Except other people took screen caps, too. 
Note the use of Real Name and Location. The orange squares to the right of the screen indicate the date this cap was taken - proven not only by the calendar but by the existence of the anti-bullying organization banners - meaning this stuff was up before each and every one of those Anti-Bullying organizations demanded the removal of their banners.

But would you look at that same page today:
Where did the Real Name and Location go? 

And it wasn't just for Kat Kennedy. Take this screencap of their old page on The Holy Terror:
Her personal information has been obscured, but it's still perfectly clear how much they posted about her (such as her name, her husband's name, her favourite restaurant, and where she can be found at certain times of day) for everyone to read. The orange squares highlight pertinent phrases and evidence of the post's date. The pink square indicates irony. 

And look at her page now:

As well, there is this page on Lucy:
 Note they indicate her real name, her location, and also where she works in real life, to earn a living.

Here is where they indicate their active search for even more personal real-life information on Lucy:
Once again, the pink is for irony.

Here is their old page for Ridley:
Note how they give her real location and note how they are actively searching for her real name in order to post it on the website. 

Here's how it looks now:

And here is a cap of the STGRB folks commenting about Ridley being concerned about her personal information being posted:

Here is a screencap of their interview with Kenya Wright of Two Fantasy Floozies, in which Kenya asks them about their outing practices:

Here, Kenya asks STGRB about whether they're concerned about the possible dangers that come from being outed:

As you can see, the evidence speaks for itself. No snark or bad language required.

However, you might ask: why bother getting angry, and posting these screencaps, now that the STGRB website has removed the dangerous information? Isn't this what you wanted?

For that, I'll direct you back to the first screencap on my post - you know, the one where Site Administrator "Peter Pan" claims that STGRB never posted personal information, and accused the bloggers victimized on the website of fabricating the fear and unrest and harassment they endured for attention and sympathy. 

This proves beyond a doubt that the removal of this information wasn't an olive branch gesture and it wasn't due to the site administrators suddenly realizing what they were doing was wrong. It was a deliberate posterior-covering measure - likely in preparation for the flood of traffic gained by the Huffington Post article. 

STGRB stalked four women (at least) and posted their personal information online with an admitted disregard for their personal safety - and once the Huffington Post Books article opened the website to more scrutiny, they edited their posts, lied about it, and blamed the bloggers for it. They have offered no apology and demonstrated no remorse.

I'll leave it up you to tell me if you think these are the actions of an honest, righteous organization that is motivated only by a desire for a safe, friendly reading community for all.

My deepest thanks go out to the several awesome people (who shall remain anonymous, unless they let me know otherwise) who took the greater part of these screencaps.


  1. You're a hero. They're zeroes.

    And the awfulness of the HuffPo is beyond words.

  2. Bravo! Thanks for this post. The nerve of this deranged person outrages me.

  3. Way to go!

    They might have also taken it down because Go Daddy made them in order to stay live. I posted the Go Daddy link on GR and several other blogs asking people to report their threatening behavior. Cyber bullying is a federal crime.

    Andrew really screwed up. Only a man could look at a site like that and think, "Gee! These guys are kind of looney, but isn't there a deep question/controversy we could discuss? Really, Andrew? Dang. Fail.

  4. I just can't get over the unmitigated gall of these people/ this person (behind the StGRB site). Such liars. And the HuffPo should be ashamed.

    Apropos of nothing, I'm kind of curious as to what the Goodreads owners/management have to say about all this as well. I can't imagine they're happy with StGRB's actions either. At least, I hope not.

  5. I love you. You're awesome.

  6. Alicia9:15 AM

    Great post! I can't believe how off the rails she is/these people are to think that they'd alter posts that have been up for weeks and then claim they had never done anything and that everyone else is lying. Like a lot of us didn't take screencaps of everything put up. And enough have been posted in the blogosphere that they had to know they were out there. Utterly ridiculous.

    And so is HuffPoBooks. There's just no excuse for him soliciting STGRB for a post and driving more traffic to that site. That was bad enough, but then to not even, at minimum, extend the same offer to the people targeted by the site is so much worse.

  7. Agreed to all.

    And I cannot believe that Huffpo would give them this kind of platform after realising what they are (and I don't buy the ignorance claim, there's no way they couldn't have known) it's shameful and inexcusable

  8. The HuffPo apology / explanation is pretty insulting. I keep thinking about breaking down all the ways it's dishonest and then I think about driving traffic to them and stop. It's inexcusable.

  9. Please keep going. Your efforts are fascinating and valuable. Nobody should behave like this and get away with it.

  10. Thank you for posting the evidence!

  11. Merrian8:56 PM

    I am astounded all over again at the hubris of STGRB and huffpo books actions which assume an incompetence and lack of community on the part of those they are attacking directly and the people who care about them.

    Thank you so much for doing this.

  12. These STGRB people have lost their marbles if they actually believe that people believe this new crap they are projectile vomiting. I wish, with all of these screenshots of the proof, that there was something these 4 people that got ACTUALLY BULLIED could legally do to put a stop to the site altogether. It is honestly sickening.

  13. connie3332:54 AM

    Thanks for this - brilliant job! Just when I think the STGRB can't fail any harder somehow they manage to do so...

  14. Thanks for posting this! STGRB's behavior is absolutely outrageous!

  15. Oh wow... I'm posting one of these pics on my blog. The more info that's spread, the harder it'll be for them to try to lie about it later.

  16. This is so disturbing! Thank you for posting this and explaining. After I first went to website, I ceased because the vitriol and personal information surprised and disappointed me.

  17. Wow that's horrid = great detective work!

  18. This is a great collection of evidence of how disturbing the StGB site is. Why they felt the need to dig up personal info. and/or pics to discuss a person's book reviewing practices in the first place, let alone lie about it afterwards, is completely beyond me. Relevance please? Unless, of course, the site really has nothing to do with reviewer's practices, and is, in fact, just all about revenge.

  19. Anonymous2:03 AM

    Thank you so much for providing concrete proof that STGRB site is a bullying venue for stalkers who hide behind an anti- bullying campaign! A Mr. Clean Magic Erased could be put to excellent use on their entire website!!