Beware Of Self-Appointed Saviors

It’s been a bad month in the Fetlife zodiac. Fetlife is a social networking site for kinksters and perverts. It houses discussion groups, hookups, events, and endless ranting. I don’t go often but I’m increasingly picky about any message boards or social hubs. “Don’t Read The Comments” includes websites dedicated to commenting. The party might be fun at first but it all takes a harrowing turn and you start to see the things that drove Nietzche mad.

Here’s one problem of Fetlife: Deification. Every social scene from model trains to modeling naked on trains has the tendency to forge a social hierarchy of some kind. What constitutes an alpha will vary from culture to culture and what this proves to us is how stupid our rules are regardless of whatever bullshit we try to put on top of it. John Baku started a website for kinksters, kinksters rallied and named him a king of kink land for his digital prowess. In theory, he created great unity in the many tribes of perverts and perhaps greater social progress could be cultivated in a new website.

There is a sexual assault allegation against John Baku from a night that might as well be considered a major group fail. It starts with a fail: he gets off a plane and is heralded as a king. It no doubt felt spectacular to have other members of the pervert Mt. Olympus greet him and give him much wine and mead, indeed. And he got fucked up in one of those embarrassing ways that many of us can still recall like a bruise in our cerebrum. He gets taken to a dungeon for more fail: he shouldn’t have been brought and he should not have been admitted and anyone who was present that night would agree. He was brought downstairs and then was surrounded by a crowd of people ostensibly keeping him out of trouble but in effect were conjuring it.

He was drunk, he got grabby, and a bunch of people decided not to call it out or cause a fuss about it at the time because, well, it was the exact reason why the whole situation was a problem from square one and we hate being reminded of things like that. The person who was assaulted had to register a few thoughts in quick succession: that there was someone clearly heralded as the selected alpha for the night and they got out of line and moreover people knew but decided that they should just let it go to keep the peace, to take one for the team.

That is not our decision to make. We do it often.

As this discussion was coming out, someone decided to jump into the center of attention with a nuisance problem of Fetlife security. In theory it was done “for” kinky people and in “opposition” to abuse. This individual has explained it here ad naseum but I’ll explain why these actions are problematic regardless of the technical details. In fact, let’s just call it a [hex]. An angry blogger, in a rage of fury, let loose a hex upon the community and did so “to help it.” It was to highlight security issues with the website. The blogger explains the tech behind it as a means of denying a “hack” or “making data public.” This entry can be found here.

In the name of transparency, I want to do something awkward here and say that I have had a personal relationship with our kinky Bane, Maymay (Meitar). It goes back a couple of years when I called them out on a blatant whorephobic stance in theirwriting and did so in person. Given their preference for digital encounters, I can see that my error was looking them in the eye with my criticisms. Before that moment, we could drop hours exploring ideas. We hooked up. I think we had a lot of fun. I was deeply hurt and devastated by the end of that relationship and I thought I was the only one. Turns out, as these stories of charismatic dudes often do, that I was not the first and nowhere near the last. If they’re an activist, they are one of the “slash and burn” variety with absolutely no qualms about co-opting the words and work of others to their own ends.

That exchange (screen shot from December 2011, close to the 25th) had not been the first time my words had been used by them. I have email records going back to August asking that our personal exchanges not be used (often word-for-word) in their writing without citations. Having my request turned around in a weird sort of victim blaming (I should have known better than to parade those juicy words around where they might be a temptation…) was bizarre.

Farther back, I received an email from them stating that I was “emotionally dangerous to them” and that they would have to “keep their distance.” Several weeks later, they emailed me asking to attend a kinky party I hosted at Mission Control. When I declined, I did so with this entry of theirs in mind, with these words ringing out in my head, “You have a choice: look within yourself and excise that which is toxic, or watch me tear it out of you. I have already begun. I will not stop. I will not play nice. I will not be quiet. I will not mourn you. And, be warned, I am no longer alone.

Right off the bat, the guy I hooked up with who told me under no uncertain terms that they found me personally “unsafe” over email was asking to attend a party I was hosting and I’ve read those words on their blog. You’re goddamn right I told them that they would not be admitted. I watched them twist the story into their hard work as an activist.

This individual then sent people to report back on the party in detail.

This is first and foremost, creepy. Given that there was no concrete attack on me or my hosting abilities, it only served as surveillance of someone they dated and an invasion of the privacy of the attendees and a violation of the venue rules. Moreover, it is frightening to have someone boast of their prowess as an activist with success being gauged by making a party host

To this individual, there is only anger and there is no analysis of the context and in their mind there is no such thing as collateral damage.

In this instance, you can see that triggering or harming an abuse survivor in a social space would be totally appropriate to this individual. That’s because they aren’t fighting back against abuse, they are fighting in the name of blind rage that isn’t looking at a nuanced context any more. This individual loves to proclaim themselves as dangerous and as someone who worked in social services for a long time, I think it’s important to take that claim seriously. When someone is using heavily violent language and practicing strategy, there is sound reason to be alarmed.

I think that Molly Ren’s piece hit on a lot of important points, even if the blogger in question disagrees with the tech analysis. “What really blows my mind about Maymay’s actions last week is the anger he displays at not being listened to…” This quote matters. This quote matters a lot.

The [HEX] that the blogger cast upon Fetlife probably won’t do much but the blogger is kidding themselves when they try to act as if it were done with love. It was done very specifically when an abuse claim came up and now this conversation has become what everyone is talking about. It was a practical joke done for attention and the person behind it had been waiting for the right chance and took it, on the backs of a serious topic to be discussed. Moreover, they continue to fan the discussion, eager to have their tech observations take center stage and likely basking in every piece of negative attention.

All of that negative attention “proves” that everyone is out to “get” them for “no good reason.”

It’s trolling but it’s been escalating and it has been for several years. There is undeniable malice attached to these actions and playing with tech jargon is a distraction from the motivation behind it.

I am also a little unnerved by the fact that the blogger in question calls Molly Ren’s writing an attempt to be popular, and then links to a tweet of hers announcing surprise that she was RT’ed by me for writing.

Be angry, if you’re angry—cast me as Bane if it makes you feel better, or if it makes you popular. No one’s saying feelings are invalid, or recognition isn’t valuable. But at least take responsibility for knowing shit. Because many things many people are saying right now are just that: shit.

It makes me wonder what I should expect from this individual. In retrospect, I probably should have spoken up but it’s been far from the worst kind of harassment I’ve received. But when you add it up: plagiarism, fixation, and party spies it doesn’t make for a very pretty picture, especially after criticizing this individual for whorephobia and having them burst into tremendous and frightening anger in person. Having been the recipient of their rage, I felt obligated to email and smoothe it over because I was afraid and because I felt that if my criticism made them verbally blow up at me, I should be the one to fix it. When you’re 5’2 and 120 pounds, it’s scary to have someone scream at you when you point out their blog contains serious anti-sex worker sentiments. I am a sex worker, I was sleeping with them, I felt dehumanized by their thoughts on sex workers and so I spoke up. Big mistake. What I’ve learned is that if I’m dating someone and they respond to criticism about dehumanizing my occupation, I should not fall into female socialization and make them feel better for their own verbal violence.

I avoided the tech conversation but what kills me about the circles that this blogger is trying to spin in their description of how and what they did is tantamount to playing the “I’m not touching you” game. Anyone with a sibling or anyone who has driven a pair of small children in the back seat of the car knows what I’m talking about here. It’s when you’re not technically in their space, you’re just harassing them at the technical “border.”

It’s amazing how isolating it feels to blog about a very negative personal experience with someone. For a year and a half, I’ve been overwhelming patient with this individual’s attacks on my parties and my writing. I don’t know how long it would be professional of me to wait but when this person is making it clear that they don’t believe in collateral damage and when their behavior is escalating, well, here it is I guess. I think a lot of people would suggest I continue being quiet but I’m not willing to put up with it any more. Obviously being quiet and patient with this individual did not make them go away and stop attacking me. Maybe speaking up will.

21 Comments

Filed under About me, behind the scenes

21 responses to “Beware Of Self-Appointed Saviors

  1. There are numerous things that piss me off about this guy, and it’s hard to know where to start. Even when I disagreed with him, I defended him in general for a long time on the general principle that he was bringing up some points that needed to be made, like the privileging of the Dom male/sub female dynamic in the BDSM communities. But while he can be articulate and charismatic, once you peel down his so-called activism to its core, you find a single theme: himself. That is, his tirades always come down to how he’s not getting laid the way he’d like, or how he’s a weary prophet in the wilderness, and all would be better if only people would listen to him. Again and again, I see a highly abusive dynamic in his treatment of individuals and the community at large. As can be seen in your Twitter excerpt, he has a pattern of saying, “You’re beautiful and talented and intelligent, but you’re an oppressive asshole and dangerous to me.” (Again, note how it comes back to him.) I hear this again and again and again: build an individual or group up, then abruptly tear them down. And that pattern is really symbolic of why I find him dangerous. Whether I like him or not is irrelevant: I don’t trust him.

    In this particular instance, what really pisses me off is that he’s functioning as John Baku’s best pal while posing as his devoted enemy. We were just starting a really interesting and substantial conversation about Baku and Fetlife’s record with consent and abuse, and…. BAM! We’ve had that conversation completely derailed and abandoned in favor of a discussion about M2 and his petty antics. We really need to talk more about Fetlife, and the issues of consent and abuse in the community, but instead we’re being distracted by the clownish antics of an abuser who’s saying that he loves us.

    I have a lot more to say, but there’s just too much to fit into one comment.

  2. I didn’t know you were the host of that party. Thanks for sharing this additional context.

  3. Thaniel

    I’ve watched this person lurch around the scene & the internet for a few years now. Even w/o personal interaction it’s obvious that he’s damaged goods & that damaging others is the only thing that makes him happy. Avoiding him, & helping others do so, is the only healthy course of action. He’ll either dig himself a hole deep enough to disappear in, or his desperation will push him to finally do something that makes it possible to get him arrested.
    I’m sorry he’s causing you grief. Hopefully exposing him to the light like this will cause him to scuttle away & bother you no more.

    • I doubt it. He does seem to thrive on the light, even to seek it. Negative attention only makes him more convinced of his own virtue. And yet, it’s no less important to be critical, because he is so very very vocal in the community, and can be quite charismatic.

  4. This post is super cryptic, but best I can tell, you are the good guy and a couple other people are not? I can dig it. Focus on the positive, discard the drama.

    • Dude has enough Google hits, his name is in the images, his story is well linked up with other folks. I’m dodging more than usual but it’s BTS issues. I’m also worried that it was more than drama. The repeated times this individual has attacked makes it a pattern of harassment.

  5. Hoo, boy, I’m sorry to hear this, Maggie! Boy, he has had some seriously choice things to say about unnamed people he has encountered in the scene, but no wonder he’s been shunned if this is how he himself has behaved.

    Sadly, I had to come to the same conclusion about him several months back. He’s whip-smart, and he does have a lot of interesting things to say (if you can slog through the unbelievably long and rambling posts), and for a time, we were sharing links and ideas about how to combat abuse. He’s really hard to read, though, because of how massively long and rambling his posts are with all the links to elsewhere, and it didn’t take long before I had to give up even trying on a regular basis.

    Back in April, however, he had really started to escalate badly, and *without even reading it in full*, decided not to publish a reply I had made to a post of his, saying that it was “…so obviously so far off-base that it doesn’t warrant a response other than a sad shake of the head.”

    Then he decided to publish it after all – even after I asked him to delete it – and then he and a friend then proceeded to *out me with my real name* as they quipped at my expense.

    I won’t give him the satisfaction of yet another link, not to mention that I don’t want my name spread around any further, of course.

    Besides the outting, the real moment of clarity came just before in another private email in which he informed me that “…you’ve not shown yourself valuable enough to me to warrant any more time”!

    Then he got really nasty and refused to delete the post in question when I asked him to do so, saying that “Keeping the record of such absurdity there *is* useful for me”.

    Me me me me me, like Chris said. He clearly can’t tolerate dissent at all, but even for him this was pretty out there. I was totally shocked at the attitude that really came down to the fact that if you aren’t with him you’re against him – and of no use to him at all. I had realized the former long ago, but this was pretty cold-blooded.

    As to the Fetlife stunt, he’s made no secret for several years now that he thinks that Fetlife is dangerous because it’s not searchable by Google, or indeed, even within its own walls. I can’t speak to the timing, but I’m only surprised that it took him this long to hack the place; I think he’s been planning it for a long time. I can’t even begin to imagine there was any love in that act at all. At best it was a bid for attention; at worst (and this is my guess), an attempt at real damage filled with malice aforethought.

    That said, based on everything I’ve read about the subject, I really do not think his hack has endangered anyone in and of itself. The site was already vulnerable to anyone that wanted to hack it, and it’s not like there’s been any way to keep your information private or to keep people out.

  6. Although i am a very little fish in a very big pond, i have seen firsthand how difficult it is to stand up to those who are well known or at least well read. In the instance i am thinking of, the person who mounted attacks and ran an all out “smear campaign” was the person that, sadly, most people listened to.

    You are correct in assuming that keeping your quiet will do nothing to solve the
    problem.

  7. SomeFetlifeRubberneckerOrOther

    Yeah, as I see it, basically what he did was this (from about 3:25)

    He is a twatmongler. He does come off more charming/plausible in person, or at least he did about a year and a half ago. Then again, his writings didn’t always look quite this cross between cartoon villain and Time Cube, either, iirc. I wonder how that cyberbusking thing is really going for him, and if it includes remembering to take his meds. (not a snark: he’s identified as bipolar and on meds in the past at least)

    Regardless of how he got there: he is still a twatmongler, and needs a good kick in the arse.

  8. Sleekimager

    It seems clear that this individual is an extremist, and therefore dangerous. Yes, that’s a generalization, but it seems not unreasonable to recognize the poor little dweeb’s dangerousness, and the correlation between extremism and danger is too great to ignore.
    What makes it hard is that the dweeb is an extremist along an axis (or along several axes) along which you self-identify.
    What I find interesting is the parallels among extremists along all axis. For instance, we all have run across individuals who argue that because they have convinced themselves that they need an personal arsenal of guns for self protection, and no other solution will do, then everybody needs their own arsenal, and observations like “I’m bipolar, so having even one gun would be bad” fall on deaf ears. Compare that with someone who argues that privacy in the not-in-Google sense is a Bad thing, and therefore any act to index private stuff is good, and if anyone happens to have genuine privacy issues that are annihilated by this, well, too bad.
    Of course, the reality is that in both cases the extensive rationalization in favor of their position (pro gun or pro Google) is pure bullshit created to justify a preference or a desire: they want to have lots of guns and shoot at people they don’t like or rummage through reams of informations if it pleases them, so they construct the rationalization and away they go.
    Pah!

  9. From your description, this person would fit the profile of a psychopath.

  10. S.R. Jacobs

    I have mixed feelings about a lot of the players in this whole consent discussion phenomenon, including myself.

    But I do know that I pretty uniformly despise maymay’s actions, here, because I acted, in some ways, the way he acted at a certain stretch of the dialectic or whatever you want to call it, and I had no stomach for continuing, because some part of me knew I was wrong to act the way I was acting.

    I don’t think he feels that way. I honestly think he believes he’s doing a service for the world at large. Which is terrifying, because if he has the stomach for this sort of accusation (“You’re not listening to me. My Golem is doing good. I shall not have it destroyed by jealous sheeple!”) and boundary violation (what else would you call outing all the people on FetLife without also making some sort of script that informs all of us of his “public service” via PM or big red header bar or something?), he’s not going to stop until he burns out. And his followers will carry on once he does, because Information Wants To Be Free.

    I finally chose my side when I saw what the other side was — a heat sink for virtual Bell Tower Snipers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Whitman.

  11. Boymeat

    I fully believe that isolationism is the only way to deal with him. Comments or responses to him only work to make yourself a greater target. Identifying and ignoring is the only option.

  12. S.R. Jacobs

    Quite so, Boymeat.

  13. NJ

    You are not alone. This and other reporting on Meitar’s activities (primarily self-reports, ironically) have convinced me they are a thoroughly manipulative, dishonest, dangerous, and perhaps even evil person. I try to warn every close friend with a public or professional presence to run like hell if they try to strike up a “friendly” conversation, and have warned them to never reveal any identifying information to this person. They’ve got an ax to grind with the entire world and don’t care who gets hurt.

    Meitar, we’ve never met, and I even agree and empathize with a lot of your opinions, but given your total lack of shame – nay, pride – about how you manipulate and try to destroy any imperfect* person, I say this: it’s YOU who can burn. It’s a funny thing. If I was arguing in favor of males subs, as I have in the past, and anyone I was arguing with knew who you were, and they don’t, I would say: “Please don’t take Meitar as a representative example. Yes he is one of the biggest activists for male submissives, but he’s a special, special, horrible little flower. He is the worst imaginable envoy for male subs and I’d be distraught if he was the most public face for MY cause.”

    *AKA anyone who doesn’t support you completely or publicly, as well as random kinky passerby, as well as anyone whose power makes you jealous, as well as anyone who’s ever signed up for FL

  14. I went to graduate school to further my personal goals, not my career goals. I studied public health. Having grown up in a sane, healthy home, I decided to educate myself on domestic violence and the sexual abuse of children. In the process, I learned a lot about people who are considered to be the experts in their fields, and simply put, they are fucking crazy, and held in high esteem by numerous references who are fucking crazy themselves. Had it not been for a required course in organizational psychology in graduate school, I would not have been able to connect the dots between “decent” people, and horrible, usually criminal elements in our society. The circle the wagon mentality of a group can make the real world seem sane. Liars cover for liars, cover for liars within groups to the point that the truth simply cannot be determined. It can be quite amazing what happens to morality, ethics, processional ethics, and truth when dealing with such people. A nurse tried to murder my wife in an emergency room with me standing right there. The ER was loaded with CCTV and audio equipment. When I filed complaints with six regulatory agencies for six different reasons, The director of nurses and the CEO of the hospital stated the incident never occurred because the nurse said it didn’t. As for the CCTV, they claimed if it were to exist, it would violate Federal law on medical privacy. One nursing license, a quarter million dollar fine for her, and a million dollar fine for the hospital later managed to accomplished one thing. My wife and I were given criminal trespass notices to never enter the hospital again. What does this incident have to do with FetLife? Everything. The number of times I have had my life threatened at munches, parties, and over the Internet is mind boggling. All these threats have been by wanna-be authorities and leaders of the alternative lifestyle. These people manipulate people expecting the outcome to be that the threatened people will change their perception of the truth. That tends not to happen when their adversary spent 40 years in the law enforcement and intelligence communities, and unknown to everyone, carries the firearm from Hell. The last threat I received on FetLife was from a group where I got the new girl in town. How could this accomplishment cause such instant hatred? Because I didn’t live in town. I lived 220 miles away and they just couldn’t or wouldn’t accept that an outsider got the girl. Two days later, the girl had blocked me, had a protector, mentor, and a couple of other bad ass wanna-be’s keeping me from harming her. I am so dangerous, I have never been arrested in my life. Three different wives have been repeatedly drilled by the intelligence community on any tendencies that suggested an ability to cause domestic violence. The tendency just isn’t and wasn’t ever there. I have concluded that the alternative lifestyle is as dangerous as life gets. Not because of the practices of the people in the alternative lifestyle, but because of their demented perception of power, leadership, and their being right to the exclusion of everyone else on the face of the Earth;, rather than all of us having valid opinions that differ because we all see life from different perspectives. When people like John Baku and Phillip_the_Foole can be convincingly made out to me manifestly dangerous, it’s time to ditch the alternative lifestyle as an organization, and practice fetishes/BDSM in the privacy of your own home. Many, but not all, of the people on FetLife are bona fide psychos. Am I qualified to make that call? Not really. None of them would ever consent to a proper intake that is required to draw the conclusion that many of them have dangerous personality disorders. As for altering the truth, the movement by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom to have most of the paraphilias removed from the DSM-V will undoubtedly get more than a couple of people killed. Goodbye FetLife. You’re a group of really sick motherfuckers.

    • > When people like John Baku and Phillip_the_Foole can be convincingly made out to me manifestly dangerous…

      “Made out to [be]…”?

      The latter caused a very serious injury to his submissive while engaging in a completely nonconsensual behavior, ignoring safewords, that resulted in her having to have surgery and losing a body part. He damn near killed her.

      In my book, that *is* flat out dangerous.

      I have that information (with a lot more detail) first hand from his victim, not through the grapevine, and with full permission to discuss as appropriate with others.

      I’ve also read much of the obvious (and massive) disinformation campaign he has apparently waged to attempt to discredit her. It’s obscene. The reality is *not* what he makes it out to be at all. And as a former paramedic, I am quite competent to read and fully understand medical reports.

      Baku made himself completely persona non grata at the SF Citadel during his one visit there. He’s apologized for the fiasco publicly, so there’s no point belaboring the point, but the fact remains that according to the owner of the place, he showed up so stinking and obnoxiously drunk they had to assign people to escort him all evening, and he still apparently managed to do something at least somewhat nonconsensual with someone.

      This is not exactly the exhibition of a tendency towards safety, either.

      > I have concluded that the alternative lifestyle is as dangerous as life gets.

      I’m afraid I couldn’t agree more.

      I also agree there are a whole lot of totally nutso people in our circles, and it’s why I myself have concluded that D/s itself, as a relationship construct, at least as manifested so often in the public scene, is basically flawed and dangerous – and taken then to the nth degree, as you have described so well, by the power structure of the public scene, and have backed away to a large extent.

      I know that in all my years of “vanilla” dating, I never ran into anywhere near as many clearly abusive men as that group that calls themselves “dominants”, whether they are out and about in public or not.

      One doesn’t need graduate degrees to know when one is in the presence of crazy, especially when being physically and emotionally injured by it oneself.

      I also can’t help but wonder about the few studies that have supposedly been done that people trot out as “proof” that there are no more deranged and/or abusive individuals in our ranks on a percentage basis than in the world at large. That appears to be an utterly self-serving delusion to me, and very much flies in the face of what I have observed personally over the course of more than a decade in the public scene.

      • Coming late to this conversation, but have to respond to this:

        “I also can’t help but wonder about the few studies that have supposedly been done that people trot out as “proof” that there are no more deranged and/or abusive individuals in our ranks on a percentage basis than in the world at large. That appears to be an utterly self-serving delusion to me, and very much flies in the face of what I have observed personally over the course of more than a decade in the public scene.”

        My experience has been that there are far more deranged and/or abusive individuals in the world at large than most people realize. I have chosen to avoid becoming actively involved in the scene, because of the frequency of abuse and the abusive structure I see in the scene itself, however to me this is no different that society at large. Unfortunately, opting out of society at large isn’t an option. So I think it is probably accurate that people in the scene aren’t any more deranged or abusive than the population at large, however communication within the scene does make this abuses more visible – let’s face it, in vanilla dating, unless you are dating within your circle of friends, you are unlikely to here from a prospective dates ex about whether or not the date ever behaved in an abusive manner. And if the date doesn’t go well, you move on and never learn that the polite guy you didn’t have any chemistry with has a bad history of abuse. Where in the scene you don’t just hear about it from their exes, you are in the play parties and dungeons watching the abuse happen.

        Similarly, geek culture is not more misogynistic than culture at large, but cons create a venue for that misogyny to become more visible and there fore called out. Which means geeks talk about the misogyny within geek culture more, which means there is an appearance of geek culture being more misogynous than culture at large.

  15. Pingback: Got Consent? Part III: FetLife Doesn’t Get It | Disrupting Dinner Parties

  16. anonymous

    As an abuse survivor with PTSD, I just want to thank you for speaking up. I know a lot of people agree with me and are too anxious to say so, because leaving an anonymous comment here is a little daunting if you have left comments on other sites.

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