Roosh breathlessly “reported” that
Two independent journalists have confirmed with the San Francisco Police Department that Anita Sarkeesian, a video game social justice warrior, may have used false pretenses to raise money for her non-profit entity. The police have said that she has not contacted them as she claimed after receiving a Twitter death threat in August. Under Federal law, this may put her on the hook for felony wire fraud.
The two “independent journalists” in question are tech journalist and self-described “fan of 4chan” Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart, and Davis Aurini, the cigarette-smoking, scotch-drinking, Anton LaVey-looking blogger who’s trying to raise money to make a “documentary” about the evils of Anita Sarkeesian and “social justice warriors.”
Both journalists – well, the one dude who writes for a sleazeball right-wing site and the other dude who’s not actually a journalist at all – did indeed contact the San Francisco Police Department and were told by a media spokesman that he couldn’t find a record of Sarkeesian contacting them about the threats she received in August.
This bit of “news” sent #GamerGaters and other Sarkeesian-haters around the internet into a bit of a frenzy.
But it turns out they got worked up over nothing. The police spokesman just hadn’t looked hard enough. A day after Tweeting a number of accusatory questions to Sarkeesian, Yiannopoulos had to backtrack, noting in a series of Tweets that he’d had another conversation with the SFPD, who told him that Sarkeesian had in fact reported the harassment to the FBI.
Another writer posted emails he’d gotten from the police spokesman that seemed to confirm Yiannopoulos’ updated information. In the emails, SFPD Public Information Officer Albie Esparza said that Sarkeesian had indeed contacted the SFPD in August but that the case had been handed off to the FBI. (I’ve confirmed this with Esparza .)
Given that the main “proof” that Sarkeesian was lying about the threats she said she received had just vanished into thin air, you might expect that Roosh and Aurini might, you know, correct their now-clearly incorrect posts on the subject and retract their accusations. Well, not so much.
Roosh’s post remains up, with only a brief “update” at the end, noting that “the police have changed their story and now state that they were contacted.” Aurini’s post remains unchanged, and as I write this he’s posted nothing more on the subject.
Even considering the people we’re dealing with here, the hypocrisy is breathtaking.
Roosh ends his post by declaring that
these new revelations concerning Sarkeesian show that no form of media is safe from the SJW and feminist agenda, and that we must do all the fact checking ourselves. The entire media establishment in the United States is potentially corrupt. Proceed accordingly.
Yet he refuses to frankly acknowledge that the “new revelations concerning Sarkeesian” were based on faulty information, offering instead a weasel-worded “update.”
Aurini, for his part, claims in his post to be “fight[ing] for openness and integrity within Tech and Video Game circles.” But he hasn’t bothered to update his post.
When ethical journalists discover that they were wrong about something, they acknowledge their errors and post straightforward corrections. When they get something spectacularly wrong, they apologize.
Somehow I don’t think we’ll be getting apologies from either of these guys.
And thus we get to the whole wire fraud thing. In his post, Roosh repeated a claim made by Mike Cernovich of the “game” blog Danger and Play, who tweeted:
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) September 12, 2014
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) September 12, 2014
As it turns out, there’s zero proof that Sarkeesian lied about anything here. And she made no direct connection between the threats and her Tweet asking for donations.
Indeed, by Cernovich’s logic it’s Davis Aurini, not Anita Sarkeesian, who’s guilty of felony wire fraud. Why?
Because in his post, he made a direct connection between his accusations against Sarkeesian and his own fundraising efforts. Here’s how he ended his piece:
Personally, I’d like to see a lot MORE documentation on Sarkeesian, because this isn’t the only claim she’s made which I suspect is fraudulent – and not just her, but all of the individuals hiding behind the shield of Social Justice, and the journalists who have been aiding and abetting them, culminating in outrage known as #GamerGate. That’s why Jordan Owen and myself have started a Patreon page, so that we can create a feature-length documentary about these people and their methods, and how they bully and victimize the very people they claim to support.
So please help us get this documentary made, so that we can fight for openness and integrity within Tech and Video Game circles, and expose the professional victims for the con artists that they are. Please support our documentary, The Sarkeesian Effect: Inside the World of Social Justice Warriors.
Given that Aurini now knows that his post was based on faulty information, and given that he hasn’t corrected his post or retracted his insinuations, could he now be guilty of felony wire fraud?
For what it’s worth, I don’t think so. While admittedly I’m no lawyer, Cernovich’s logic seems to me like a bit of a stretch.
I do feel safe in saying, however, that neither Roosh V. nor Davis Aurini should be lecturing anyone about ethics.
UPDATE: I confirmed with the SFPD that Sarkeesian had indeed called the SFPD and that the case was handed off to the FBI; the post has been updated to reflect that.