Target: Ben Smith, Editor-in-Chief of Buzzfeed
Goal: Criticize group of journalists responsible for naming woman involved in latest Anthony Weiner sex scandal
The publication The Dirty recently uncovered another instance of American politician Anthony Weiner engaging in an online sexual relationship. When breaking the story, the publication kept the identity of the young woman involved in the scandal anonymous. However, a team of journalists at Buzzfeed took it upon themselves to identify by name and post photographs of the woman.
“I’m trusting you to keep my name out of it, because like I said, it was obviously a mistake,” the woman told The Dirty, “I was young and dumb. I just want people to really know he’s lying when he acts like he has changed.”
Even though she clearly expressed her wish to remain anonymous, Buzzfeed has outed the woman and shared her face and name with the world. This has opened the woman up to harassment and slut-shaming around the Internet. Revealing the woman’s identity in no way adds to the critical discussion of Weiner’s behavior.
By outing this woman, Buzzfeed makes it difficult for more women to come forward about scandals such as this one. The promise of anonymity is usually an important condition for speaking out, and it’s possible that this very woman would not have come forward if she had known she would be outed by the media. The focus of this scandal should be on the politics of sex and power and not on the identity of the woman who was very young when she was deceived by Weiner, who promised her many things, like a job at Politico and a condo in Chicago. Sign the petition below to tell Buzzfeed to apologize for naming the woman and to refrain from naming sources who wish to be anonymous in similar scandal situations in the future.
Dear Ben Smith,
Until Buzzfeed started its coverage of the most recent Anthony Weiner online sex scandal, the woman involved remained anonymous. As her interview with The Dirty — which broke the story — indicated, she wished for her identity to remain out of the press. However, Buzzfeed published her name and pictures of her face, revealing her to the public.
Revealing this woman’s identity in no way adds to the conversation about the scandal and only serves to open up her life for scrutiny, harassment, and slut-shaming from around the Internet. Weiner was a man in a position of power who exploited this woman, offering her jobs and gifts. The woman should not be dragged through the mud just because of decisions she made when she was very young.
Outing this woman makes it more difficult for other women to come forward about political scandals. We must protect these women’s privacy if they make the courageous decision to come forward. I urge you to consider this when covering future scandals and to apologize for naming a woman who wished to remain anonymous.
[Your Name Here]
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