This comment came from an unknown reader who had some criticism of my work at Frank Report. Unlike Keith Raniere, I like to publish critics of my work. For three reasons: They might be right – they might be partly right – or they might be wrong. But the best way to get to truth is to work at it. And with transparency is the best way to work at it, in my opinion.
Of course it would have been better if this writer had signed their name and identified themselves. But in the world of Raniere one has to be careful and I understand that.
They signed themselves as:
Removal of that woman’s name might have been too late. First, you never should have disclosed it. Doing so violated every norm of journalistic ethics there is. Naming victims, posting their pictures, posting photos of minors, I realize you are trying to force a conclusion that will save some people from further harm, but these people are victims, they are among the people who have been or are being harmed. Your crusade, which is noble and necessary, may be inflicting further harm on at least some of these people. And simply because you delete something from a website does not remove all record of it. Leaving aside any screen captures or printouts readers may have done, there are archives like the Wayback Machine where old versions of websites are stored in perpetuity. This is why people are constantly warned not to ever put anything out there they might some day come to regret, because everything put on the internet is forever.
Second, you are publishing so much salacious information that it is hurting your credibility among people who you really need to take your posts seriously. That level of detail is not necessary, again it potentially inflicts further harm or suffering on victims, and it dilutes the force of the critical, material facts you publish. Accounts or allegations of Raneire ejaculating on womens’ faces, not just one post but at least several, does nothing other than potentially humiliate every woman known or suspected of having relations with the man. What purpose does this serve? These things cloud your message, and diminish the potential usefulness of your website for people who might be in a position to do something.
You don’t know me. I have no connection to this cult. Never heard of it before I was contacted by someone who knows about cults, who introduced me to someone who introduced me to a former cult member. I have now spoken to several such victims. There may be things that could be done for them, for people still trapped inside, all of whom are victims. Even some of the ones you vilify or publish personal details about, because this man has mastered some set of techniques that enable him to turn victims into victimizers. But that does not make these people any less victim themselves, and there are potential legal sticking points if this isn’t understood.
If you want to really help all of these people, as I believe you do, then you need to filter yourself. Think carefully about what you are about to publish, and think through all of the potential ramifications, rather than single-mindedly focus on inflicting pain. That can be an approach, but I suggest you consider being more selective, and in places less detailed. Think about the harm you may be doing, and whether that is necessary. You clearly do not have an ethics counsel, so you have to do this critical thinking yourself. People who might investigate or take some sort of action need to be comfortable that this website is a credible source of information, they need to convince superiors of the same, and they unfortunately need to spend a lot of time sorting through the posts and trying to determine what information is useful, because nobody has time or resources to investigate everything.
Just chew on this. If you want to publish it, go ahead although I don’t see what the point would be. Bottom line is that two people I sent a link to your site to, whose support or assistance might have been useful if not more, refused to sign off on anything because of the problems I have identified for you. There are very few investigators or attorneys who would devote scarce resources to undertake an investigation based upon such an inherently problematic initial source.
I encourage you to keep up the very good work you are doing. You have built up trust relationships, people are confiding in you, they are trusting you, and you are so far effectively protecting your sources. I just cannot tell whether your objective is solely to ‘name and shame’ people into leaving, or whether you would like to contribute to something stronger. If it’s the latter, I encourage you to carve out a little time, take a few breaths, step out of your own mind and try to adopt an outsider’s perspective, and then read through your posts with that in mind. Then draw your own conclusions, because I am not judging you, I am offering you one such interested outsider’s view.