[Editor’s note: A reader made a comment on Frank Report about this website offering inappropriately salacious stories. The reader followed up with the comment [below] that offers a perspective that is worthy of debate. Although it appeared previously in then comments section, I think it is worthy of its own separate post.]
Point of clarification — by “salacious” I’m not referring to descriptions of the branding because obviously that is a major issue and it is impossible to explain how harmful DOS is without describing that.
But I question the need to include graphic descriptions of sexual activity that make some posts read like bad soft core porn. And if explicitly or even implicitly tied to particular identified women, may ultimately do more harm than good.
I’m not a prude, I don’t have any general objection, it doesn’t offend my sensibilities, and I fully understand the sexual dimension to this destructive cult. It’s a matter of how seriously the author of the posts wants people to take this website, how much value these posts do or do not have to people who might be able to at least try to do something on either the civil or criminal side or both, and again, whether victims are being harmed or caused to suffer in one way or another.
Maybe things have degenerated and the destructive behavior has escalated to a point where a ‘by any means necessary’ approach is required. As I said in my original comment, I’m not weighing in to judge, I’m only offering one perspective. But none of this is black and white, it’s not at all simple, there are multiple categories of victim, some out, some still in, who have suffered different kinds of harm, who might still be suffering even though they are out, and of those who have gotten out, some are probably in a relatively safe space in their lives and some are very much still exposed.
Publishing information about them, maybe even their names, might be harmless, it might cause them some pain, it might cause them other difficulties, and perhaps there will be a case or two or whatever where it antagonizes Keith Raniere and Clare Bronfman and others even more, to the point where they lash out in one way or another.
And there are other potential issues with respect to victims still trapped inside. Maybe the best thing for them is to continue publishing exactly as things have been, but maybe some thought could be given to whether this is always the best strategy. Not everything can be fixed with a hammer.
Victimhood in a situation like this has a lot of nuances, subtleties, gray areas. The distinguishing feature of a destructive cult such as this is the undue influence, the mind control. It’s how people are sucked in, it’s how they are pulled in deeper, it’s how they are trapped and their lives effectively destroyed, and it is also how they are manipulated to turn on one another. There are many dimensions to the harm these people are suffering, and it does not just stop when they escape. And when they are still trapped inside, there may not be a clear, bright line beyond which a victim transforms into a pure transgressor. Again, nuances, shades of gray. This is true in discussing moral culpability as well as legal liability, whether civil or criminal.
Sometimes sunlight is the best disinfectant. Sometimes to prevent or stop some harm from occurring, some other harm necessarily gets done. That is not something ever to be taken lightly, unless one is truly nonchalant about harming others. And there are many kinds of harm to be considered.
I’ve tried to read all the posts on this website, and I cannot tell whether there has ever been any deliberation, reflection, self-reflection about these issues, or whether any decision at all was made as to whether the singular exposition of every last detail, including those that are fictive, is the best way to go for all purposes. And if not, how and where to draw lines.
To be fair, to give credit where credit is surely due, the author/host of this website, as well as the community of people who have provided information, have accomplished a lot. Keith Raniere’s world is crumbling, and a lot of people are now out, hopefully more on their way. There are now other questions to be considered.
Some of the victims who are out or who are on their way out may want vindication, justice — perhaps some criminal prosecution, perhaps some civil remedy. Sometimes there comes a juncture when applying maximum pressure can be counterproductive; perhaps evidence is destroyed, subjects flee, abscond with funds, etc.
But there is something even worse to consider. There is no reason to believe that the escalation is over. That is not how the sociopath’s or psychopath’s mind works. People like this don’t admit defeat, they certainly don’t accept it, and I think everyone who reads this fully understands the implications I am alluding to.
Maybe that justifies staying the course, continuing to maximize the pressure by exposing every last detail, continuing to humiliate and shame, continue to amplify that humiliation and shame by mixing fact, fiction and speculation, in order to drive as many as possible to get out. Or maybe not.
None of this is for me to decide. I am putting all of this into the mix because I have seen little if any reflection in posts or comments on these issues, and this is very serious business. I understand there is a lot of emotion, a lot of justifiable anger, I know that there are victims who read and even post here. I am not saying back off. I am saying give these things some thought, consider the things that should be considered, be very clear on your objectives, and be very conscious of the various potential ramifications.
From my perspective, this thing is at a tipping point, and there is a universe of human beings in various positions whose interests ought to be considered, at least if the idea is to to help them out.