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4 February, 2007

What a clever ikkle bullying hack

In case you weren't aware, the Sunday Times 'outed' Abby Lee, the author of award-winning blog and subsequent book 'Girl With A One-Track Mind' last year.

'Abby Lee' is the pseudonym of someone who exercised her right to write about sexual topics anonymously in order to avoid embarrassment to herself and her family and to maintain professional credibility in her 'day job'.
The text of the odious blackmail by journalist Nicholas Hellen has been discussed at length, but Hellen's unapologetic response reveals a strange point of view:

Hellen told vnunet.com... that the very use of an anonymous writer was a publishing "puzzle".
"The whole [Abby Lee] thing was a puzzle created by the publishers, just like Belle de Jour," he said.
"That's what drummed up the interest. What could have been the response from the publishers is 'Congratulations, you've found it out.'"
Rubbish. This wasn't some sort of 'fun' marketing gimmick or joke, it was someone's life. I hope Lee's book deal was lucrative, as Hellen has totally ruined her previous career.

Anyone who maintains a blog under anything but his/her full, true name should consider this a warning: at least one ethically-challenged journalist considers you fair game (in multiple senses of the word), and regards it as mere entertainment to find out who you really are then publish an 'aren't-I-clever?' exposé.

[Update 09/02/07: In BBC article about Banksy's anonymity, Fergus Colville similarly says:

He's stumbled across a fantastic PR stunt. It's pseudo anonymity. It feeds the media's appetite, and until they find out who he is, they're not going to give up.
I really disagree: his use of a pseudonymous nickname is genuinely to hide his identity, not a game. I don't believe journalists are implicitly invited to 'have a go'.]

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