Gossip Pits the Cleveland Kidnap Survivors Against Each Other

Illustration for article titled Gossip Pits the Cleveland Kidnap Survivors Against Each Other

After an absence, Page Six gossip columnist Richard Johnson is back at the New York Post, and his most recent column is about Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, the Cleveland kidnapping survivors. But wait, you say. There's no gossip there, that's a news story. Not in Richard Johnson's world.


Johnson's headline: "Major Tension Between Cleveland Kidnap Survivors Over Tell-Alls."

"There's major tension between the two camps," one New York publishing exec told The Post's Tara Palmeri. "It started over their years inside the house. The girls didn't get along. If there wasn't tension, all three would be doing the book together."

Ummm… They were kidnapped, beaten, raped and held against their will for YEARS. Why the hell are you making it sound like a catfight instead of a horrifying ordeal? Even if there is tension between the women, wouldn't it stem from the horrors they endured?

In court, we learned that these women lived in dark rooms behind locked doors without doorhandles, chained to poles or restrained with zip ties. They were raped repeatedly. They were forced to play Russian Roulette with a loaded gun. They were not allowed to use the bathroom. Showers came once a week, if that. When Michelle Knight became pregnant — which happened multiple times — Ariel Castro punched, kicked and jumped on her stomach until she miscarried. But this item makes it sound like the women are not being the right kind of victims.

There's more.

Earlier this year, Knight went on "Dr. Phil" and talked about her years in captivity.

"She lowered the value of the book by going on Dr. Phil," said my source. "The question is, did people get enough?"

The fact that Castro was able to hang himself five months after his arrest has also diminished public interest. "Are people going to care, since Ariel Castro committed suicide in prison?"


Again: Sounds very much like chastising the victim. This entire item is written as though we're talking about Kardashians or "Real" "Housewives," not survivors of abuse and other hideous crimes. There may be a way to discuss behind-the-scenes drama surrounding book deals, but this is not it.

Images via the Berry/DeJesus/Knight thank you video.



I would really like it— it would be a relief of epic proportions— if the media referred to women aged 18 and older as WOMEN not "girls." I find the term infantilizing and disrespectful in a way akin to calling a black man a "boy."