Man Posed As Lesbian Blogger For The "Challenge"

Tom MacMaster initially offered a "non-apology" for pretending to be a Syrian lesbian blogger named Amina Arraf. In an interview yesterday, he seemed a little more contrite, but still had some weird things to say about why he decided to play a woman online.


MacMaster told the Guardian,

I regret that a lot of people feel that I led them on. I regret that ... a number of people are seeing my hoax as distracting from real news, real stories about Syria and real concerns of real, actual, on-the-ground bloggers, where people will doubt their veracity.

At least he's starting to understand where he went wrong. However, he also says, "What I don't regret is the fact that I did hopefully bring a good bit of attention to real human rights abuses in Syria, the real situation that real people are facing, even if through a fictional voice. To a large extent it's almost as though I were writing a novel." Uh, so write a novel? As we mentioned last week, MacMaster's ruse may indeed have focused more attention on Syria. But it's increasingly clear that the kind of attention he courted may be harmful — even he admitted that Syrian authorities might use his blog to claim that all opposition to their regime was fake.

And then there's the matter of appropriating female gender, lesbian sexuality, and Syrian identity essentially so people would think he was cool. Above, MacMaster explains that he decided to pose as a lesbian because he "liked the challenge." He also says he decided to be female so that people would be "polite" to him. Maybe MacMaster needs to spend more time as a woman on the Internet — he clearly doesn't know what it's like.

Gay Girl In Damascus Hoaxer Acted Out Of 'Vanity' [Guardian]



How to make a non-apology apology even more offensive? Follow it up with this shit.

Also, I think that every major woman blogger should start forwarding every random insult, trollish comment, and threat of rape and/or murder that she gets to him, just to make a point about how absurd his whole idea of pretending to be a woman so people would be nice to him is. Seriously, can we sign up at least Melissa from Shakespear's Sister, Jill from Feministe, and Amanda from Pandagon to do it?

ETA - Also! I don't believe this man is enough of a fool to honestly believe that all women experience constant politeness on the internet. What he really means is that he thought that assuming the persona of someone who was a minority on multiple front (Arab, gay) would shield him from criticism from the kind of good liberals who he wanted as readers. Which is almost a silly as the idea that the internet is nice to ladies, but with an added of level of WTF is wrong with you you appropriating asshole? Because he's taking the respect and deference that he assumes should be given to minorities and using it to shield himself from criticism of his writing. Because his potential hurty feelings are so important that he can't take honest feedback, and if avoiding that means pretending to be a young gay Arab woman who's in serious danger, well, so what? He just wanted people to be nice to him!

(Seriously, let's all forward him every piece of misogynist hate mail we get.)