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Lying as PR: AVFM's Janet Bloomfield libels Jessica Valenti — then brags about it

Janet Bloomfield, self-acknowledged liar
Janet Bloomfield, self-acknowledged liar

A Voice for Men’s “social media director” Janet Bloomfield is proving to be quite the innovator in the world of public relations. You may recall her cheeky approach to publicizing the recent AVFM conference, which involved awarding herself “whore points” for calling critics of AVFM “whores.”

Now she’s moved on to straight-up libel, making up fake quotes in order to make feminist writer Jessica Valenti look bad, and then bragging about it on her blog.

This whole sordid episode began several days ago when Valenti, on vacation, decided to send a message to “all the misogynist whiners in my feed today” in the form of a photo of her on a beach wearing a t-shirt saying “I bathe in male tears.”

The AVFM social media attack squad seized on this at once, with Bloomfield telling her followers, wrongly, that the picture had been posted in response to a question about male suicide. When Valenti corrected her on this point, Bloomfield offered a half-assed apology (“My bad”).

Then Bloomfield, demonstrating just how insincere her apology had been, decided to up the ante, concocting four “quotes” from thin air and attributing them to Valenti.

[EDIT: JB’s Twitter account was suspended, so here’s a screenshot of the tweets; I’ll keep the original links up in case she’s ever unsuspended, though that seems unlikely.]jbfakequotesTwitter

https://twitter.com/JudgyBitch1/status/495366752168329216

https://twitter.com/JudgyBitch1/status/495367262187302913

https://twitter.com/JudgyBitch1/status/495367996337295360

https://twitter.com/JudgyBitch1/status/495374177013346304

Naturally, as you’ll see if you follow any of these Tweets back to their original context on Twitter, many of Bloomfield’s fans assumed that these quotes were real.

Needless to say, some responded to Bloomfield’s dirty tricks with all-too predictable harassment of her target:

https://twitter.com/JessicaValenti/status/495559012449267713

https://twitter.com/JessicaValenti/status/495559068841680896

After brazenly libeling Valenti, Bloomfield went on to boast about it on her blog. In a post with the smug title “Jessica Valenti is not having a good day,” she wrote:

So when Jess posted that picture, I needed to goad her into replying to me directly so I wouldn’t violate Twitter’s spamming rules. I used Poe’s Law to attribute a few false but utterly plausible quotes to her, and sure enough, she replied.     Jess is not terribly smart.     Now Twitter is a little outraged at Jess’ callous indifference to the suffering of men and boys and she is catching a bit of hell. Predictably, she is having a big victim party and sulking.  It was just a joke, after all.

Now, these fake quotes may have been “utterly plausible” only to those who are ignorant of Valenti’s work, but in the hothouse world of the Men’s Rights movement there are people who would probably believe that Valenti eats babies. As I noted, JB’s followers had no trouble believing them.

Later in the post Bloomfield added, with more than a hint of maliciousness:

Jess is not having a good day, and it looks like it will be getting worse before it gets better.     Much worse.     Awwww. Too bad, Jess. Sucks to be a grown-up and have to own your shit, doesn’t it?

It’s not clear how having made-up quotes attributed to you counts as “owning your shit,” but I guess I just don’t understand Bloomfield’s higher morality.

Needless to say, in the real world, deliberately publishing false information about someone in order to harm their reputation is libel.

When confronted with this on Twitter, Bloomfield offered some inventive excuses:

Later on she attempted to prove that her libelous fake Valenti quotes didn’t matter … by making up things about me:

https://twitter.com/JudgyBitch1/status/495684048237633536

As I noted,

Of course, I’m no lawyer. I can only hope that some people who are lawyers are taking a good hard look at Bloomfield’s lies.

I would encourage you all to screenshot or otherwise archive Bloomfield’s self-incriminatory blog post, as well as her tweets, just in case she decides to talk to a lawyer and take them all down.

At this point, I think it’s probably safe to assume that anything and everything anyone from AVFM says should be taken not with a grain but with an entire shaker of salt.

 

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sparky
sparky
6 years ago

“It,” not “if.”

Congratulations, emilygoddess! Seven years! That’s wonderful!

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

Congrats emilygoddess. 🙂

Re Pharyngula: I wouldn’t go so far as to call them all good people, particularly not for those here who are religious, for obvious reasons, or who are social scientists/humanists because apparently our fields are useless. Not PZ, who seems reasonable, but some of the commenters are extreme in these areas.

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

pallygirl,
I’m one of those people. I’m Jackie with this same gravatar. I don’t discuss religion here to be friendly and inclusive, but I am a skeptical anti-theist and still a good person. you may not like my perspective on various beliefs without me being a bad person. In my life there are no real world spaces for me to be open about my atheism and skepticism. There are only a few online. Pharyngula is one space where I feel free to discuss social justice and religion openly because that is what the space is for. If that does not float your boat, don’t go to that site. I did not say Nate was good people because he is a regular there, but that he was good people and I recognized him from there.

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

…or who are social scientists/humanists because apparently our fields are useless

That’s not a popular opinion on Pharyngula. I don’t know why you think it is.

YoullNeverGuess
YoullNeverGuess
6 years ago

Congratulations, emilygoddess!

Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

Emilygoddess — that’s awesome! Congrats!

Sparky — if she’s anything like me she’ll go “well you’re a poopyhead and I like dinos so :-p ” — mind you, this won’t win her many friends, and she may still feel the need to meet social standards, but good on you for giving her a background where not meeting them is perfectly okay. Sounds like she’s still Dr. Suess aged — be who you are and say what you feel because those who matter don’t mind, and those that mind don’t matter.

Nathan Hevenstone
6 years ago

Congratulations emilygoddess! That’s wonderful!

Hi Nathan, you post on Feministe and Pharyngula, don’t you? I recognise your guitar-gravatar (yes I looked at Gravatar, I wanted to see that kitty tee shirt properly).

Pharyngula more often, but yes I do. I love Freethought Blogs, to be honest. Probably my fave space on the internet.

As to my shirt… not sure how many here know who Miri Mogilevksy is? She blogs at FTB under the Brute Reason banner? She took that pic back at WiSIII this past May. We dubbed it Ceiling Cat. 😀

Reminds me.. when did “Matriarchy” become defined as “Same shit as Patriarchy, only with women on top”? From what I recently read, none of the researchers who proposed prehistoric matriarchies ever claimed that to be the case.

I’m wracking my brains trying to remember if I ever read anything about a matriarchy ever existing. At least in recorded history, even when women were in power, most if not all societies were and are patriarchies… right? Or am I wrong about that?

The reason is that its focus is the person doing the trolling, not the people getting trolled.

Which is why, after I flounced and then realized how terrible I’d been, I stayed away for so long. I’m not sure how long memories are here, but I was the idiot who tried to say that it was cynicism/misanthropy behind the “how not to get raped” “advice”. I flounced. Then did more research and realized what an absolute idiot I had been and that I had deserved everything everyone here flung at me over that.

Hi Nathan! I recognize you from Pharyngula. You’re good people. It’s good to see you here.

Hi! I was trying to place you, then I recognized your gravatar. How are you?

I wouldn’t go so far as to call them all good people, particularly not for those here who are religious, for obvious reasons, or who are social scientists/humanists because apparently our fields are useless. Not PZ, who seems reasonable, but some of the commenters are extreme in these areas.

I’m studying to be an anthropologist. Pharyngulites (or The Horde… whatever you wanna call them :D) don’t have problems with the social sciences in general. It’s just that, occasionally, certain aspects of social sciences can be used by certain people to justify inequality and the status quo. See Evolutionary Psychology, Cultural Relativism, arm-chair psychology, etc.

I would argue that if anyone has disdain for the social sciences, it’s Richard Dawkins (*spits*) and his fans.

As for religion… since PZ’s first claim to fame (or at least, when I first heard about him) is “desecrating” a blessed communion wafer, that really isn’t surprising. Like Lea, that’s also part of why I’m part of that community. I’ll save my personal thoughts about religion and faith for another time, or you can read about them on my blog.

freemage
freemage
6 years ago

DonB: When the MRM actually decides to do something for the male victims of domestic violence other than try to exploit them with false equivalencies, maybe we’ll stop treating you all like a bunch of shitweasels.

vaiyt
6 years ago

I would argue that if anyone has disdain for the social sciences, it’s Richard Dawkins (*spits*) and his fans.

Particularly history.

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

Re Pharyngula, things may have changed over time re the social sciences, but it wasn’t too long ago when the commenters started throwing a lot of humanities and social sciences disciplines under the bus. That’s about the time I stopped reading the comments and stuck to reading what PZ was saying. Things may have changed over time but YMMV.

Re the religion side of things, same issue re throwing all religious people under the bus a la religion poisons everything.

As such, I choose to stay away from the comments there generally, unless there is a thread I’m interested in, but I will not comment in that website.

There’s still a nastiness to the comments there, which I have been reading with interest in the “I agree with Neil deGrasse Tyson” thread.

strivingally
6 years ago

@AL3H:

The reason is that its focus is the person doing the trolling, not the people getting trolled.

Fair call. What I was trying to say to Nathan was “You made mistakes in the past, and you know it, and you’re trying to make a positive change, so don’t beat yourself up too much”, but I can understand how it could come across as dismissive of troll-ees when generalised. Thanks for reminding me to be mindful of others and to avoid making sweeping statements. 🙂

Hyatt
Hyatt
6 years ago

/delurking

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought that “men’s tears” was an expression like “white women’s tears”, i.e. a derailing tactic by the privileged group to turn the discussion about bigotry into how they feel attacked and how bad it makes them feel and paint the marginalized person as the villain for being so “mean”.

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
6 years ago

@strivingally

Speaking of being dismissive of trollees, the next time you waltz onto a site full of feminists, trash them, compare them to AVFM and MGTOWs, invite good faith debate and then bail without responding to it, DON’T.

strivingally
6 years ago

AA: I’mma take that conversation to my own blog to avoid derailing anything here. Long story short, I wasn’t feeling the good faith in the dogpile at that other site.

Nathan Hevenstone
6 years ago

I actually haven’t really read the comments on the Neil deGrasse Tyson post… hrm…

The Pharyngulite Horde can indeed be mean. I’ve heard so many description of them… but I think Rabid Shark Den was the best. I do honestly enjoy it, though. Y’all here are amazing with trolls, but the Horde… I sometimes wonder why trolls even bother. I’m surprised there aren’t, like, Creepy Pasta stories around troll sites about the Horde… 😀

I say all this with love, of course, because I love most of them. I’m a commenter there myself, of course, and have quite a bit of fun with them often. I consider the vast majority of them friends, some of whom I’ve met in meat space (at Women in Secularism II and III) and others who are, at least so far, just online friends.

But yes, I can’t disagree with you, pallygirl. Pharyngula is definitely not the place for everyone, and it isn’t even about thick skin, as I’m pretty sure they can gnaw through the thickest of skins. Even I have to take a break every once in a while…

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

The fact that you’re upset over JBs actions but not JVs actions is, I suppose, part of the dogmatic hypocrisy that all feminists cling to. Sad, you could have made a valid point here by condemning both for stirring up shitstorms for no reason.

Oh, fer fucksakes. Do you need to have basic logic explained to you personally? Okay, here goes:

Sarcastic t-shirt ≠ making defamatory shit up and stuffing it in someone else’s mouth.

You’re welcome. You’re even more welcome to fuck off!

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
6 years ago

@strivingally

I don’t see anything except two old posts.

blahlistic (@blahlistic)

@ magnesium:
“Maybe it’s not so much that they think the world is an oppressive matriarchy, as that they want it to be one.”

Methinks they want women to validate their concerns, so MRA women have a great deal of currency in their movement.
Exactly what those concerns are I’m not sure, but their concerns aren’t the stuff they rage about.
…mainly because if you start agreeing that optional infant genital surgery’s probably a human rights violation, point out that reversible male birth control is going to be on the market really soon now, or agree workers in predominantly-male areas deserve better workplace protections? Even that men do deserve to take paternity leave and stay home with kids?
Or that prison rape is a horrible thing, that women do abuse kids, et cetera?
They still want to scream about feminazis.

I stopped engaging with them when one denied that women had been mostly treated as property in Western Europe over the last 2K years… Documented historical fact, I thought…
The MRA guy flatly denied it.
They have their own reality side-spur going, and it’s really pointless to argue with either persons or groups who’ve become delusional. If you argue, you become the focus for their paranoid rage…

Though the crazier these folks get in public, the better, so I suppose engaging serves a purpose.
I wish they’d actually stop using real issues as stalking horses for
THINGS ARE CHANGING AND I WANT THEM TO GO BACK THE WAY THEY WERE!
And, you know, work on the issues… Because there’s *some* truth to some of them.

strivingally
6 years ago

Auntie Alias:

I will be posting something soon. Including an apology.

LBT (with an open writeathon!)

Well, Don was certainly gross wasn’t he. Glad he ran himself out but fast.

LBT (with an open writeathon!)

Dammit. Much as I’m glad not have my green blotch anymore, the weird formatting shit that happens with my icon is kinda irritating; I keep NOT seeing pages of comments, and the “next page” at the bottom is completely missing! This is so weird and irritating!

RE: TheDjinni

The fact that you’re upset over JBs actions but not JVs actions is, I suppose, part of the dogmatic hypocrisy that all feminists cling to.

Um. Have you SEEN this shit JB says? Or did you just come here over this one thing and decide she was totally right because feminists have dogma?

RE: emilygoddess

Even less related: Sunday was my sobriety date. I haven’t had a drink in seven years (and two days)!

Yay! *firecrackers and sparkles*

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

I’m sure I was probably one of the ones having none of Nathan’s “they’re just being cynical” arguments before. Glad to see that he’s realized how messed up that argument was – wouldn’t it be nice if every guy who runs into a wall of “nope, and here’s why you’re wrong about this” could stop and have a rethink?

kittehserf MOD
kittehserf MOD
6 years ago

As to my shirt… not sure how many here know who Miri Mogilevksy is? She blogs at FTB under the Brute Reason banner? She took that pic back at WiSIII this past May. We dubbed it Ceiling Cat.

I’ve read a few of her posts, so the name’s familiar.

Ceiling Cat is my deity of choice! (And Basement Cat, of course. Let’s be fair about this.)

mildlymagnificent
6 years ago

I stopped engaging with them when one denied that women had been mostly treated as property in Western Europe over the last 2K years… Documented historical fact, I thought…
The MRA guy flatly denied it.

Strangely enough, there’s good evidence that the woman as property transactional marriage wasn’t really common. It certainly wasn’t universal. It was the usual practice for warlords and aristocrats for political purposes and for upper classes/ gentry generally. For the land owning, land rights holding yeoman and peasant classes, there were issues of whether a prospective partner was or wasn’t a good match for the purposes of farming the property.

But for most people most of the time, people formed their own marriages and lived in nuclear families, because they couldn’t afford to feed any more mouths than that. The large extended family living in a single dwelling is only possible for people with reasonably large landholdings or similar resources allowing all of them to be fed.

Of course, that wouldn’t suit the misters. They’d really not be interested in a history of marriage as mature women voluntarily marrying men of their own choice – married for love. Even if it was from a limited range of available suitors. And then both of them staying in a marriage/ nuclear family till death parted them. Sometimes very soon. Death in childbirth meant that there were far more short marriages in the past.

kittehserf MOD
kittehserf MOD
6 years ago

One thing that made married women non-people if not property on marriage was coverture. Whether its severity was down to Blackstone’s interpretation or not is moot, but it was a revolting system.

mildlymagnificent
6 years ago

Most people didn’t have to worry about coverture very much.

When your only property is the clothes you stand up in and a darning mushroom to repair your one and only pair of stockings it’s not really relevant.

Flying Mouse
Flying Mouse
6 years ago

Holy cats, did I pick a time to go visit family and spend a while AFK. JB antics and a trollsplosion, yuck.

Redpoppy and Nathan (and any other new folks I might have missed), welcome!

emilygoddess – Seven years?! Hurray! 😀

I wish I had something relevant to say about the OP, but everyone else has covered it beautifully.

Daedamot David
6 years ago

As you can see, this tactic is spreading. Observe the comment section of TheYoungTurks when they try to talk about sexual harassment at Comic Con. The purpose is obvious. Slander, distract, derail.

https://plus.google.com/b/110061526449203491920/109836180835422522314/posts/JFrYKjm32Ba

moscow nights
moscow nights
6 years ago

Let me just add a few observations about this whole disinformation campaign:

1. Janet Bloomfield appears to have, from her writings, a substance abuse problem.

2. Because it has affected her judgment she does not fully understand what she is doing to herself and her family with her apparent libels, malicious defamtion, and so on.

3. I have the impression that Elam is ready to disavow her.

Let me just say, I don’t plan to let Elam disavow her. She’s speaking what he wants said.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

Where do you get off diagnosing someone with a substance abuse problem over the internet? Look, she’s a grade-A twit running amok, but we do not know her life.

moscow nights
moscow nights
6 years ago

I do get off, hellkell. I’ve looked at her vids and read her material. She’s barely got a voice left and her judgment and paranoia levels are classic. As David sats, there’s a meth kind of vibe here.

katz
6 years ago

Srsly, unless her writings say “I have a substance abuse problem,” we have no way of knowing that.

brooked
6 years ago

Woah, woah, “meth kind of vibe”? I half remember someone mentioning that she discussed her drinking to some degree on her blog, but I don’t remember any of the specifics because I don’t care and TMI. I thought that’s what you were referring to, not a baseless “husky voice and scattered thinking equals meth head” theory. Uncool.

Viscaria
Viscaria
6 years ago

I just checked this entire comment thread and didn’t find a single reference to meth, from Dave or from anyone else. The word “method” shows up a lot though.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

moscow nights: “Meth vibe?” No one here has ever said that. You’ve put me in a position of defending a person I think is reprehensible. Fuck off.

moscow nights
moscow nights
6 years ago

OK. I have a memory of David saying something like “meth-fueled” and I agree with that, but, but if I’m wrong please let me know. I don’t want to make any misstatement..

sparky
sparky
6 years ago

There’s sooooo much to criticize JB about without having to Internet diagnose a substance abuse problem.

And, yes, she is responsible for her actions.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

moscow nights: why don’t you use this thing called Google?

AL3H
AL3H
6 years ago

@strivingally @Nathan

It’s all good – it was more that I felt weird and here is one of the places that I feel comfortable enough to say when I feel weird. 🙂

(Delay in replying was due to work things :P)

@Emilygoddess

Congratulations 🙂

kittehserf MOD
kittehserf MOD
6 years ago

Yannow, I wouldn’t give a shit if JB has a substance abuse problem or not, because it isn’t an excuse for her behaviour.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Good. Scorpio wasn’t anything particularly harmful but the boner updates and thread necroing were pretty tedious.

LBT (with an open writeathon!)

Who cares? There are Mammoths who’ve admitted to having substance abuse problems, and last I checked, they aren’t being jackasses on the Internet. Come on now.

khymchanur
khymchanur
6 years ago

Regarding the issue of libel, IANAL, but having listened to people who are lawyers talk about:

For a defamation suit to succeed, either the statements in question have to be libel per se or the plaintiff has to prove that they lead to damages. Bloomfield’s statements don’t seem to be libel per se (though, again, IANAL) so Valenti would have to prove damages. So, she’d have to demonstrate that there were some people who didn’t used to have a negative opinion of her, but did after reading Bloomfield’s statements.

As for Valenti being harassed because of what Bloomfield said, I don’t think that’s covered by defamation laws.

A.L.
A.L.
6 years ago

“Most people didn’t have to worry about coverture very much.

When your only property is the clothes you stand up in and a darning mushroom to repair your one and only pair of stockings it’s not really relevant.”

um, i’m low income, i have very little property to my name. and yet it would still be quite relevant to my life if i was legally a non-person subject to my husband’s whims and control… i must say i’m rather flummoxed at the idea that just as long as i don’t have a house i might want after divorce, subservience would be “irrelevant” to me.

Nancy
Nancy
6 years ago

This woman is awful. I made the mistake of including her in a twitter reply, suggesting that, yes, there is a place for a critique of feminism and that honest, informed debate helps the movement to grow. I mentioned to her that misrepresenting and lying does not help the cause of honest critique.

She responded to me with an “I bathe in feminist tears” photo, then bullied me: ” Okay sanctimonious nobody. Keep believing in yourself.” Apparently, being the “social media director” of a website censored here as a hate site is the work of a “somebody”. Or maybe the abuse, harassment and lies make her feel like a somebody?

I think there’s a place for male voices in their experience of oppression. Some of the ideas of this movement are valid. Nearly every time I try to engage with an MRM online with the sincerest intentions of dialogue, thinking, “”you know, maybe feminists and men’s right’s activists need to speak open-mindedly with one another” – I run into harassment and abuse from MRAs.

I like to think that I can engage with people not through the lens of ideology or my world view, but as a human being whose life has been made better by feminism (amongst other things). Almost every time I try to share that with one of these people, it’s like walking into a schoolyard of bullies. Stand up for feminism and you’ll be called all sorts of names.

This woman, Janet Bloomfield, is hopeless. Her only claim to twitter fame is that she’s an bitch to people. AVFM and most of the people on board play the same game – because they have few things of worth to say, they use harassment and abuse surely as part of their strategy towards mainstream popularity. I hope the remain nothing more than the present internet phenomenon they are. They are like a pack of adolescents that haven’t grown up.

strivingally
6 years ago

Nancy: you can’t meet people halfway who are determined to scorch the earth and salt it afterwards.

Whenever I’ve engaged someone of the MRA/redpill mindset to attempt to find common ground, they escalate to venomous hositlity so quickly I don’t have a chance to say “hey, we agree on a lot of these problems, but we disagree on causes!”.

Merely the fact I’m in favour of feminism – a philosophy many of the MRAs don’t even understand, but that doesn’t stop them from hating it – is enough for me to be considered an enemy to be attacked, rather than a person to talk to.