Dramatic accusations of ‘doxxing’ online annoy me no end. It may seem like a petty complaint to rail on about, but as a devoted fan of communicating in coherent ways, I continually insist that words mean things and that we use said words as accurately as possible. Today’s postmodern youth claim that disagreement is violence, men who enjoy femininity are literal females, and the reading of words that challenge their preferred narrative causes PTSD. But our dictionaries have not yet been burned, and so many of us know better.
While it is popular to screech that one has been ‘doxxed’ after being filmed at a public event where cameras are present, after one’s legal name is published, or when a photo taken in a public place appears online, none of these things actually constitutes ‘doxxing.’ What does constitute doxxing is the publication of private, identifying information online (your face and name are not ‘private,’ sorry…) as a means of retaliation or to endanger an individual. For example, publishing the home address of a public figure like YouTuber Blaire White, who is very likely to be targeted by enemies or fans in a way that puts White at risk. Which is precisely what Jessica (née Jonathan) Yaniv did to White earlier this month.
While Yaniv’s name was graciously protected by a publication ban until last month (despite the fact that he is the danger, not the one at risk of victimization), since the ban was lifted, we have been privy to a stream of incriminating and/or nauseating accusations and information.
So, what do we know about Jessica Yaniv? We know, until recently, he went by the name Jonathan. We know he filed 16 human rights complaints against female estheticians in the Vancouver area after they declined to give him a ‘Brazilian’ bikini wax. We know there are numerous allegations that he preyed on underage girls. Most recently, Anna Slatz published a piece at The Post Millennial, reporting how supposed agent and documentarian, Ryan Gordon, provided evidence of a text conversation between himself and Yaniv, wherein Yaniv appears to admit to having had ‘sexual contact’ with girls under the age of 16. Slatz also reported on yet another victim — Jane Doe, now 27 — who was pursued on by Yaniv when she was 16, working as an intern for a site Yaniv was blogging for in 2009, called Gizmofusion. We also know he owns a taser, which is illegal in Canada. Yaniv proudly informed White of this before doxxing White, who also identifies as transgender.
It was as a result of this taser-brag that Langley RCMP arrested Yaniv earlier this month, and searched his home, seizing two conducted energy weapons, bear mace, and pepper spray. Nonetheless, Yaniv was released back into the wild the next day. And, of course, right back onto Twitter, where he promptly announced that he is ‘a powerful, beautiful transgender woman with a huge heart for society with a mission to remove transphobia and #lgbtq discrimination globally.’
That’s right, a man who owns illegal weapons, has a long history of (allegedly!) predating on underage girls, who doxxed Blaire White, who told free speech activist Lindsay Shepherd that she had a ‘loose vagina’ and mocked a reproductive abnormality she has, and who has destroyed the business and livelihood of at least one immigrant woman, thanks to his vexatious complaints against women who do not desire to handle his genitals, still has a Twitter account. With 150,000 mostly-paid for followers.
According to Twitter, it is against the rules to either use multiple accounts to harass individuals or to doxx someone. Which is apparently what Yaniv did: use a sockpuppet account to doxx White.
Meanwhile, I — a longstanding independent feminist writer and journalist — was permanently banned from the platform for referring to Yaniv as ‘him.’ Got it. Weapons + (alleged!) sexual harassment and abuse + posting the private information of a person with the intention of putting them at risk + vile, misogynist comments targeting female Twitter users = all good. Referring to a male person who at the time was still using his male name and profile on social media as ‘him’ = harmful, dangerous, and bigoted.
In an interview with Joe Rogan and Tim Pool earlier this year, Head of Trust and Safety at Twitter Vijaya Gadde claimed she ‘has a rule against the abuse and harassment of trans people on Twitter.’ And, broadly, that her aim is to protect people from abuse and targeted harassment on the platform. Yet, Yaniv clearly targeted Blaire White, Lindsay Shepherd, and possibly others, considering he apparently operates other fake accounts beyond his main one. When questioned about their decision to permanently ban me, Gadde said, ‘My understanding, and I don’t have the tweet-by-tweet, is that she was warned multiple times for misgendering an individual she was in an argument with (and this individual is actually bringing a lawsuit against her in Canada as well).’ I have no idea who Gadde is referring to here, and clearly neither does she, as no one in Canada is bringing any lawsuit against me, but perhaps that Twitter CEOs are publicly lying about me in order to defend an indefensible decision is beside the point. My comments about men not being women and my choice to refer to males as ‘he,’ even if they say they are transgender, are not targeted, but general. I don’t refer to trans-identified males as ‘he’ in order to insult or harass (unless you believe being a man is inherently a bad thing), but because I don’t wish to support the ideology and legislation that stems from the notion that men can become women through self-declaration. Indeed, I believe it is dangerous to do so, as evidenced by Yaniv’s complaints that women won’t handle his penis against their will, which are being taken seriously at the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, solely because Yaniv has declared himself to be female.
So, despite the fact I have never harassed or abused anyone on Twitter, Gadde elected to ban me, simply for stating ‘Yeah, it’s him,’ with regard to Yaniv, and has allowed Yaniv to remain on the platform, despite harassing people and intentionally putting White at risk. Despite being a potential danger to women and girls. Despite allegedly operating sockpuppet accounts in order to harass or harm other users.
To state that men cannot become female does not, by any stretch of the imagination, constitute harassment or abuse. It is a neutral fact, not an opinion or judgement. Posting the home address of an individual in order to encourage people to harass and abuse, does. Certainly, literal harassment and sexual abuse constitutes harassment and abuse.
At what point will Yaniv be held accountable for any of his horrid actions? Why is it he is able to get away with so much? How much digging and reporting must be done before a line is drawn? And, perhaps more importantly, why are women not allowed to speak the truth about material reality and alleged predators on Twitter?
It should be noted that those who initially took the risk of speaking out about Yaniv — Gallus Mag, for example, the blogger behind GenderTrender, and the woman who first outed Yaniv — have been punished and have yet to be vindicated. Many have now been suspended by Twitter for attempting to speak truthfully about Yaniv. I made the choice to bring a lawsuit against Twitter for this very reason.
It should disturb every one of us that Twitter has elected to enable someone like Yaniv, and to make an ideologically-driven lie an incontrovertible truth, while silencing and libeling women who dare challenge this.
Meghan Murphy is a writer in Vancouver, B.C. Her website is Feminist Current.