An open letter to reporter Madison Pauly (@msjpauly)
cc: Mother Jones magazine (@MotherJones)
March 10, 2023
Dear Ms. Pauly,
On March 8, you published this piece in Mother Jones, which was once a reputable magazine, titled “Inside the Secret Working Group That Helped Push Anti-Trans Laws Across the Country: Leaked emails give a glimpse of the religious-right networks behind transgender healthcare bans.” At the time, you tweeted “I got ahold of leaked emails between anti-trans doctors, lawyers, and activists working with elected lawmakers to push trans healthcare bans across the US. They illustrate a coordinated effort from major religious-right groups as far back as 2019.”
Your piece mainly concerns efforts in 2019 and 2020 to enact legislation to protect children in South Dakota from being given harmful hormones that would permanently sterilize them and irreparably harm their bodies.
The piece mentions that “a member of the Women’s Liberation Front” testified in support of a bill concerning the administration of puberty-blockers and wrong-sex hormones in minors.
Ordinarily I would not care about such a thing. Your long piece is basically a description of a bunch of people (lawmakers, doctors, and activists) emailing each other about draft legislation. Word to the wise: When a bunch of people want to get legislation passed, they often use email as a means of communicating about it. This is not unusual. There was no “secret working group.” It was a bunch of people emailing each other. Get a grip.
The reason that this got my attention is that your piece dropped on the same day that I received this email message in my private email account:
Huh, I thought, an email threat from an anonymous source. How clever. How stunning and brave, even!
Among the 215 people who received that email message were many of the same people you named in your hard-hitting piece of investigative journalism about a bunch of people emailing each other about draft legislation. I assumed that the sender had received the addresses from you, from the same person who sent you the leaked email messages, or someone else related to one or both of you.
In your piece, you say this:
It was like Deutsch assembled a team of Navy SEALs—we were all trained killers in a specialty,” says Elisa Rae Shupe, a retired US Army soldier who became a vocal anti-trans advocate and participated in Deutsch’s working group after detransitioning. Shupe has since retransitioned, disavowed much of her old activism, and shared her copies of the working group’s emails with reporters. Religious-right rhetoric about wanting to help children with gender dysphoria is “just a front for what they do behind the scenes,” she says. “It’s like they want to do as much damage to the trans community as they can.
Deutsch here, of course, refers to South Dakota representative Fred Deutsch, one of the main sponsors and promoters of some of the bills to protect children from harmful hormones that you talked about in your article. And by “Elisa Rae Shupe,” you are referring to a man who was born James, then became “non-binary” and called himself “Jamie,” then reverted again to being James, and now pretends to be a woman named “Elisa Rae.” Shupe wrote a blog post on the very same day, openly acknowledging having borderline personality disorder.
You carefully state that Shupe “shared  copies of the working group’s emails with reporters.” You do not say which reporters. Your tweet states that you “got ahold of leaked emails.” You did indeed “get ahold of leaked emails”, but you did not say exactly where you got them.
In the blog post, Shupe states that:
More in-depth reporting on these topics will be forthcoming. Far more emails than those involving the workgroup have gotten turned over to investigative journalists. Brave reporters will assemble the pieces in the days, weeks, and months ahead, connecting the ties between conservatives, faith-based groups, sexologists, and gender-critical feminists, giving an intriguing, possibly never before seen, view of how I helped to cause massive harm to the transgender population, especially children.
Like you, Shupe does not state precisely which “investigative journalists” or “brave reporters” received the emails. Obviously, you received them eventually, from someone, but it’s not obvious that you got them from Shupe. Maybe you did, I just don’t know.
But I did come across this blog post by someone named maia arson crimew. Crimew states on his blog that he is “gay, mostly for girls,” and that he is a “tiny kitten.”
This is how he appears on Wikipedia:
The blog post, made on the same day your article was published, is titled “the emails - 2600 pages of hate.” It links to your piece in Mother Jones and states that “the emails describe a wider national effort against transition treatment for minors.” Crimew states, “CLARIFICATION: i, maia, am not the source of this email leak, merely a publisher, since i feel that this should be more widely available than just to selected journalists.” I am named as an individual in my capacity as then board member of the Women’s Liberation Front. The post includes a pdf of all of the leaked emails, complete with names and email addresses.
Crimew also tweeted about the episode.
I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but Crimew is a known computer hacker who has leaked source code from some major tech companies and was indicted in 2021 on hacking-related charges.
[EDIT March 10, 2023: Information related to Crimew’s federal criminal indictment can be found here. Thanks to the reader who alerted me to this.]
For the record, if anyone is interested, it is 100% true that I testified in support of bills in South Dakota in 2019 and 2020. Those bills were intended to protect children from receiving dangerous hormones that result in sterility and other long-term health problems. I did it then in my capacity as a board member of the Women’s Liberation Front, and I would do it today in my capacity as president of Women’s Declaration International USA. I think it’s bad public policy to poison children. And I’m sure I’m in several of the email chains talking about it. Emailing elected officials and doctors in the course of advocating for legislation to protect children is, in contrast to hacking or making terroristic threats, not a crime.
On March 9, I received another email message from a different anonymous account, accusing me of genocide and threatening me. This one was sent only to 11 people, several among them having been named in your Mother Jones piece:
That one explicitly links to Crimew’s blog.
Also on March 9, I received around five email messages that claimed to be ads from Home Depot. They looked suspicious though, and since I don’t care about ads from Home Depot anyway, I blocked the sender. Then I heard from others who are on the receiving end of these email threats that they were also receiving mysterious email messages that purported to be ads from Home Depot. Someone with hacking experience is terrorizing people who, in 2019 and 2020 (and beyond) have been engaged in what amounts to completely legitimate political organizing to bring about legislative outcomes that the hacker doesn’t like.
This morning, I found in my inbox dozens more emails from the same blocked address that purported to be sending Home Depot ads along with one with the subject line “KILL YOURSELF,” and another that is so pornographic my integrity will not permit me to share it here. All of these email messages are being sent to the same people who are the subject of your Mother Jones article.
So Ms. Pauly, I have some questions for you:
Did you, or did you not, receive the emails directly from Shupe? Did you, instead, receive them from Crimew? Someone else?
Why are you taking seriously as a news source the ramblings of a man who can’t figure out which sex he is and admits to having borderline personality disorder?
Do you happen to have any idea who is sending me and others these explicit threats via email? I’m sure the FBI would like to know.
Do you condone creating fake email ads from what are generally considered to be reputable businesses and spamming them to people whose political values differ from yours?
Do you condone making vile, pornographic terroristic threats via email?
I’m happy to talk any time. You can find me at my website, www.karadansky.com. Or, if it’s more convenient for you, you could always contact me via the email address Crimew posted in the pdf on his blog and that someone is using to terrorize me. I know you have it.