The Samantha Bielefeld Fraud Matters

It’s been a little hard to follow the Samantha Bielefeld/Victor Wynne Johnson story over Twitter, but Sonya Mann sums up perfectly why it matters:

It makes it harder for future women tech writers, anonymous or not, to be taken seriously.

That’s it. Bielefeld came along and duped people like me who assumed — wrongly — that her pseudonym was for innocent reasons. It was not. She seized the opportunity to create controversy and indulged in faked threats. This stunt has caused real harm.

Update: And, it should be noted, while making real money.

Update Dec 3: Samantha Bielefeld tells her side:

My birth certificate says Victor Wynne Johnson on it, but my heart says another, that name being Samantha. A roller coaster of confusion, and fear of rejection has plagued me for a long while. […] I could not even begin to imagine how quickly I would be shunned for seeking acceptance for being transgender.

Victor Johnson is an accused fraud who has previously used transphobic language while tweeting as Samantha Bielefeld, and has lied about the origin of that name. Lies upon lies upon lies, especially considering this massive coincidence:

It has also been widely speculated that the nasty email I took a screenshot of, and shared in my piece, ‘Well, That Didn’t Take Long‘ was actually written by me, that I sent the hate mail to myself. This is not correct. At the time I received that message I was hesitant to decide whether it was a very unlikely coincidence, or if someone was boldly letting me know that they were privy to my true identity.

This is, most likely, an extremely offensive appropriation, built on top of another, built on top of a method to generate revenue from members, built upon a series of fraudulent statements and actions. I see very little reason to doubt otherwise.

On the other hand, it’s really hard to come out as trans. For that reason, I have removed my quotation marks around the gender pronoun above and have referred to Bielefeld as a female. However, there are enough stacked lies here to doubt the validity of this and any further claims.