Fascinating. I had heard nothing of this till I came across the details today. Two librarians, Lisa Rabey and Nina De Jesus, concerned about their perception that sexual harassment was rife in Librarian circles (an industry that is 80% female), advanced malicious and damaging rumors about a male librarian with the intent to destroy his career. They had no evidence for the rumors they started and it seems unclear why they picked him. Since one of the female librarians was Canadian, the male plaintiff brought a lawsuit in Canada on the grounds of libel and defamation.
Lisa Rabey and Nina De Jesus launched a defense fund and celebrated the likelihood that the plaintiff, Joe Murphy, would be defeated in court and have to pay court costs. Rabey and De Jesus mocked and denigrated right up to the point where they issued an unreserved apology for lying about Joe Murphy. It appears that at depositions, they were unable to produce any witnesses or evidence to support any of their allegations.
This is a fascinating peek into the mind of the Social Justice Warrior/Mean Girl mind, what Eric Hoffer referred to as True Believers. You are left with questions: Were Lisa Rabey and Nina De Jesus simply misguided?, Ignorant? Were they naive?, Immature? Did they receive bad counsel? Were they so completely blinded by ideology that they failed to properly assess their actions and behaviors? Do they even now understand and believe that what they did was both wrong and malicious? The actions and behaviors of Lisa Rabey and Nina De Jesus are so outside the bounds of rationality and normal behavior that it is hard to make sense of them.
Here is Joe Murphy's statement about the case: MY PUBLIC STATEMENT CONCERNING MY LIBEL CLAIM AGAINST LISA RABEY AND NINA DE JESUS #TEAMHARPY
By the way, what person names their legal defense fund TEAMHARPY? That alone would seem to argue that they were immature and ignorant.
The Apology and Retraction from Lisa Rabey and Nina De Jesus: Apologies and retractions
Both individuals have blogs which shed even more light on their lives, thoughts, actions and mental state. Nina De Jesus writes at Satifice. Lisa Rabey writes at Exit, Pursued by a Bear
Library Journal has an article covering the background and outcome of the lawsuit, Librarians Embroiled in Lawsuit Alleging Sexual Harassment by Lisa Peet. Read the comments to begin to understand the epistemological gymnastics of the true believers who can't let go of their conviction that there was a real wrong committed by Murphy rather than that the whole issue was entirely made up by Lisa Rabey and Nina De Jesus.
It is easy, and I don't think necessarily wrong, to see Social Justice Warrior antics as something of a prolonged rearguard Gramscian campaign of a failed ideology. Looking at this particular instance though, it seems to suggest that perhaps it might in many cases be simply a consequence of a very large variation in psychological states.