Media and Journalism, Racism, Uncategorized

CRIMSON DNA Apologizes, But Gawker Outs Her

I got an email this afternoon from Maureen O’Connor of Gawker, letting us know that she had outed CRIMSON DNA:

Great post on the Harvard 3-L who started the racist email war. We just did a follow-up.

We’ve made great efforts to keep the identity of the Harvard 3L under wraps, terming her CRIMSON DNA and deleting mentions of her real name in the comment section. Now that she has been publicly outed, on a site much larger than our own, we will no longer be moderating the comments.

Still, for us, the story was about the fact that a Harvard law student with a prestigious clerkship holds these views and about the reaction from Black Law Student Associations. We did not think that her identity was an important component of the story, nor that she was a typical public figure whose name should be disclosed. Obviously, those of you spamming the comments with her name disagree, as does Gawker.

We won’t say her life is ruined, but it’s certainly not been a good week. People have emailed the judge she’s rumored to be clerking for. She has issued an apology. And the Harvard Law School dean has issued a statement, distancing the school from DNA’s views. And hell, it’s finals time.

Here’s an excerpt from her apology to the incoming and outgoing presidents of the Harvard Black Law Students Association, available in full after the jump:

I am deeply sorry for the pain caused by my email. I never intended to cause any harm, and I am heartbroken and devastated by the harm that has ensued. I would give anything to take it back.

So what set this all off? A cat fight, apparently…

As we noted in our first post on this, the person who allegedly forwarded DNA’s email used to be a friend of hers, before they had a falling out. According to some sources, the email by DNA that was forwarded by OUTRAGE this week was approximately six months old. A fellow student previously told us:

I think it’s kind of sad that OUTRAGE’s personal animus against DNA caused this whole debacle. I don’t think it’s ultimately about what DNA said, it’s about the fact that OUTRAGE’s still bitter… I think it’s pretty sad that those involved used that same power and credibility to conduct a character assassination, rather than to expose the troubling views through honest debate.

The tipster describes OUTRAGE as “petty”:

I don’t really know the substance of what sparked the forwarding of the email, but it really didn’t have to be much to provoke OUTRAGE. OUTRAGE is pretty petty… I think it’s pretty grotesque that this has gone quite so far.

OUTRAGE got her revenge. Someone anonymously emailed the Harvard Law Review board last night, of which DNA is a member, saying:

I wanted to bring this to your attention because it, no doubt, reflects extremely poorly on the Law Review for one of your editors to be running around unmuzzled and making such ludicrous remarks. As it is nearing the end of the year and little can be done, I have also taken care to make sure this email reaches her future employer at the 9th Circuit. I felt that this is of the utmost urgency, so I have also taken care to notify Dean Minow of this transgression. I have faith that the Review will take all necessary and swift action.

DNA sent an apology to members of the Black Law Student Association last night:

I am deeply sorry for the pain caused by my email. I never intended to cause any harm, and I am heartbroken and devastated by the harm that has ensued. I would give anything to take it back.

I emphatically do not believe that African Americans are genetically inferior in any way. I understand why my words expressing even a doubt in that regard were and are offensive.

I would be grateful to have an opportunity to share my thoughts and to apologize to you in person.

Even beforehand, I want to extend an apology to you and to anyone else who has been hurt by my actions.

We asked Maureen O’Connor of Gawker how she decided to out the student. She wrote:

The story has taken a life of its own and Stephanie’s identity is no secret — this story is being talked about on campuses all over the country. If we shielded her identity, we’d be treating her differently than the subjects of other stories. It seems like the word “outing” only comes up when the subject is a person that an upper-middle-class, educated blogger would consider a peer. For instance, nobody minded when the name of the Virginia NASCAR enthusiast with the racist pick-up truck came out.

We reached out to Stephanie and offered to let tell her side of the story. I spoke to her on the phone, and when she realized who I was she hung up. If she changes her mind, we’ll write an update — the same courtesy we extend to the subjects of all our stories.

What do you think, Above the Law readers? Was naming the student involved an important component of this story?

The Harvard Law Student Who Started a Racist Email War [Gawker]

Earlier: The Harvard Law School ‘Racist’ Email Controversy: Dean Martha Minow Weighs In
The Harvard Law School ‘Racist’ Email Controversy: Corrections and More Commentary
Harvard Law School 3L’s Racist Email Goes National

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