Recently we’ve received several pointed questions from a commenter, particularly regarding our reporting around some activity that’s taken place on Abe & Ella’s blog.
To do that properly, we need to set out the original purpose of this blog. Hoaxtead Research originated in early May 2015, primarily as a response to another blog that was promoting the Hampstead Hoax via digging up information on private citizens and their children—people unfortunate enough to live in a particular area of London, people who work at the original named school or church. These people continue to be harassed by Hoaxteaders, and some have suffered a great deal of personal turmoil and upheaval as a result.
Whilst there has been speculation amongst Hoaxtead hawkers that this blog is run by so-called ‘cult members’, in fact we are a group of unaffiliated people who were, and continue to be, offended at the lies and innuendo spread by the other side. We feel that a strong dissenting voice is hugely important, given that the mainstream media is extremely limited in its response to what is, after all, a small regional story.
One of our first projects involved ‘stalking’ the pseudonymous ‘Jacqui Farmer’, author of That Other Blog, with the goal of discovering her real name, and turning that over to the police for eventual prosecution. As it happens, she was writing from offshore, which made it difficult for the police to do much unless or until she returns to the UK. (We should add that the police face a similar problem with Abe and Ella—they fled abroad specifically to avoid facing up to the allegations against them, and thus will not face the courts until or unless they return home.)
Since those early days, this blog has reported on developments in this story, whilst also liaising with the police when we believe we’ve uncovered information that might help them in their ongoing investigations. We take this responsibility very seriously.
Meanwhile, though, our mandate has been to bring the perpetrators of the hoax into the light of day, and counter their narrative, which we believe to be false, damaging, and ultimately evil.
One of our main weapons is humour: satire, mockery, piss-taking, you name it.
Many of our regular readers are people who’ve been harassed by Hoaxteaders. They’ve had their privacy invaded, their children named online and described in terms of their alleged ‘sexual preferences’; they’ve received countless threatening emails, letters, and phone calls; their bosses and colleagues have received poison pen letters containing lurid descriptions of imaginary crimes.
If this blog can afford some of these people a chance to laugh at those who torment them, then we consider it a job well done. If we can provide them with information that might help them either prosecute or sue their tormentors, we’ll have achieved our highest goal.
As U.S. social activist Mary ‘Mother’ Jones once said, the aim of the press should be to ‘afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted’. We aren’t arrogant enough to believe that this small blog is large enough to qualify as ‘press’ in the sense that Mother Jones intended, but we do take her words very seriously indeed.
Yes, we have ethical limits, lines we won’t cross. Sometimes we’ve discovered those limits too late, by violating them and then realising we’ve messed up. But once we realise our errors, we do our best to own up and correct them.
All of this is to say that yes, we do understand that taking the piss out of Abe on his blog can be construed as a form of harassment, and no, two wrongs don’t make a right.
But…please note that the Hoaxtead hawkers think absolutely nothing of accusing anyone who disagrees with them of being paedophiles, murderers, rapists, ‘sodomites’, cult members….and they mean it. They aren’t just kidding around. In fact, this is why all of us here use pseudonyms: we’ve seen the damage these people can do. None of us want our jobs, our children, our lives targeted by people who will accuse us of the most revolting crimes imaginable.
So when we read the comments on Abe’s blog—comments that would be taken by most bloggers as legitimate dissent, argument with his pseudo-science, or questions about his documented behaviour—well, yes, we found them amusing.
Even more amusing, of course, was his reflexive mass deletions. What might have happened if he’d allowed the critiques to stand? Or even if he’d taken issue with them, and not by telling the writers they’d burn in hell? We’ll never know.
Do two wrongs make a right? Absolutely not. No argument there.
But the comments we’ve seen (with a couple of exceptions involving Abe’s older children, which we flagged as inappropriate and damaging, and whose authors we don’t know) have all fallen well within the realm of acceptable, as far as we’re concerned.
Tom, don’t stop asking questions. They make us stop and think, and whether we agree with you in the end or not, stopping to have a bit of a think is always a good thing.
We feel it’s important for any blog like this one to examine its own motives and actions carefully, and to avoid drifting onto the wrong side of the ethical street. Questions like yours help us do that.