Jacob Applebaum


Since there’s no “Reply as linked thread” available any more, here’s this anyway:


Jake and I had been friends and coworkers for years. Looking back on it, I’m not sure why. From the very first Tor developer meeting I had attended, he repetitively propositioned my partner and I for sex. He even went so far as to, on the very first meeting on the first morning, in front of all the other developers — whom I had not yet met — tell me that he was okay with my partner and I fucking in the same bed as him while he watched, causing both of my partner and I to feel completely humiliated that our private sex life was being discussed in front of colleagues we had hoped to build a good start towards friendly, professional relationships.

How did we allow this to happen? We prioritized decentralization in our technology, yet allowed power to concentrate in one man who abused people for years. Jake’s behavior is representative of a systemic problem, grounded in a star culture that has allowed individual fame to overpower the ability of the community to recognize its collective needs. The “shut up and code” mentality creates a hostility to basic human empathy — talking about feelings, offering support, engendering individual and collective growth — which could have helped with accountability and prevention. Many people who wanted to be close to Jake’s fame enabled his abusive behavior. None of this is unique to hackerdom — but beware those who insist it can’t happen here. We should ask ourselves why those people didn’t feel safe speaking up sooner.

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It’s there, just harder to find.


I’ve read them both and just want to say two things:

  • I believe them, and

  • I salute them for their bravery in stepping forward and sharing their stories publicly.

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