I recently listened to a radio interview with Ragen, and what she said about one of her major “hater” abuse claims sounded a bit off. I did some investigation, and I’ve come to the conclusion she probably made up the whole thing. Not only that, but she talks about it so often you can actually chart the progression of her usual embellishment and exaggeration over the course of a few years. It’s truly fascinating stuff. Pay attention to the constantly changing numbers and details!
The origin of this story is a Youtube video Ragen posted on October 5, 2012 for Better than the Bullies, one of her numerous fat-related side schemes that failed and was quickly abandoned. In it, she claims she was a victim of an attack organized by and coordinated across 10 separate unnamed “health and fitness” web sites, whose users generated 20,000 blog hits and posted 5,000 comments within 48 hours, half of which told her to kill herself. Her description of the attack and all the numbers are quite specific.
In a blog post a couple days later it suddenly becomes 30,000 blog hits.
In August 2013 she brags about how her elite blog comment moderation skills saved the day during the attack and says that almost all the comments told her to kill herself. She makes it quite clear this took place entirely within her blog comments.
In a September 2014 interview she now says it was an email attack and she received over 5,000 emails and blog comments within 24 hours, and that the abusers had specifically been instructed to sign every single email with “kill yourself” by the coordinators of the hate campaign. She repeats the claim that it was “5,000 emails” on her IronFat blog.
“I struggled really hard that day that all those comments came in, like “what am I going to do, like do I want to trash them all, do I want to spam them all?” And what I ultimately decided was to do literally nothing. So they just sit in my moderation queue.”
In February 2015 she takes it a step further in an interview on national radio in New Zealand (listen at 16:05). She now implies the “kill yourself” comments (not emails) came from Reddit and 4chan rather than the previously mentioned (and still unnamed) health and fitness sites.
The details of this story change every time she tells it. To verify her original claim, I checked the Wordpress comment IDs on the Dances With Fat blog. Every WordPress comment is assigned a unique incrementing number. This number isn’t reused even if the comment is deleted or left in the moderation queue (the majority of Dances With Fat comments are unpublished). By checking the number at regular intervals, you can tell approximately how many comments were left each month. There isn’t a single instance in 2012 where she received anywhere close to 5,000 comments. In fact, there is no unusual comment activity whatsoever.
The “attack” never happened. Ragen is a proven liar. She made up this story and either couldn’t keep it straight in her head or simply couldn’t resist her trademark wild exaggeration and rewriting of history. It’s a textbook example of Ragen’s relationship with the truth and why this blog exists.