5,000 Little Lies

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.”

Ragen Chastain

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.

33 thoughts on “5,000 Little Lies

  1. You’re doing a real service with this blog! I stopped reading Ragen a few months ago, cause it made me so angry to see her lie over and over…but now we have someone documenting it! Keep up the good work!!

    • Does she even have speaking engagements outside of HEAS these days? She used to have a link on her blog to ‘book her’ and I also showed her upcoming/most recent speaking engagements. Now? Nothing.

      • I wasn’t aware she ever did speaking outside of body positivity/fat acceptance/HAES events.

  2. She did go a little mainstream in ’12. She had a pretty full speaking schedule. That died quickly and now she has maybe a two non-FA talks a year. I am guessing from a friend or a HAES follower. But it is clear that most of the mainstream talks she booked at colleges in ’12 and ’13 has not asked her back.

  3. I guess you really need to feel superior to someone. Ragen is a beautiful person, and I suppose beauty is something you’d like to eradicate. Sadly, for every gem like Ragen, there are two hateful bigots out there.

    • While I might not agree with you, I respect your opinion and unless it is flat out offensive or hate, there is no censorship here.

      Oddly enough, if you ever comment on Ragen’s blog and it doesn’t fit her narrative. She won’t approve it. She censors 99% of hyer comments.

      But hey – we are pretty big on Freedom of Speech around here – being that its in the constitution and what not.

      Other than that, I have no other motivations. So thank you for commenting and reading our blog.

  4. I remember that post on her blog. I have to say, I’ve been getting skeptical of all her claims about fat harassment for a while. I’m a big lady myself and am regularly seen exercising (mostly biking and dancing) eating in public – nobody ever says shit to me. (Maybe they do behind my back but if I can’t hear it IDGAF.) But to believe her she gets hassled constantly. Then again, I’m not trying to promote myself as an HAES expert. (I have my own issues with HAES but that’s a different topic.)

  5. Thanks for the blog.
    This is more of what the internet needs… be it on HAES or whaterev topics, we need numbers, we need facts, we need stats, we need truth, not an endless string of nonsensical bullshit.

    PLEASE keep up the hard work, you may nob be getting money for this, but I’m sure you are saving a few lives.


  6. If the comments are sitting in her moderation queue as she claims, they wouldn’t show up in that statistic, would they?

    It’s not that I don’t think she is lying, because I do, but I’m not convinced that you can use that graph of comments on her blog to show she isn’t, because unapproved comments wouldn’t show up on that AFAIK.

    • Comments in the moderation queue are included in the stats. Every comment on a WordPress site is assigned a unique incrementing ID number, regardless of whether it’s published, spammed, trashed, or left in the moderation queue forever. The data in the graph is derived by checking the ID number of the first comment every month and calculating the difference from the previous month. It includes every comment left on the blog, not just the published comments. Only about 45% of Dances with Fat comments are actually published; you can determine the difference by manually adding the comment total of every post for a given month.

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