[Note: For the first time ever, Ragen published something so awful all three Dances with Facts blog authors independently wrote posts responding to it. We’ve decided to publish all three of them separately. Please see the other posts here and here.]
Ragen posted her official race report on IronFat earlier this week. Many people were shocked to discover it was uncharacteristically humble and reasonable, if rather overblown. As one of our readers wrote, “I forgot I was reading about an ironman competition and thought it was a first hand account of a swarm of Nazi U boats sinking a merchant fleet in the dark, frigid waters of the North Atlantic.” We’ll have an official Dances with Facts race report corroborating events from a few sources ready soon (no, Ragen was not towed to shore), but more on that at a later date.
On Saturday, we discovered why Ragen’s initial race report was so reasonable when she posted her real race report on Dances with Fat. It’s a harrowing tale of oppression, haters, and stalkers so intense she even put a trigger warning on it. She is squarely targeting Reddit and this blog and its authors with her delusions of online harassment and real life stalking. This Dances with Facts post is a response to the claims Ragen makes, and readers may wish to familiarize themselves with her post before continuing.
When Online Trolls Become In-Person Stalkers
Ragen begins with the usual preamble about haters, online harassment, doxxing, etc. She claims she has been “harassed every single day for years” by trolls and stalkers. By her latest count she was receiving an incredible 73,000 pieces of hate mail every year in addition to daily credible death threats, and more recently rape threats. Since all Ragen’s thousands and thousands of haters politely contact her exclusively through email and blog comments nobody else can see, we must rely on her impeccable reputation for honesty in reporting them. We also rely on this for any evidence that “haters” contact her speaking engagement venues, which at the moment is limited to a single work of fiction about a “university fact checker” using a gmail address that doesn’t even exist.
Suffice it to say, most of her other “harassment” claims are similarly credible. These include doxxing (Ragen openly posts her address and personal information online while claiming she fears for her life), “maps to her home” (a straw man response when she was caught posting fake training selfies in September), “three letter writing campaigns to the IRONMAN organizers” (a single mention by a GOMI poster that the race director was an acquaintance and was aware of Ragen’s plans), and so on. With that out of the way, we can address her race day claims.
After Ragen’s disastrous IRONMAN swim, she went for lunch with her friends and family while a “trollapalooza” took place on her Facebook wall in her absence. She assigns the blame to “Reddit” (yes, all 3.7 million Redditors are out to get her), when in fact the vast majority of “trolling” came from a single discussion on 4chan; the moderators of subreddits discussing her IRONMAN actually immediately banned users for so much as liking a comment on her wall, let alone “trolling”. As usual, Ragen doesn’t really care about the accuracy of her statement and simply picks the lowest hanging fruit to get the most sympathy. In recent interviews she even blames Reddit for the 5,000 Little Lies affair she wrote about over a year before the first mention of her name on the site. In Ragen’s mind the truth is whatever suits her needs.
Ragen then engages in her own “favourite pastimes” of misdirection and exaggeration. It’s certainly true there was a lot of doubt about whether she had finished the swim. Her time was listed as “did not start” on the IRONMAN site, and her tricky relationship with the truth has been documented in great detail on this blog in numerous past posts. In the absence of any real information, trolls from 4chan were happy to fan the flames and post speculation in the form of rumours Ragen was towed to shore. The vast majority of “trolling” on her Facebook wall that day was from people politely asking for clarification of Ragen’s swim finish, or engaging with her followers to ask their opinion of past actions while she wasn’t there to carefully curate the discussion.
In preparation for Ragen’s expected response, we documented some excellent examples of the “hate and vitriol” she received before they were deleted. Truly vicious stuff.
After lunch, Ragen cleaned up her Facebook wall, and then exactly as she says, there was an enormous outpouring of support from fat acceptance advocates and HAES proponents everywhere because of the “horrific abuse” she suffered publicly after her triumphant IRONMAN attempt. She claims this is what she deals with every day and what she has to “protect” her followers from on a daily basis by deleting every comment remotely critical of anything she says or does. She took a week to collect her thoughts, and then published her magnum opus, the culmination of several years of self-victimization and pretending she is a famous activist facing haters and threats to her life on a daily basis, just like her heroes Martin Luther King, Jr. and Harvey Milk. The response has been overwhelming.
The trademark Ragen misdirection then comes into play. Ragen claims the primary criticism of IronFat was that she would “lose all her readers” if she failed to finish. Any reader of this blog will immediately recognize how ridiculous this statement is. For the last year we have criticized Ragen’s lack of meaningful information about her training, her poor attitude towards other athletes, her total unpreparedness for the race (borne out in her dismal result), and her outright lies (see Fake Selfie Sunday). Nobody has ever questioned the unwavering support of her followers. In fact, it was this author’s personal prediction for several months that she would DNF the swim and immediately play up any negative attention for support. We encourage anyone visiting this blog for the first time to read the extensive recap of Ragen’s truly inept training efforts and lies posted here on the eve of her IRONMAN attempt.
Creepy Scary IRL Trolls
“Things got weird” when Ragen registered for two sprint triathlons and never bothered to show up. Dances with Facts documented this as continuing evidence of her failure to adequately prepare for the IRONMAN. This was again borne out when she decided an IRONMAN event was an appropriate venue to practice her first group swim start, with predicable results when she panicked and doggy paddled around the course to the inevitable DNS. Ragen claims she didn’t mention these races publicly because she feared the organizers would be “harassed” by her trolls. We note again she has yet to provide any credible evidence this has ever happened, and also that every stage of her IronFat training was similarly couched in secrecy and misinformation except when exposed by this blog. The excuse simply represents her usual misdirection and self-victimization, and her actions are entirely in keeping with her long history of skipping out on athletic events.
Instead of addressing why she didn’t train properly and skipped significant training milestones, she calls the discovery of her missed sprint triathlons “creepy stalking behaviour”, and posting about it online “extra creepy”. Apparently “stalking her at this level” (i.e. viewing public race records in a Google search for her name) represented a major escalation that foretold future stalking and harassment in person.
Skipping ahead to race day, Ragen then relates a story from the swim start where a mysterious unidentified Redditor also competing in the event approached her, and they had an extremely awkward and “suspicious” conversation in the style of so many of her fictional encounters with strangers. In this imaginary narrative, Ragen is shocked someone recognized her in the crowd. To put this in perspective, in Ragen’s fantasy world, it’s surprising someone would recognize a super morbidly obese woman wearing an ill-fitting men’s wetsuit, wandering around a crowd of limber triathletes with a 550 pound woman in a bariatric scooter and a full film crew in tow. Ragen further expects us to believe an internet “stalker” with a clearly visible identifying athlete number approached her in front of the film crew, but she can’t remember who it was or provide any evidence the encounter took place. As with her IronFat race report, she conveniently omits any mention of the film crew, which caused a huge disturbance in the swim start area and may even have contributed to her poor showing.
Dances with Facts gets another nod from Ragen as the “anti-me website” posting minute-by-minute updates of her race. Ragen claims “various forums and websites” posted pictures and video of her taken by what sounds like a horde of haters stalking her at the event. The reality is that no video of Ragen was posted online, and the horde of haters consisted of a single bored local Tempe resident curious enough about Ragen’s dog and pony show to turn up and see if she actually competed. This person posted exactly five photos of Ragen on 4chan and then left without saying a word to her. As my co-author points out, Ragen has no problem filming hundreds of strangers for her own purposes, but the moment someone takes a photo of her in public they become a “stalker”. Nobody bragged about stalking Ragen and her family. As usual Ragen cannot stop herself from wildly exaggerating.
At this point Ragen truly goes off the deep end. She manufactures a list of “paranoia” for her followers to build off. She implies the mysterious Redditor may actually have attempted to impede or harm her during the race, or even sabotage her timing chip. She talks about lying in fear in her hotel room wondering if people were taking photos of her. These allegations are patently ridiculous. Ragen was bumped and jostled during the swim start because that’s exactly what happens during a wave swim start at a triathlon, and she would know that if she had any prior experience before turning up for an IRONMAN. In fact, the reason people ran into her is because her swimming form is so poor her entire wave had to pass her while she foundered in the water. It’s clear the “mysterious Redditor” in her stories is actually meant to be my co-blogger, a veteran and family man with a long history of triathlon competition who made every attempt to avoid any kind of contact with her, who she specifically refers to as a “stalker” later in the post.
Ragen wants to know why the authors of this blog and her other online critics write anonymously. The fact that she is willing to make up defamatory stories and imply she was stalked and assaulted simply to silence her critics should answer that question. My co-author predicted this weeks ago and was sadly proven right. Her readers have now accused us of being “terrorists” and implored her to report the “assault” to the police and take out a restraining order against her “stalkers”, or have us arrested and “massacred” in jail. They have compared us to degenerates who bomb churches, racists who oppose desegregation, bigots who lynch gay people, and even the people who beat Mahatma Gandhi during protests. And Ragen is basking in the attention while planning her next paid speaking engagement at the University of New Hampshire today. We would like to point out that nobody at this blog is making any money criticizing Ragen, while Ragen is banking on her name and reputation to charge a “flat fee honorarium” of thousands of dollars to stand in front of crowds and pretend obesity is healthy.
At the beginning of her post, Ragen assures her readers the events of October 18 have been “reported” and everyone involved is being “monitored”. It remains a mystery how and to whom Ragen reported that nothing happened, no crime took place, and there are no suspects. The Long Beach Police Department must be extremely pleased she is claiming they won’t assist her with credible death threats until someone actually tries to kill her.