In a recent turn of events, Peter Todd, a former Bitcoin Core developer and cryptography consultant, filed a defamation case against ‘isis agora lovecruft’, who had earlier accused him of rape and sexual assault.
According to CoinSpice, the defamation lawsuit was filed by Todd’s attorney Liana W Chen, a senior associate with Kronenberger Rosenfeld, in the United States District Court Northern District of California. The suit was filed on April 2, 2019, in Oakland and Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu is expected to hear the case.
I can confirm I’ve filed this lawsuit, and on advice of counsel ask that questions be directed to my attorneys.
That said, I hope Isis Lovecruft does the right thing here. If she does I hope the wider community acts in the spirit of forgiveness and healing, as will I. pic.twitter.com/zGHA9ygrlN
— Peter Todd (@peterktodd) 5 April 2019
The defamation suit detailed a timeline of the accusations laid down against him by Isis Agora Lovecruft. According to the suit filed by Todd, he and Isis Agora Lovecruft were acquaintances and trouble started when Lovecruft publicly accused another man of sexual assault.
According to reports, following the accusation, Lovecruft wanted Peter Todd to publicly condemn the accused man. When Todd failed to do so, Lovecruft accused Todd of rape and sexual assault, along with two other major cryptographers.
The said accusations were made by Lovecruft via Twitter on February 20, 2019, when she accused Nadim Kobeissi, a renowned cryptographer known for his work on Cryptocat web service and his contributions against Internet censorship, of rape and sexual misconduct. She alleged that he forcibly grabbed her face and kissed her while attending a conference in 2012.
Lovecruft also said she was not the only woman who had faced sexual misconduct from the persons in question and claimed that she had spoken to “multiple survivors”.
Nadim Kobeissi is a serial rapist and abuser who defends other rapists including Jacob Appelbaum and Peter Todd and in 2012 he grabbed my face and force kissed me at a conference and i absolutely believe the multiple survivors i’ve personally spoken with since then pic.twitter.com/z6PSOIF5mJ
— isis agora lovecruft (@isislovecruft) 20 February 2019
However, though Kobeissi was her primary target, she also mentioned Peter Todd and Jacob Appelbaum in her tweet. Appelbaum was a former member of the Tor Project and has worked with many renowned activism-related websites, including WikiLeaks.
This raised many eyebrows as the accused were renowned in the crypto-space. When a user questioned Lovecruft about her allegations against Peter Todd, she confirmed that Todd was indeed a rapist. She stated,
“Yes, similar to Nadim, i personally have a story about Peter Todd and i’ve personally spoken with survivors with absolutely awful and horrifying reports who are terrified of him and of coming forward (rightly so) i however am not afraid and [sh****] dudes are going down.”
Following this seemingly baseless allegation and the social media attention it garnered, Twitter locked her account for “violating its rules against abusive behavior”.
Though Todd and Appelbaum did not pay much heed to the allegation made by Lovecruft immediately, Kobeissi refuted the allegations through a Twitter post. In his series of tweets, the cryptographer said that Isis had ‘transformed’ into a ‘monster’ and that she had changed quite a lot over the six years he had known her.
Isis, you’ve been spreading terrible gossip, rumors and innuendo about people I know and I’ve worked with in the field for years. The number is so large and your insistence on spreading lies about people is so great that I’m going to have to put my foot down and ask you to stop.
— Nadim Kobeissi (@kaepora) 5 February 2019
He added that he was not scared of her and subtly accused Lovecruft of propagating lies and gossip about the people who did not like her or offended her in any manner. He concluded his statement by asking her to move on and continue the “good work” she was known for and called it quits on the allegations.
It was after the entire fiasco gained unwarranted social media attention that Peter Todd decided to file a defamation suit. In his suit, Todd asserted that the allegations against him were fake and untrue and that he had never raped or sexually assaulted anyone. He based his defamation suit on the fact that the “statements of accusing Todd of rape and sexual assault remain publicly available”, harming his reputation to a large degree.
The defamation suit came into the limelight when attorney Stephen Palley tweeted about the same on April 5. He said that the case was related to speech issues and that there were certain merits associated with it. He commented,
“The injunction request is interesting — it’s been a while since I’ve looked at this but it is hard to get a court to enjoin speech, even defamatory speech; unlikely to happen at a prelim injunction hearing.”
Though the authenticity of the claims made by Lovecruft is yet to be verified by official entities, Reddit was of the opinion that her claims were fake owning to the lack of proof from her side. A Redditor, bittabet, commented,
“This lady has accused a ton of people of being “serial rapists” based on “stories she’s heard” on twitter. If there’s any actual rapes being committed they should be reported to the police, making up wild claims based on “stories you’ve heard” is not the right way to go about this.”
However, it is interesting to note that Jacob Appelbaum had earlier faced sexual assault allegations from Agora and another woman named Alison Macrina. This had eventually led to Appelbaum resigning from the Tor Project, even though he insisted that he was innocent and that the claims against him were “a calculated and targeted attack [that] has been launched to spread vicious and spurious allegations against” him.
Andrea Shepard, a Berlin-based developer and co-worker of Appelbaum at the Tor Project, following the initial set of allegations, stated that Tor’s management had suspected Appelbaum of sexual misconduct for months before he left the project.
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