Why the Alexa Di Carlo Thing Matters

A wise friend once said, in reference to dating, “It sucks to put your trust in an untrustworthy person.”

Truer words could not apply to the Alexa Di Carlo scandal. I think this paragraph from Expose A Bro, the blog that is outing Alexa as Thomas “Pat” Bohannan, sums up the accumulated violations pretty well:

Bohannan wasn’t just harmlessly getting his kicks maintaining an anonymous blog where he could live out fantasies of being a desirable woman. He knowingly spread lies about sex work, advocated unsafe sexual practices, had sexually-inappropriate online interactions with underage youth, all the while passing himself off as an academic and trusted adult who is trained in human sexuality. (Refuted here.) He used bold-faced lies about his qualifications to try and discredit real sexuality activists, and laughed at their setbacks. He stole images from real models and passed them off as him– implicating these innocent bystanders as suspects in his activities. He bullied one activist by harassing her via email, and gleefully celebrated the demise of a valued sex workers rights publication, $pread Magazine. He threatened to expose another sex blogger. He purposefully mislead and misinformed his large online audience about important sexuality issues. He tricked escorts into talking to him and having sex with him by using “Alexa” to vouch for him as being a safe and respectful client. (More escorts are talking privately about feeling violated by having had sex with this con artist.) He ran a “sex education” message board where minors trusted him enough to share nude photographs of themselves.

Providing sex education for young people is difficult enough as it stands: dealing with fundamentalist groups determined to eradicate any talk of sex in schools, worrying losing your job for uncensored sex discussions, struggling for legitimacy in academia, making your voice heard above the din of bad advice from recognized experts and even defending oneself from personal character attacks.

So when someone makes a fake identity and starts doling out sex information using false credentials, this job gets much, much harder.

And when young people come forward about this person soliciting nudie pics from minors? Sheer litigious rage bubbles forth.

(I’m not even going to get into a discussion about the deplorable way Bohannan allegedly used the false sex worker identity to gain the trust of actual sex workers so he could employ their services. Wrong. Really, really wrong.)

There are some people that insist this person was never using fake credentials, simply mentioning living in San Francisco and going to some graduate program here.

No. I’ll just put that notion to rest with some screengrabs after the jump.

Alexa's Resume
Interview Stating MA Completion

As for this third screengrab, no-one in the cohort “walk[ed] across the stage on the 22nd” as the schoolwide ceremony at SFSU takes over 5 hours. We had our own tiny cohort ceremony (auspiciously enough on the first ever “Harvey Milk Day”) with our advisors, faculty, friends and family.

The worst parts of all of this is how Bohannan manipulated people for his own sake while painting himself as an authority on sexual subjects. I mean, encouraging minors to post nudie pics? Who does that?

If indeed Bohannan is behind all of this (and the more I read, the more I think he is), the man should be taken to court. This is not a case where someone lightheartedly explored an alternate identity. This is manipulation on a gross scale.

What he did with minors was, aside from ethically reprehensible, flat out against the law. If you were a minor in contact with “Caitlin” or “Alexa” and want to pursue this, please contact a local ACLU affiliate. The choice is entirely up to you; just know that there are organizations that will help you take action should you decide to do so. For more information on reporting internet crimes check out this link, supplied by the indomitable Heather Corinna of Scarleteen.

ETA: Bohannan sent an email posted a response refuting claims that he is behind the Alexa identity. I find it very odd he spoke to Alexa if he was just registering a domain. Especially when he is the only person who has claimed to have heard her voice.

6 thoughts on “Why the Alexa Di Carlo Thing Matters”

  1. Wow… That is some creepy stuff to the tenth level.

    So should people not be aloud to be anonomous to protect people from this sort of thing?
    Being anonomous is what allows many people to be able to blog about sex in a society that is very hateful towards those who speak their minds.

    It’s a mess either way you look at it.

  2. I don’t think the solution is that people can’t be anonymous. But he was staying anonymous so that he could deceive people in ways that had real-world consequences (ie: tricking escorts into seeing him without a proper reference and getting nude photos mailed to him).

    I initially didn’t understand the big deal about writing a fantasy blog—it annoyed me that people thought she could be a real escort, but I didn’t see it as especially harmful. The more I learn about this man though, the more upsetting and scary it is. Another reminder to be super careful on the internet. I am glad he is being outed so publicly because hopefully this will serve as an example for other predators.

  3. You know what’s also odd about his rebuttal? If he just lost his job, why would he shut down the websites she ran, which would now be his only source of income (as he managed them for her)?

  4. A little while ago I had an argument with “Alexa” about some terminology. At that point I decided that she was a bit of a bitch and I didn’t want to have anything to do with her anymore.

    It’s sickening. Before that “she” had been a follower of my twitter account and had gotten underneath the privacy controls I set because I thought she was trustworthy enough to be allowed to do so.

    In fact, “she” was the first person to congratulate me on getting my job.

    Sickening. Where do I make a report ??

  5. It’s not the anonymity that’s an issue. It’s the deceit, and fake credentials, lending this person some sort of authority to which he had absolutely no right, and furthermore, using said fake credentials to mislead and misrepresent.

  6. Right, anonymity isn’t the problem. Instead, the problem is that fake-Alexa posed as something he was not in order to gain people’s trust/respect, so that he could have sex or get sexual photos. In some places, using deception to get someone to consent to sex is classified as rape. For example, here’s one such case in Israel: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldhaveyoursay/2010/07/what_are_the_limits_of_rape_by.html#235889

    And Massachusetts recently considered passing a law that would count these actions as rape: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/02/29/politics/uwire/main3894875.shtml

    Perhaps not all deceptions-to-get-sex are bad enough to rise to the level of rape (as many have argued about the above Israeli case), but deceiving someone about, for instance, one’s HIV status in order to have unprotected sex is serious enough to make the action count as rape (as is the case in Canada).

    This fake-Alexa’s deception isn’t as serious as lying about HIV, but it is serious enough, I think, to make fake-Alexa effectively as rapist.

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