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A Librarian Sex Scandal

The news in libraryland over the past couple of weeks has been very lively indeed.

A librarian named Joe Murphy is suing two female librarians for $1.25 million for claiming he sexually harasses women at library conferences. As sex scandals go, that’s pretty mild, but the standards for scandal are lower in libraryland.

You can go give them a donation or sign a petition asking Murphy to drop the lawsuit if those are your kinds of thing.

I haven’t seen a corresponding Support Joe Murphy’s Lawsuit website or petition, but if there is one someone can post it in the comments.

He’s also suing them in Canadian court, even though as far as I can tell both he and one of the defendants are Americans. Canadian libel laws are more friendly to plaintiffs, it seems, whereas American libel laws tend to favor something librarians are supposed to favor, free speech. So he’s a cunning little fella, you have to give him that.

I’m seeing the story pop up in more and more places, so it looks like Murphy has a growing reputation among librarians.

For an example of that reputation, this video showed up in the first ten Google results in which he appears to be bragging about “hooking up” at a library conference. The title alone indicates that the person posting the video to YouTube isn’t an admirer.

Based on some of the sites I was perusing, Murphy is supposedly a librarian “rock star,” and rock stars need all that fame, or is it infamy. Whichever, there’s no such thing as bad publicity for a rock star.

I couldn’t find out whether he’s employed anywhere. He worked at Yale at some point and then later at Innovative Interfaces. And he’s a consultant or something. It’s all vague, except that it has to do with the library future somehow, so perhaps he’s a seer.

The future for everyone involved looks pretty dark from my perspective. The defendants ignored a “cease and desist” letter from Murphy, so they must have expected something to happen, but being willing to be a martyr doesn’t mean martyrdom isn’t unpleasant.

Even if they win the lawsuit, which they might if enough women come forward as witnesses, they’re still out the time and money and anguish of having gone through the thing.

If they lose the lawsuit or settle, the Canadian librarian involved will be in the worst position, since Canadian courts have no jurisdiction over Americans in defamation cases, so Murphy isn’t going to collect anything from the American defendant.

Professionally, though, they might not be harmed. They’re martyring themselves for a cause that has a lot of support, especially among other women. Women in the public eye are always targets for male aggression, but that’s different than not being able to get work.

There’s no way Murphy is going to be able to get that much money from a couple of librarians even if he wins. The amount seems to reflect his ego more than reality, a gesture that suggests the gentleman doth protest too much.

Personally, it probably is unpleasant to have someone accuse you of sexual harassment, even if you’re guilty. Heck, maybe especially if you’re guilty. And lawsuits are often unpleasant affairs on both sides, even for those who initiate them.

Professionally, there are four possibilities that I can think of.

First, he loses the case. That will be an end to the claims that we don’t know what really happened. We’ll have the facts, and they’ll indicate that Joe Murphy sexually harassed women at library conferences.

That can’t be good for a career, because you know the blogotwittersphere will chew on that for a long time to come. All the librarians who opposed the lawsuit will feel free to despise him publicly.

Second, he wins the case. He silences the librarians, gets some money out of the whole thing, and moves on.

Once it’s all over, he goes back to doing what he was doing before. Real rock stars survive sex scandals. It’s not like he was accused of rape or punching his fiance in an elevator. Even if he has done the sorts of things the women say, none of it seems to be illegal in the context in which he was doing them.

He still gets speaking gigs and consulting fees and he’s publicly justified enough that some people will still support him. After all, he’ll have the law on his side. Sure, it’s Canadian law, currently worth only .89% of American law, but still.

In that sense, there is no such thing as bad publicity, and the librarian world forgets as the story fades.

Third, he wins the case, and it’s still career suicide, at least within librarianship. There will be hundreds of tweets and blog posts that will show up whenever anyone Googles him, and hundreds of librarians around the country who will privately despise him. He’ll be permanently tainted.

The word will spread among librarians and conference organizers, most of whom are women, and his consulting and speaking career will slowly fade away.

Fourth, he drops the case and apologizes. Not an “I’m sorry you were offended I called Jane an ignorant slut” kind of apology, but one that sounds sincere. It’s amazing the effect saying “you’re were right, I was wrong, and I’m sorry” can have on people. That might work even if he was right and they were wrong. Then he slowly rebuilds his reputation among librarians.

Five years should be enough time to test this hypothesis and see if one of these four things happen. I’ll add it to my calendar to check back then.


Please note that new comments for all posts on this blog have been closed.


  1. For what it’s worth, Stephen Abram said a stupid thing and put his foot in his mouth. It wasn’t World War 3 like people made it out to be, and I’m glad he’s back from his social media hiatus. As for Joe Murphy, those who have not interacted with him should refrain from hearsay until the lawsuit is resolved.

  2. He spoke at a conference I attended not too long ago as the keynote and it was terrible. He pretty much just read bullet points about whatever the big hot topics and buzzwords in tech news were at the time, and then “explained” how they would work in a library, as if that was not obvious for each thing. He then either shied away from and punted on or dismissed every serious question asked of him by the audience of academic librarians.

  3. Lincoln Lyceum says:

    “Women in the public eye are always targets for male aggression….” Nuf said.

  4. Lincoln Lyceum says:

    Okay, I just checked this Joe Murphy’s credentials. He graduated from library school in 2006. He’s a library futurist? An expert in the future of libraries. How can that be? He doesn’t have enough experience to be an expert in what’s going on now in libraries, much less what will be happening in the future. It does seem, however, that he has some knowledge of the social scene at library conferences. AL, do a post about library consultants….PLEASE!!!

  5. Lincoln Lyceum says:

    I just finished reading some of the stuff by the two American librarians involved. How does stuff like this happen. JOE, NINA, AND LISA GO TO A CONFERENCE – THE MOVIE!

  6. I’m going to run for ALA president so I can make money and have libraries pay me to travel the world by starting my own consultancy when my term is up. “& Associates” will be tacked onto my company’s name, of course. I’ll get some professionals headshots done and put them on a splashy narcissistic website. I’ll be rich and famous!

  7. Nina de Jesus and the person who posted the YouTube video referred to in the AL’s post may have good reason for wanting to harm the reputation of Mr. Murphy, but they reveal unattractive aspects of their own character.

    The video poster wrote this caption: “Do you guys think it’s gay if a guy drunkenly brags about his conquests like this?” It is bigoted and unacceptable to use the word “gay” as a pejorative term meaning “bad” or “displeasing.” This is much more offensive than the juvenile and very heterosexual boasting displayed in the video.

    In one of her blog posts, Nina de Jesus tries to convince us that the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” does not apply in this case, a position that is both hypocritical and weird. She asks us to assume that Mr. Hughes is guilty of sexual harassment and that she is innocent of libel, all without evidence. The principle of “innocent until proven guilty” always applies and it applies to Mr. Hughes as well as Nina de Jesus. If her position is that victims should be believed without need for proof, then she should start writing an apology and a check to Mr. Hughes.

  8. Wrong. Women in the public eye are not always targets of male aggression. This is nonsensical hyperbole that contributes little to a conversation about this case or sexual harassment in general.

  9. Presumption of innocence doesn’t actually apply here, since Mr. Murphy hasn’t been brought up on any criminal charges, and, thus, none of us are serving on his jury. In a court of law, a defendant is entitled to a presumption of innocence, but in the court of public opinion, we’re free to think he’s a creepy scumbag if we want, in the same way that anyone who thought that O.J. was guilty as sin was entitled to say so. You’re free to disagree with them, but, frankly, de Jesus is 100% correct in her claim about “innocent until proven guilty.” Murphy isn’t being sued. He’s not been charged with a crime. de Jesus and Rabey are the defendants, not Murphy. So, you know… it doesn’t apply. As to her larger point–that we should actually hold members of our community responsible for their actions by, for example, not turning a blind eye to harassment–I thought it was pretty clear that she was talking about things from an ethical/social standpoint, not a legal standpoint (what, with the whole pointing out “Resist confusing legal and judicial frameworks for ethics or morality” bit). They’re arguing that we need to take abuse and harassment more seriously *as a community*, and that we should do more to support the victims of such behavior, rather than accommodating the perpetrators. That means, as she says, doing things like, say, not inviting someone to speak at your conference after you get reports that said person has been harassing your attendees. They weren’t advocating for a change to legal procedures, and it seems intellectually dishonest, to me, to suggest that they were.

    And, if anyone is interested in reading what they *actually* said, I encourage it:

  10. just sayin says:

    And so, it’s come to this. We’re all way to connected. Something is said, something is recorded, something is implied, something … but it all ends up on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and on and on. Lives are ruined, reputations shot and we can’t get enough. I frankly don’t give two shits about the absurd messes people make of their lives. And why we all have to read about it and watch it on YouTube just sucks. I can’t tell you how much i’d like to see a major solar flare burn up our phones, tablets, ithingies … and on and on. People walk out in front of cars, trains, fall off cliffs cause they can’t get their f#**#ing heads out of their phones. No one knows how to have a conversation any more. Aholes standing in lines 12 blocks long to buy yet another phone. What a bunch of dumb f***ers we’ve all become.

  11. I had never heard of any of the 3 involved in the lawsuit until I read about it after it was filed. I am sure I’m not the only one. No matter what the facts of the case turn out to be, I and many others have now heard of Joe Murphy and he now has a reputation. Since that is the whole basis for his suit, it has certainly backfired.

  12. Brenda Martin says:

    Not just the reputations of Joe Murphy but also those of Lisa Rabey and nina de jesus. No one gets out of this ordeal cleanly. So we have a sexual harasser and at least one bigot tossing around homophobic epithets. Nice crowd. The library community has already spent far too much time wringing their hands over some seemingly unpleasant folks.

  13. Must read: “Regarding #teamharpy and Sexual Harassment” by Amanda L. Goodman, and all the comments:

  14. no one has mentioned that they called him a “sexual predator.” and if Lisa Rabey works in IL and if Wikipedia is correct, “In the state of Illinois, for instance, a person convicted of any sex crime against a minor is designated a sexual predator, no matter the nature of the crime,” then at least one of them should have known that using sexual predator is a serious accusation, and even a judgment and punishment. do a search for sexual predator and you see rapists and child molesters, never “creepy guy who tried to hit on me at ALA.”
    for the record, I don’t believe anything will be settled with the suit, but it is interesting, and interesting AL didn’t mention it either, that no one ever suggests that #teamharpy should also apologize.

  15. noutopianlibrarian says:

    I wonder if the charged atmosphere of libraryland (and academia) is a test-tube for future heterosexual relations. If so, be prepared for a lot of smoke and little fire. As a man who has lived though a significant sea change in norms for gender roles of both males and females, perhaps Joaquin Phoenix was on to something in Her (despite how the film turns out). And it never fails to amaze me how Dan Safe Libraries can turn any issue into a post about Dan. Nice one!

  16. JustAnotherUnderemployedLibrarian says:

    Full disclosure, I don’t know anyone involved in this until it became news.

    Most will not suggest that they were wrong for calling someone a “sexual predator” from hearsay because they don’t want to be perceived as encouraging sexual harassment or the likes. Librarianship is a female dominated industry so nobody wants to say anything that is evenly remotely sexist.

    AL equated them to martyrs, you know what “side” she is on. I believe that these two went about it all wrong. It seems as though their judgments have been based off of people saying this and that. Well as librarians, they should have known to check their sources. From what they seem to say, they should have had an easy time gathering primary sources to stand up to their claim as a sexual harasser.

    If this guy is as bad as everyone claims to have heard from so-and-so, than I believe he should be stopped and banished, but only through the proper channels and not just through personal social media.

  17. You wrote this? ” Personally, it probably is unpleasant to have someone accuse you of sexual harassment, even if you’re guilty” Can you elaborate on this thought?

  18. As a long time library science professional, I could only laugh at this so called “scandal”. You should have started your article with something like ” Almost anything is harassment in LibraryLand” including being dumb enough to say drunk on a video that you have hooked up with somebody at a conference. A pretty low self-esteem profession(on both sides) like ours, offers these rare glimpses of “Hollywood” like situations. I hope he wins. I am woman, and I hope he wins, yes, because insecurities should not always win in our field. Men in our profession are mostly stupid and have positions of power because they are men. But we are also dumb enough to glorify their stupidity and babble after them. That is why nobody respect us, we never grow. If they think they are right, they should counter-sue and bring proof of what they accused him of. Good luck ladies, good luck! You will need it.

  19. “Men in our profession are mostly stupid”. Thanks for your professional assessment. We are people doing a job like we would do any other job, neither smarter nor more stupid than anyone else. Why say something denigrating about a whole group of people, the vast majority of you know nothing of? I was with you up to this ignorant statement. If I said the same of women in the field (which I wouldn’t because I don’t believe it) I would be castigated to the ends of the earth and made to feel lower than a worm.

  20. Thanks for the story. It has absolutely no bearing on the lawsuit or on the article above.

  21. Jane Lloyd says:

    Dear Matt,
    I think what Jane meant to say was: ” Most men in the public library sphere are stupid”. It is not a professional assessment if you take into account library/political correctness. However, if you, like me, have more than 20 years of experience on this profession, you don’t need research on Journal of Documentation or Journal of Library research to prove that. The gender difference, and the gender perceptions make that clear. Also, there are a lot of stupid women too. I would say, mostly fat. Now, getting back into the topic. This time, it seems pretty clear to me that those women accusing him of whatever, made a huge mistake, because now they will need to prove it, which it seems they can’t. I don’t know that guy, I have no idea who these women are, but if somebody would be spreading the word that I am a harasser when I am not, I would be very mad. Finally, what is wrong with hooking up at conferences? What is this about? Religion? Inquisition? As Jane suggests: no wonder why people make fun of us.

  22. Great response Sam. This reminds me of the talking heads exploding when public figures get fired for making racist or sexist comments. “What about the first amendment!” they shout. Little do they realize that the first amendment only gives them the right to stay out of prison not the right to keep their jobs.

  23. Because, of course, you are acquainted with all men in the library sphere. I agree with your other comments but generalizations make me very irritated. All men are this, all women are that. It’s ridiculous. When I heard someone say, my husband/wife did so-and-so; all men/women are like that it gets me mad. No, just your stupid spouse is like that. Don’t lump us all together.

  24. Jane Lloyd says:

    I agree with you about the danger of generalizations, but if you look at the literature on the history of professions, you will find that “generalizations do make professions”. And yes, it is unfair to the minority of emotionally mature, smart, intelligent and critical professionals of LIS, men and women, however, that is how the rest of the world look at us. Look at this flagrant example of “scandal”. I hope those women never go to a Law or Management conference. The amount of therapy they would need exceeds the current achievements in Psychotherapy. Grow up people!

  25. BTW, I have 24 years in the profession so I have you beat. And I see no such thing.

  26. Agreed.

  27. Just because something is worse somewhere else doesn’t mean that what is happening here should be ignored.

    I agree that these women went about this badly. That isn’t to say they lied or that they are wrong to be upset. But what we need to do is have a code of conduct and a manner to report it privately. If the situation isn’t resolved than go public. The problem some people don’t realize is that everyone has a different perspective. What one person considers harmless flirting another may find a offensive. As a minority in the LibraryLand I cannot tell you the well-meaning yet offensive things that are said by people in this profession that is predominantly white, middle/upper class women.

    I could go around pointing that out all the offensive things that people do but probably don’t mean any harm (I am guessing nine de jesus is not homophobic despite using “gay” as an insult).

  28. Did Nina say that or did someone else just comment?

  29. noutopian librarian says:

    Here’s my take on it, FWIW. I’ve worked in libraries for 35 years, mostly public libs. Men who work in libraries are not, for the most part, stupid, nor are women, for the most part. Beyond intelligence however, there are some interesting gender dynamics that I perceive are part of these “scandals” as well as a lot of other drama in libraryland. When I started working in libraries, among men who worked there (and I’m male) there were mostly beta males, no gammas, and very few alphas. Most alphas, of course, were at the top of administrations or on their way there, especially in important positions, but a lot of betas were in managerial positions largely because of the sexist promotion structures that existed. There are even fewer alphas now and far fewer betas as well. Instead, there are mostly gammas.

    Sexual strategy for each of these types is different. Alphas are self-assured and expect (with historical cause) that they will be successful in attracting sexual mates through charisma, self-assuredness, and even aggression. While this pattern has been historically successful for alphas, we can well imagine that not only the abusive side of this, but also the more or less historically normal side of this approach causes a bit of friction in libraryland. Betas used to be the pack – the nice guys who are fairly masculine but are more followers than leaders. Their sexual strategy is based on the fact that there are relatively few alphas and many of them don’t make reliable long-term mates. Then there are the growing, and probably even majority type of males in libraries – the gammas who adapt to a female-dominated profession by suppressing those male characteristics that would cause them problems. Their sexual strategy is to hope that being supportive of women being dominant will be seen as attractive. Well….

    These aren’t stupid people – they are people adapting, or maladapting, to shifting gender roles and cultural norms that grow out of this. Librarianship is a profession that is both strongly female dominated now, not only in numbers of women, but also in positions of power. Those leftover alpha and beta males who harbor the attitudes of the past, as well as the few alpha males who still make their way into the profession are generally in for a rough ride – it’s not their world anymore. Many betas go gamma. Others just lie low but it won’t blow over unless the world goes to h*ll and extreme masculine attributes are needed for survival and rebuilding, in which case libraries will not be much of a concern

    I’m not even going to speculate on where on this admittedly artificial (but to me, useful) gender spectrum the three actors of this cosmic drama might fall, except to note that using body language like that described by complainants (touching a woman’s arm, putting an arm to the wall behind her, sound pretty alpha. While I can see how this is considered uncomfortable to someone in today’s world, it is not harassment – it’s normal alpha body language that is no longer acceptable in many areas of todays’ society, and especially in libraries! The times they are a’ changing.

    You may rightly argue that “sexual strategy” has no place in work-related places (conferences among them), and while you are, of course, correct, you are also living in an alternate unreality. Maybe when male sexuality is effectively suppressed as I expect it will be someday, at least selectively. Also, this is merely my opinion and may seem utter drivel to you. That’s fine with me.

  30. Way Barra says:

    Neat biotruths, bro. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Ladder Theory.

  31. noutopianlibrarian says:

    @Way Barra
    As I’m ignorant of Ladder Theory until I checked it out online just now “bro”, I’d be more likely to share my thoughts on use of conflation as a basis for more than one logical fallacy in addressing my post. My “analysis” is admittedly superficial and unsubstantiated, but is unrelated to such matters.

  32. Way Barra says:

    In my admittedly limited experience, there are two groups of people who use the term ‘gamma male’ unironically: men’s rights advocates and pick-up artists.

  33. noutopianlibrarian says:

    “Gamma” is widely used in ethology, sociobiology, evolutionary psychology, anthropology and related fields, though admittedly, my initial exposure to it was via men’s rights discussions. I’m a often bemused observer of both this social phenomenon (MRA) as well as women’s rights and have been for decades. I try to take a meta perspective – looking for patterns in macro and micro data, experiential, anecdotal, and statistical, about the role of men and women in society (including libraries) and seeking to understand, not judge. My interest in such things dates back to my first college research opus (90 pages – my prof in a freshman level English class was not amused) in the early 1970s on the topic of the economic and social implications of increased women’s participation in the workforce. Whether I use these terms unironically or not can change moment to moment though. Still, I feel confident in what I see – a mullti-decadal cultural shift from an environment where male-derived values dominated a predominantly female profession to an environment where female values dominate in a female dominated professoin. The dominance hierarchies of social animals, including humans, is well established (if often debated) in scholarly literature. Befuddled attempts to describe particular environments using such terminology from anecdotal evidence are bound to be fallacious and I know mine is as well, but it’s a way of interpreting what I see. It is clear that what were common and normal behaviors for male staff, particularly alpha males and many beta males, in the past at a library conference, let alone a workplace, are clearly not ok anymore. Note that I don’t even get into attempting an analysis of the changes in female dominance patterns among library staff over this same time period. Hands off that one. Until AL or others might tire of it, I’d be happy to discuss these matters further, albeit without such dismissals.

  34. Way Barra says:

    I’ll cheerfully rescind the snark, then. The terms just had me thinking that we might be about to jump down the MRA rabbit hole.

  35. el maldito says:

    The “and associates” thing is a scream. It usually means “and Fluffy and Mr. Bigglesworth.”

  36. Mmmmmmmaty says:

    Speak for yourself.

  37. I thought gamma rays turned you into the Hulk.

  38. From what I have read, Rabey and de jesus have no first hand knowledge of any harassment by Murphy. de jesus is using him as a way to advance her agenda of a code of conduct and Rabey appears to have labeled him after reading about him on a now defunct website devoted to bad exes.

    Rabey does report her experience with harassment on her website. The incident occurred in a city hosting a conference. She was approached by an individual while waiting in line at a kaorke bar. From what I can tell, neither the individual nor the venue were associated with ALA, so I am not sure how an ALA code of conduct would prevent someone from saying, “want to change shirts with me?” from happening again.

    After the incident, she wrote on her blog in graphic detail how her sex life had declined. Her blog clearly listed her employer and position. About a week after that she was told her contract would not be renewed. Later, her employer posted her position and included something about applicants being in “sound mental health.” The expected drama ensued and that line was removed. Several months later she tweeted that Murphy was a sexual predator.

    Another blogger posted about a librarian touching her arm and putting his arm up to “block her in.” She has admitted that she never said anything to him. Instead, she claims she cannot speak up for herself because public service means NEVER making a scene. Instead, ALA needs a code of conduct to protect her.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Equating being hit on with sexual harassment belittles the very real experiences women who are sexually harassed have to endure. It ensures that when women are actually sexually harassed, nobody takes them seriously.

    On a separate note, am I the only one who thinks it is surprising that so many women want to sleep with Murphy? He isn’t that hot.

  40. The Anonymous One says:

    I agree. That’s what bothers me so much about this case. Harassment is very serious, but I’m reading stuff like “oh, I can’t possibly tell him no when he touches my arm as I am but a baby librarian and so I’m looking for others to come rescue me” (I’m paraphrasing, but you can find it on ALATT). Seriously?

  41. The Anonymous One says:

    I read that. Note that she never once tells him to stop or that it makes her uncomfortable. Rather, it’s the ALA’s fault for not having a code of conduct.

    Interestingly, the EEOC says, “Petty slights, annoyances, and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) will not rise to the level of illegality. To be unlawful, the conduct must create a work environment that would be intimidating, hostile, or offensive to reasonable people.”

    So it would appear that Team Harpy and Amanda want the ALA to have a code of conduct that is stricter than the EEOC.

  42. He skeeved on me at a conference in front of his girlfriend. By the way, that youtube video is posted by his most recent ex. I wouldn’t call what I experienced sexual harassment but it was certainly inappropriate and haughty.

  43. Dan Reeves says:

    I think everyone is being ridiculous in this case! The whole thing makes our entire occupation look facile & trivial. Claims about sexual harassment from women receive MUCH more weight than if they were brought forth by a man. Men accused of sexual harassment, domestic violence, and rape are almost always thought of as guilty until they definitively prove their innocence (I do this subconsciously too, and I am a guy…). Even family courts are notoriously biased against men. Accusations alone, whether they are true or not, can end careers.

    The youtube video in question shows a woman trying to secretly tape an obviously drunk guy talking about a past “hook up”. He refused to share once he realized he was being taped. Hardly scandalous!

    As a man, I am tired of seeing my female colleagues incessantly talk about “Rape culture” and bashing males at every opportunity on social media. Branding “Men” as rapists or rape facilitators on mere heresy only reinforces sexism in our profession and creates an occupational environment that discriminates against men. There is a HUGE difference between a nerdy creeper, a sexual predator, and a guy who is just flirty. We shouldn’t lump them all together into one and blame men as a gender and inhibit their job prospects.

  44. Fiddlewhileromeburns says:

    Back in the day librarians were quiet people who read a lot. No rock stars. I prefer those days.

  45. Fiddlewhileromeburns says:

    Okay, I just watched the video. He is so young and immature. Why would library and conference people pay him?

  46. The Penitent Man says:

    With respect, I don’t think “everyone” in this case is being ridiculous.

    Mr. Murphy was falsely accused – based on, I’m lead to believe, hearsay – of being a “sexual predator”. Under both US and Canadian civil law, that constitutes defamation [libel] per se because it is a false claim that an individual is guilty of a criminal act. Mr. Murphy has no criminal record that includes any convictions, charges, or even a legitimate suggestion that he is a “sexual predator”.

    His reaction to that false allegation is hardly ridiculous, especially given that he reached out to the person who defamed him in an attempt to settle the dispute this person he didn’t actually know had with him.

    Contrastingly, it’s very clear based on additional comments by at least one of the defendants that it was done with the goal of lowering him in the esteem of the community, as well as to advance an agenda suggesting there should be a code of conduct among librarians that suggests “victims” of alleged sexual harassment should be believed without question, that no proof should be either required or even sought out and that anyone accused should be, effectively, shamed out of the profession with absolutely no recourse.

    That certainly is ridiculous.

    And, based on some of the comments on this website [], there are actually people out there who are of such debased mindset that not only do they believe such a policy is “good”, they actually believe a person should be happy to be falsely accused and run out of their chosen profession for no other reason than that someone else can feel better about themselves.

    That is beyond ridiculous. That is extremely disturbing.

  47. Fiddlewhileromeburns says:

    It does look like these women were setting him up. They went after him to destroy him. Having been a victim of harassment by younger generation librarians, I feel his pain. It is shocking and hurtful, if not downright evil. Is this what the profession has come to? I am relieved to be out of it.

  48. Art Rawlins says:

    I cannot understand why in this day and age, someone thinks it is ok to label someone a sexual predator and expect that there are no consequences.

    It is not criminal to have sex, nor have it at conferences. I don’t think it is even in bad taste. Is it really that shocking or terrible for two adults? No one has a single iota of proof that he has even remotely harassed anyone.

    The term is commonly associated with pedophiles. How many of you would just do nothing if you were called a sexual criminal?

    Google his name now. It is now linked with this sort of term and behavior. How many of you would now hire him, whether or not you thought he was qualified?

    I think it was short sighted and unprofessional to toss that term around, and they should apologize for it. I am further dismayed that so many in our profession resort to a mob mentality in this case with *no* evidence, based on that video? Terrible. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

  49. I just wanted to mention that:
    “If they lose the lawsuit or settle, the Canadian librarian involved will be in the worst position, since Canadian courts have no jurisdiction over Americans in defamation cases, so Murphy isn’t going to collect anything from the American defendant.”

    Is not entirely correct. The SPEECH act will put a higher burden of proof on the Canadian courts judgement, but if the judgement:

    “(B) even if the defamation law applied in the
    foreign court’s adjudication did not provide as much
    protection for freedom of speech and press as the first
    amendment to the Constitution of the United States and
    the constitution and law of the State, the party
    opposing recognition or enforcement of that foreign
    judgment would have been found liable for defamation by
    a domestic court applying the first amendment to the
    Constitution of the United States and the constitution
    and law of the State in which the domestic court is

    He can still enforce the judgement in the US. That is a high bar, but on the other hand, some of the claims in the blog and tweets, which include statements of fact, rather than opinion, could result in the judgement (if he wins) being held as enforceable in the United States.

  50. It’s necessary to treat sexual assault like the crime it is, regardless of venue or victim or perpetrator. This applies in both directions. Predators need to be exposed and punished, victims need the support necessary to heal from the damage they were inflicted. This DOES NOT excuse vigilantism, which is what #teamharpy is advocating.

    Regarding Murphy’s behavior – that it’s so prolific that ‘everyone knows’ – then actual evidence cannot possibly be that difficult to obtain. Every smartphone in the US can be an instant witness, and library conferences are public events where recording generally shouldn’t fall under wiretapping or party consent state laws. If’ he’s a creep, call him on it publicly when he does it. We’ll never clean up this kind of offensive behavior without exposing it when it happens. If someone acts like a shameful animal, treat them like one (think toilet-training puppies : )

    Finally, I invite anyone who has the mushy-brained idiocy to advocate the arbitrary belief of anybody, without fact-checking, to read up on the Salem witch trials – or spend a day listening to the lies spewed forth ‘under oath’ in a courtroom. If they still think “but that’s different!”, I have a wonderful, guaranteed way to fix your problems. Cash only and in small bills, please.
    : )

  51. ^ No, it sounds pretty spot-on.

  52. Funny, haven’t heard a peep about this in months except that it’s has hurt job prospects for some if not all the parties involved. Just a lesson here: play nice and professional on the Internet, kids.

  53. “Funny, haven’t heard a peep about this in months except that it’s has hurt job prospects for some if not all the parties involved. Just a lesson here: play nice and professional on the Internet, kids.”

    That x1000. The Internet combines the worst aspects of speech (letting you fly off the handle) and the written word (sticking around forever). In truth, both legal and social mores regarding online social media are still evolving and it’s wise to assume the worst when it comes to how cautious you should be.

  54. Malvenue says:

    Considering the two liars have completely retracted their false and baseless claims against Joe Murphy, I wonder if “Annoyed Librarian” will still be slanting her articles against this “clever man” or if she’ll admit he was completely and falsely accused and retract her slanted and biased article?

  55. Malvenue says:

    Oops, forgot… full text of the retractions by the liars:

  56. Rebecca Rush says:

    [This comment was deleted because it violates our Comment Policy.]

  57. The retraction and apology is pretty damming, especially given that at least one of the defendants could expect a higher degree of scrutiny applied to any award granted by the SPEECH act even if they lost in Canadian court.

    “I made false and damaging comments about librarian Joe Murphy for which I would like to apologize. I ask you to please read the following statement for details from my perspective.

    On May 3, 4 and 5, 2014, I posted tweets that referenced librarian Joe Murphy implying without a basis in fact that he was a sexual predator. These unsubstantiated statements gained wide attention and caused Mr. Murphy significant damage.

    My intention in posting these tweets was to draw attention to the issue of sexual harassment of female librarians in the profession. My statements were made carelessly, and were not based on facts. I have never observed Mr. Murphy sexually harass or exhibit sexually predatory behavior.

    Ms. de Jesus relied on my tweets for writing her blog post. My statements should have never been repeated as they were based on gossip and innuendo, not fact.”

    Is really damaging. It admits that they engaged in lies, damaging lies. I hope that their lawyer was good enough to ensure that there’s a clause in whatever settlement they made that holds that this statement satisfies any claims on the part of Mr. Murphy. If not, this is the sort of statement you just walk into an American court with and say: I win.

    And once again, it brings up something anyone who writes a blog should remember– you need to verify your sources, to do due diligence on any statement you make. It may not be right, but you’ve got to be able to say: hey, I made a good faith attempt to verify the truth of my sources and that I wasn’t simply accepting slanderous gossip at face value. The Internet ain’t talking to a friend, Kiddos, anything you write on it is going to be around for a long, long time.

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