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David Deutsch’s Gossip and Harassment Leadership

One of my new forum members expressed doubt that the harassment campaign against me is “led by Deutsch” as I claim. He said:

I’d definitely agree with his [Deutsch’s] actions being tacit endorsement [of the harassment campaign] (i.e. being publicly silent on the matter) and instigation (e.g. the lie about no contact requests). But I don’t understand him to have an ongoing active involvement which I infer from “led”.

I’ve written a lot about this, but not recently, and it’s quite long. So I’ll try explaining again by focusing on two lists of key points. Be aware that this explanation leaves a lot out. If you want additional details or evidence, check out my previous writing, or contact me at my forum or by email.

Also, this post is about DD’s leadership role and gossip. It’s not about explaining the more direct harassment. Incidents have included hundreds of harassing comments from many false identities, ban evasion, DDoSing, doxxing, plagiarism, no contact request violation, spam, fraud, threats, and lying to people that I threatened violence. Because DD’s fans have been so unwilling to leave me alone, year after year, I’m now using a paywalled forum to minimize the direct harassment.

DD’s Responsibility

If DD started and caused the harassment but then stopped doing anything and just watched it actively continue by itself, then I’d hold him responsible until he stopped it. It’s like if you turn a machine on, then you’re responsible for it running until you press the off button.

If DD made vigorous efforts to stop the harassment but found that he couldn’t, that would remove lots of his responsibility, but instead he has publicly tacitly endorsed it and defamed me.

Also, TV mob bosses often don’t give direct orders but still communicate what they want and are responsible for the murders that other people carry out.

But DD isn’t just passively watching while giving a few public hints that he wants me to be harassed. He actively gossips and lies about me, but only where you can’t observe it. His actions are the root cause of most of the harassment.

How do I know that DD privately says bad things about me? I’ll give six points. Then I’ll give seven more points elaborating on one case of his gossip.

DD Gossips

First, like many people, DD is a two-faced, mean gossip. That is his personality, as he revealed to me on a regular basis for a decade. (I didn’t participate but was somewhat oblivious at the time. I saw it a lot more when reviewing chat logs and emails after being harassed.) DD even treats people that way when he’s publicly friendly with them, like with Sam Harris or Richard Dawkins. I shared some examples towards the bottom here.

Second, a decade ago, DD personally tried to turn two of my current forum members against me. Due to the severe, direct harassment, they forwarded those emails to me. One case was blatant and one was subtle enough that the person didn’t recognize it, at the time, as an action against me. I’ve also received reports of DD’s close associates trying to turn people against me. My information sources don’t offer any kind of completeness, so there’s probably a lot more that I don’t know. I presume everything I’m sharing to be representative examples.

Third, the behavior of multiple people towards me has been really unusual, but this only happens with people interested in Critical Rationalism. This includes people speaking to me in a friendly way but then abruptly refusing to speak to me at all with no explanation. It has also included some people never speaking to me in scenarios where that’d normally be unlikely. My best explanation for this phenomenon is that these people were told some gossip about me. I’d guess that was mostly done by DD’s associates rather than DD personally. I think some people wouldn’t speak to me because they’d already heard the gossip, and others were told gossip after they were seen publicly speaking with me which is why they abruptly stopped (I have lots of evidence that multiple DD fans closely watch my public discussions). I know some specific false claims that are likely being spread by gossip which are nasty enough to get results like this.

Fourth, Lulie Tanett (LT) repeatedly observed DD gossiping about me and shared examples. She observed this in person as a frequent visitor in DD’s home, and he also sends her copies of tons of his emails and often tells her about his recent activities by instant messages, in person or on the phone. LT recruited many of the Popper-interested young people that DD talks with in person, so she’s often present when he talks with someone she brought to him, and she can also talk with them about him afterwards. LT also shared her opinions with me and summarized some trends outside the specific examples she shared, e.g. that DD disliked me and was repeatedly speaking negatively about me.

In one example, DD told someone that an anonymous post might be written by me because it had some ideas similar to mine (it actually wasn’t by me). This undermines me by suggesting my community is small and that few people agree with me (so if someone has ideas like mine, there’s a good chance it’s my sockpuppet). On multiple occasions that I know of, DD relied on information from our personal friendship to help him speculate more effectively about which anonymous posters were me, so he was violating my privacy, which mistreated me. Mistreating me himself is a way of leading by example that encourages others to mistreat me too. DD also came up with the idea that my fans should be treated like my sockpuppets, even if they aren’t, because if someone talks like me they count as a copy of me instead of an independent person (meanwhile he denies responsibility for the actions of his fans that he won’t say anything against). I think this contributed to my fans also being harassed during the harassment campaign, not just me.

Fifth, DD’s negative ideas about me have repeatedly been said later by harassers. That shows that he shares his hateful ideas and then the gossip spreads, including to people who do direct harassment actions. For example, Andy B brought up the idea that many anonymous posters in my community are my sockpuppets.

Sixth, DD spent around 5 years turning LT against me. As context, he’s a father figure to her. I know DD did this because LT told me about it. DD often made negative comments about me to LT that she disliked and found coercive. She told me that he scared her that, unless she turned against me and otherwise believed and behaved as he wanted, he would cut her off from further help with her career and money (she has had severe financial problems). She found that extremely pressuring and coercive. DD has pushed her into being a philosopher since she was a young child even though she’s never been very good at it (she tried to pursue art and photography but DD preferred she do philosophy instead). She has no other career prospects and relies on DD’s social status and influence to get followers and career opportunities, as well as relying on his help in order for her to try to learn philosophy and to have philosophical ideas to say (besides teaching her, he lets her take credit for some of his ideas that he tells her privately). The majority of the pressure took place before she had even started her Twitter account, which now has 12,350 followers thanks to DD’s help. Later, after she turned against me, DD let her move into his house.

There have been no signs that DD has changed his behavior to stop thinking and gossiping about me. It’s been over ten years since DD stopped being friends with me, six years since he turned LT against me, and two years since I wrote most of my complaints about the harassment campaign. But DD hasn’t gotten over his grievances (that he won’t tell me); he remains very hostile.

The Impact of DD’s Gossip to LT

DD’s gossip to LT was his most impactful gossiping. It’s both an example of the kind of gossiping he does and, out of all his actions that I’m aware of, it did the most harm. Let’s examine the impacts and what we can learn from this evidence.

First, LT very likely could have stopped the harassment campaign after I caught Andy B’s sockpuppets, if she wanted to. (I contacted both DD and LT privately before publicly complaining, so almost all the public drama could have been avoided if either of them had wanted to avoid it.) LT had the social contacts, community reputation and influence to do that. Previously, for example, someone in her social network anonymously pointed an automatic spam bot at my blog and she quickly identified the person and got them to stop. She could have spoken to Andy B directly (he admires her) and also influenced DD fan community leaders.

Second, I was good friends with only two people now in the DD’s community: DD and LT. They’re the two people who personally betrayed me. One consequence is they can spread false personal information about me and be believed, because they’re actually in a realistic position to know those kinds of things about me. This makes their gossip more effective than anyone else’s and enables lies about me personally to circulate (other people can spread false personal information too given the understanding that DD or LT was the original source who could have actually known it).

Third, DD is fairly distant from most of his fans. He only gossips to a limited number of people. He needs people like LT to spread his messages to the broader community. When he wants to say something publicly he can just tweet it and his fans will see it, but when he wants to spread gossip without taking responsibility for it then he needs helpers to signal boost it. DD might only tell a dozen people but they can spread it to a hundred additional people for him. I also know that LT is a gossip who would spread this stuff (in the past, she shared many examples of her gossiping with me).

Fourth, turning LT against me took a huge amount of effort sustained for years. Why? Because she was a huge fan of mine and a friend and she vigorously resisted the pressure to turn against me. DD intentionally took a thing she liked (my philosophy) and ruined it for her, and ruined the friendship, which was mean. And it shows the huge level of effort DD is willing to put into harming me and controlling people. He has written nothing of note about philosophy for over a decade now, and he’s willing to spend a lot of energy working against me instead of doing philosophy.

Fifth, DD encouraged me to become friends with LT in the first place, and also encouraged LT to become friends with me in the first place. He knew us both, wanted us to be friends, and influenced both of us. That didn’t work initially, but he kept encouraging it for years until we eventually became friends. That makes it especially awful for him to later destroy that friendship that he had pushed both of us into. He also told LT basically that her philosophical success and rationality depended on learning from me (she was pretty stuck and having trouble learning philosophy or being good at it). After years of persuading her that she needed me or else she was doomed to be an irrational failure, he then decided that he didn’t like me anymore and therefore decided to deny that resource (my ideas) to LT. DD may have actually done even more harm to her than he’s done to me.

Sixth, after turning against me, LT spent the next couple years frequently tweeting negative things about me without using my name. She no longer does that very much. But, for years, she posted lots of stuff to undermine CF. She was getting her followers to preemptively dislike ideas related to me so that if they ever found me and read my essays, they’d quickly find something that they already “knew” was bad and stop listening. She used lots of straw men and distortions to do this. This wasn’t all an intentional plan. A lot of it was her coming up with rationalizations for disliking me in order to feel better, but publicly tweeting about those rationalizations primed other people to use the same rationalizations to dislike me.

LT also frequently attacked Ayn Rand (sometimes openly, sometimes not) who she used as a proxy for me. This is DD’s strategy: he couldn’t call me a non-Popperian but needed to differentiate me and himself philosophically, so he turned against Rand (after previously being her fan and recommending her books to me) and started basically saying that I’m bad because of a few mistakes I got from Rand. DD and LT both specifically attack some of Rand’s ideas that they think have something to do with me, and apart from that they generally don’t mention Rand. I believe they explain the connection between Rand’s alleged errors, and me personally, in private gossip.

Seventh, Andy B (the worst direct harasser) admired LT and brought her up multiple times, when he was trying to learn from me, before he harassed me. That was after she had turned against me, so I didn’t want to talk about her much. Andy B was bothered by the conflict between my community and DD’s community. (Similar things happened with multiple other DD fans who talked with me but also liked LT and DD, and were bothered by the schism, before they turned against me.) Andy B wanted to be friends with both groups, especially me and LT.

As explained in the sixth point, many of LT’s ideas (or DD’s ideas she was spreading) were designed to subtly or indirectly undermine me. (They keep it subtle in public, while their private gossip is sometimes blatant and sometimes subtle.) So discussing her tweets basically meant trying to explain first how it’s actually a poisonous attack on me followed by then trying to neutralize the poison (that I’d just made worse by clarifying it) by explaining how it’s false. It wasn’t good faith philosophy. I wanted Andy B and others to stop reading and bringing up LT’s veiled attacks on me, which I was trying to ignore. Especially because they didn’t actually understand her points (which she didn’t explain much), so they wanted me to explain her criticisms for them. I would have been happy to debate the matter if DD, LT or someone who could speak accurately to their perspective was willing to debate, but they weren’t. So the undermining tweets (in addition to private gossip) worked to stir up conflict in my community.


DD is a gossip who has been working to make people hostile to me for over ten years. That makes him the active leader of the harassment campaign even though he’s only taken a few direct, public actions against me. Eventually, the hostility he intentionally caused spread to a big enough group that some of them started taking more direct actions against me, like leaving hundreds of harassing comments on my blog from many false identities.

DD’s five-year gossip campaign to LT is the largest and most impactful example of his gossiping. He presumably also does some ongoing maintenance – keeps saying some negative things about me to remind her never to change her mind. He’s done similar types of gossiping with other people. Many of them, like LT, have then repeated his messages to others.

DD socializes with a limited number of people, but LT and some of DD’s other friends socialize with a ton of people which is how his gossip reaches his wider fan community. The direct harassment activities are downstream of this gossip campaign that he’s still doing today.

Elliot Temple on February 15, 2023


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