The Other McCain

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The #JusticeForDrV Madness: ESPN Offers Belated ‘Condolences’? Really?

Posted on | January 19, 2014 | 37 Comments

Does this ESPN statement make any damned sense at all?

“We understand and appreciate the wide range of thoughtful reaction this story has generated and to the family and friends of Essay Anne Vanderbilt, we express our deepest condolences. We will use the constructive feedback to continue our ongoing dialogue on these important and sensitive topics. Ours is a company that values the LGBT community internally and in our storytelling, and we will all learn from this.”

The person known as Essay Anne Vanderbilt was, by all evidence, a sociopathic con artist who got caught. Period. End of sentence.

“Dr. Vanderbilt” was neither a doctor nor a Vanderbilt, and the bogus pretense to scientific superiority was inextricably connected to the phony persona who perpetrated that hoax.

Because “Dr. Vanderbilt” was born a male named Stephen Krol, the transgender aspect of the story was impossible to ignore and — I would argue, although the reporter Caleb Hannan has not — Krol/Vanderbilt’s gender dysphoria may have been one non-trivial symptom of what was clearly a disordered, dishonest and dysfunctional personality.

At the core of the #JusticeForDrV crusade seems to be the idea that Caleb Hannan’s reporting drove “Dr. Vanderbilt” to suicide, by threatening to “out” her as a transgender, even though there is no evidence that anyone who actually knew “Dr. Vanderbilt” in Arizona ever mistook her for a genetic woman.

For crying out loud: When a 6-foot-3 middle-aged man gets a sex change, the resul is unlikely to be particularly . . . persuasive.

Beyond that, how was Caleb Hannan supposed to report that “Dr. Vanderbilt” was a phony — not an MIT-trained aeronautical physicist, as the hype for the Yar putter had claimed — without reporting that, during the years that “Dr. Vanderbilt” was supposedly working as a Pentagon contractor helping design stealth aircraft, “Dr. Vanderbilt” was working as an auto mechanic named Stephen Krol?

A well-known CBS golf announcer promoted the Yar Oracle putter as superior because of its designer’s scientific expertise, but as soon as Caleb Hannan checked into that claim, he discovered what at first seemed a mystery — no record of any MIT graduate named “Essay Anne Vanderbilt” — and was eventually revealed to be an enormous lie. Some might say at that point Hannan should have dropped the story, but if golfers were being scammed, isn’t such a scam newsworthy?

The #JusticeForDrV crusaders grabbed hold of the idea that “Dr. Vanderbilt” was driven to suicide by Caleb Hannan’s “transmisogynistic journalism” — a claim for which they offer no real evidence — while ignoring all evidence that (a) “Dr. Vanderbilt” was not a victim, but rather a person who victimized others, and (b) it was the failure of the pseudo-scientific putter scam, not fear of being “outed” as transgender, which motivated “Dr. Vanderbilt” to commit suicide. Of course, “Dr. Vanderbilt” had attempted suicide in 2008, before Hannan ever heard of her, but why let facts get in your way when you’re ghoulishly exploiting a corpse as “LGBT Victim of the Week”?

When I read the hysterical ranting from the #JusticeForDrV crowd, I have to wonder: Are they even reading the same story?

[Krol/Vanderbill] ended up in Bonney Lake, Washington, a short time later [in the late 1990s]. . . . She worked as general manager at Trax Bar and Grill, an LGBT bar in Kent, Washington. She was the subject of three separate harassment claims from her time there, including one from a male coworker who said she made “inappropriate comments about her breasts and genitalia.”

Yes, there’s your martyred victim: Someone who was accused of making weird comments to co-workers at a gay bar. And here is some more decidedly non-victim behavior from Vanderbilt:

[Leland] Frische is the risk manager for Gilbert [Arizona], and he had been there when Vanderbilt first came to work for the town. He said she was hired in April 2006 and there were problems almost immediately. Vanderbilt had applied to be the manager of the fleet services division, but she lost out on that job to someone else. She believed she was more qualified, however, and others complained that she did not try to hide that. “She would confront her boss in open meetings,” Frische told me. “She would talk down to people. She really didn’t give us many options.” The town eventually fired Vanderbilt. Not long after, she filed her lawsuit.

Hmmm. Harassing co-workers at a gay bar in Kent, Washington, a disgruntled employee in Gilbert, Arizona — am I the only one who sees “Dr. Vanderbilt” as a familiar type of troublemaker? And look at how Vanderbilt and her partner dealt with Hannan:

Now, [Yar Golf president Gerri] Jordan’s message said she was calling to propose a deal. When I phoned her back, Jordan explained the offer. I could fly to Arizona and meet with Dr. V at her attorney’s office, where she would show me proof of her degrees from both MIT and the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. V then got on the phone and added another detail. Once I saw the documents I would have to sign a nondisclosure agreement barring me from revealing any of the details I’d learned about Dr. V’s past.
The “deal” was one I could not accept, and when I explained this Dr. V got upset. “What is your intention?” she asked. “Are you being paid by someone to destroy Yar?”

Paranoia? Baseless accusations of bad motives? But what sort of “proof” did Jordan and Vanderbilt plan to show Hannan of educational credentials that Vanderbilt clearly did not have? Never mind that, the  #JusticeForDrV crusaders say, what matters is that Vanderbilt was transgender and Hannan practically murdered her:

A transgender woman known as Dr. V invented a new type of golf club and lied about her academic qualifications. A journalist called Caleb Hannan threated [sic] to publish details about these professional lies and also out her as transgender against her will. A few days later she killed herself.

That’s a goddamned lie. Journalists don’t “threaten” to publish stories, and in point of fact, Hannan never published anything about “Dr. Vanderbilt” prior to her suicide in October 2013.

Facts are stubborn things, as John Adams said. And the simple fact is that Essay Anne Vanderbilt’s entire life was a huge lie.



37 Responses to “The #JusticeForDrV Madness: ESPN Offers Belated ‘Condolences’? Really?”

  1. Achron Timeless
    January 19th, 2014 @ 11:23 pm

    A journalist defends a journalist so he isn’t treated the same way. Huh, wonder if there’s a simple dishonest motive there too?

  2. ChandlersGhost
    January 19th, 2014 @ 11:48 pm

    This story will go the way of the average hate crime hoax. Once people on the left figure out that there’s no traction, it will magically disappear.

  3. concern00
    January 20th, 2014 @ 12:00 am

    Why oh why are transgender lives so complicated and suicidally depressing? Oh that’s right, they keep being told it’s who they are, instead of getting treatment.

  4. Adjoran
    January 20th, 2014 @ 12:24 am

    As with the whole #FreeKate brouhaha, the LGBT crowd has rushed into a situation without bothering to check the facts.

    Which is a big part of the problem with victim-identity politics, it swiftly becomes a front for the miscreants who share the identity and wish to hide behind the victim label.

  5. robertstacymccain
    January 20th, 2014 @ 12:38 am

    The similarity to #FreeKate struck me, too. Apparently, all that matters is that you’re a member of an Official Victim Group, and everyone must therefore defer to your bullshit.

  6. The Daley Gator | Journalist’s as Transphobic Bastards! UPDATED!
    January 20th, 2014 @ 1:00 am

    […] Go read the rest and Stacy McCain has mote of this incredible story here, apparently ESPN has been suckered in too […]

  7. concern00
    January 20th, 2014 @ 1:27 am

    LGBTQWTF Coalition of Deviance™ – a subsidiary of the Official Victims Group™. New members welcome; must be an official victim or someone seriously concerned about official victims – real or imaginary – Christians and Conservatives need not apply.

  8. Anon Y. Mous
    January 20th, 2014 @ 3:50 am

    Dan Quayle was also an acquaintance. Unable to help himself, McCord once put the former vice-president on the phone with Dr. V and watched as they chatted about old Pentagon projects.

    I recall that Dan Quayle was also part of the whole Kimberlin situation. I think we are finally getting to the nexus of these stories.


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  10. yiqi
    January 20th, 2014 @ 7:44 am
  11. rmnixondeceased
    January 20th, 2014 @ 9:24 am

    All infected with offendluenza …

  12. sarah wells
    January 20th, 2014 @ 9:27 am

    What’s dishonest?

  13. rmnixondeceased
    January 20th, 2014 @ 9:30 am

    And the simple fact is that Essay Anne Vanderbilt’s entire life was a huge lie.
    As it is with every and I mean every con-artist. The only way to stop them is through the disinfectant of light. Bring all the lies and deception to light and start the con-artist on the path to either redeem themselves or destroy themselves through refusal to accept the fact of their crimes. As I have said elsewhere, this is the only way, which I know from personal experience.

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  15. Mm
    January 20th, 2014 @ 10:52 am

    Exactly. This makes me wonder if, in reality, there is such a dearth of REAL trans victims of legitimate bullying and harassment that the usual suspects have to turn a con artist into a poster child for their agenda? Isn’t there anyone else? Or is a suicide something just too juicy for the militant LGBT community not to exploit?

  16. Mm
    January 20th, 2014 @ 11:01 am

    I can think of at least two somewhat recent cases where the sociopathic, lying con artist, threatened with exposure, did not kill himself but instead killed his wife. One was the the Lacy and Drew Peterson case, and another was a couple in Utah – the husband had lied and said he had been accepted to medical school, and basked in the pride of his family. When his wife finally started asking questions, he killed her. Nuts? Yup.

    My point is, as RSM wrote yesterday, the threat of exposure regarding the truth of the person’s alleged accomplishments and public persona are what trigger drastic responses such as murder or suicide. Dr. V was not a doctor, not an MIT grad, did not go to Wharton, and did not work on the stealth bomber. All of which were FALSIFIED credentials which he used to lure investors and market a product. That is fraud. News flash: just because someone is trans, they do not get a pass on lying.

  17. rmnixondeceased
    January 20th, 2014 @ 11:08 am

    Exactly. Sadly few do as I have: Make a clean breast, publicly proclaim your crimes and work towards a reformed and redeeemed life, recognizing your failures and mis-steps on that rocky road. I am guilty of my crimes and misdeeds and always will be, because I am working towards a reformed and redeemed life does not make me any less guilty for past crimes and misdeeds nor does it lessen my responsibilty for past and current acts.

  18. DaveO
    January 20th, 2014 @ 12:02 pm

    Dr. V = Trayvon Martin. Gotta keep the GayTM open during this election season.

  19. DaveO
    January 20th, 2014 @ 12:04 pm

    Is there really a body in the grave? Does there need to be?

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  21. YouHaveATinyBrain
    January 20th, 2014 @ 5:50 pm

    “For crying out loud: When a 6-foot-3 middle-aged man gets a sex change, the resul is unlikely to be particularly . . . persuasive.”

    When a 6-foot-3 middle-aged man gets a sex change, we should be accepting of what gender she says she is, regardless of how persuasive you personally find the results. Narrow-minded bigoted shit like this is why people kill themselves.

  22. Quartermaster
    January 20th, 2014 @ 7:31 pm

    The suicide rate among trannies that undergo the surgery is a result of their mental illness, not lack of acceptance. A “he” that thinks he’s a “she” is at least two divisions off plumb.

  23. Wraith
    January 20th, 2014 @ 7:46 pm

    You have to be REALLY over the top to have your coworkers at a gay bar file harassment complaints.
    Just sayin’.

  24. YouHaveATinyBrain
    January 20th, 2014 @ 8:15 pm

    I can’t even take you seriously since you used the term “trannies,” which implies you 1) know nothing about transsexuals, and 2) don’t respect them in the first place. Please show me some facts that back up your claim about their “mental illness” or take your plumb line and stick it where the sun don’t shine – clearly it’s already deeply hidden in the shade.

  25. DaveO
    January 20th, 2014 @ 8:26 pm

    No, when a 6’3″ man says he is a woman, and then uses the female persona to commit crime, and then gets caught and is suddenly dead… nah, sounds like a bad episode of Law & Order: SUV.

  26. DaveO
    January 20th, 2014 @ 8:27 pm

    Considering trannies don’t know themselves, why not call them insane?

  27. cmdr358
    January 20th, 2014 @ 10:29 pm

    What about recovering Christians? Are they allowed so long as they don’t relapse?

  28. cmdr358
    January 20th, 2014 @ 10:29 pm

    Oh ? I thought that, in this case at least, it was because she was exposed as a lying fraud and conman.
    Oh sorry, conwoman, con transgendered person…..whatever makes YOU happy.

  29. Seriously.
    January 21st, 2014 @ 3:48 am

    Fuck you.

  30. Wombat_socho
    January 21st, 2014 @ 3:59 am

    And that’s enough out of *you*.

  31. Wombat_socho
    January 21st, 2014 @ 4:00 am

    NO U

  32. Jeanette Victoria
    January 21st, 2014 @ 9:18 am

    Yes because we should all be able to invent our reality no matter how bizarre and crazy that “reality” is.
    The “YouHaveATinyBrain ” nick says it all

  33. SteveAR
    January 21st, 2014 @ 10:34 am

    This has to be asked.

    So when the gay mafia, like GLAAD, out someone for having had homosexual relations, and that someone commits suicide, will those gay advocates apologize and vow never do that again? Somehow, I doubt it.

  34. Quartermaster
    January 21st, 2014 @ 10:51 am

    You’re right, I don’t respect them. I pity them because their mental illness has reduced them to doing harmful things to themselves.

  35. ndmike12
    January 22nd, 2014 @ 12:24 am

    Did Dr. V lie about her academic degrees? If not, the gender thing is irrelevant to the story, and certainly not a story in itself. But from what I’ve read it appears that she did not earn the degrees, and she touted her fake credentials to sell her putter. That’s a story, and as a reporter you can’t just assert that without explaining the basis for asserting it. And how do you do that in this case without outing her?

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