When SF Weekly attacked Kink.com and consensual BDSM in a manner worthy of National Enquirer, they did not expect a major community outcry. However, San Francisco’s BDSM community is not used to taking things laying down – within a day, the Web was overflowing with comments, articles and general criticism, most of it well written and articulate.
The protest centered on the author Matt Smith’s equating of consensual BDSM play to non-consensual torture, as well as the fact that due to his actions, production employees of Kink.com (including the finalists of International Documentary Challenge) have lost the funding needed to further their creative skills.
Local newspapers and TV have picked up the story within days. Fliers calling for boycott of SF Weekly sprung up on the city streets.
That’s when the things got personal
(Mz.Berlin’s blog is awesomely NSFW. You’ve been warned about the links below.)
After several responses (that would fit a kindergarten playground better than a grown-up newspaper), and a cheap shot at the competing local paper, Matt Smith agreed to a public debate with Mz. Berlin, a lovely fetish model and well known blogger who was one of the more vocal supporters of the SF BDSM community and Kink.com.
The debate never happened. The phone interview with Mz. Berlin was used for another self-serving article, and her real name was outed by both Matt Smith and his editor despite Mz. Berlin’s request to protect her safety and privacy, and Matt’s assurances to do so.
Be very, very careful when dealing with people who can’t understand the difference between consensual and non-consensual.
Matt’s quest for news lurid enough to be reported had, yet again, serious real world consequences. As a direct result of this outing, Mz. Berlin is now involved in a custody battle over the right to spend time with her child. She needs help – read more about it, and donate if you can.
The old adagio of media feeding frenzy “If it bleeds it leads”, updated for the 21st century: “If it doesn’t, we’ll make it bleed”. I’m nostalgic for the long gone times in which the newspapers reported news, not made them.
July 12th update: An excellent post on the entire unsavory thing from the SmackDog Chronicles.