Friday, September 5, 2014

Just got off the phone with Larry, the owner. He called me. I wanted to relay some of what was said. He continues to maintain that he did not know I was fired ry, the owner. He called me. I wanted to relay some of what was said. He continues to maintain thatand I'm inclined to believe him though I did express to him that he should be more involved in the goings on in his own store. He is claiming that the reason I was fired was because supposedly my coworkers said they did not want to work with me but fully admitted that he considers me a good employee and that he personally did not receive any complaints about me. I very specifically and pointedly asked him if during the two days I was there anyone, customer or employee, had said anything negative about me or expressed any concerns about me and he said that there were none. I pointed out to him the fact that Julian had told me on Sunday day that I was one of the people being kept on and that the schedule had been adjusted to reflect that and he said he didn't know what to say to that, that he could only speak to what was said to him after I was fired.

I still find it extremely suspect that the person who took it upon himself to fire me is the very same person who made the rape joke and that I subsequently complained about to Larry Sunday night after my shift. Larry swears that he did not tell Julian about my complaint. Maybe he's telling the truth. Maybe he's not. If he is telling the truth there is still another possibility. The conversation I had with Larry on Sunday night took place out on the sales floor within ear shot of another employee so it is also possible this employee relayed my complaint to Julian. I do not believe for one second that my complaint and my being fired are unrelated. I again offer the evidence that prior to my complaint I was told I was being kept on, was praised by Julian and Mark, was given money to buy a lock for the employee lockers, and was given the green light for various things around the store such as implementing recycling and helping with the social media. Why would all of these things happen if there were complaints about me? As I said on Twitter this seems like very simple math to me. I was told I was doing a good job. I lodged a complaint about inappropriate behavior. I was fired.

Larry continued to defend Julian. Apparently Julian is claiming that it was someone standing behind me that made the rape comment but I was standing right in front of Julian. My hearing and eyesight are not so bad that I cannot tell when a person is speaking in front of me. Larry admits that he told me I should have taken my concerns to Julian myself. I "played back" what he was suggesting and he admitted it was not sound advice. I said, "So, you told me, as a female employee who was made to feel uncomfortable, that I should confront the person who made me uncomfortable who is also in a position of power over me. Does that make sense?" and he admitted it didn't. He says that he has now spoken to Julian and that's fine and dandy but too bad he wasn't willing to speak to him before the media got hold of this.

In a roundabout way he apologized but he made a lot of excuses too. He just kept repeating that he didn't know what happened, that he thought everything was fine, and that he wished I had gotten in touch with him. I feel I should note that no apology was made in regards to the rape room comments or the touching. It was only in regards to how everything went down in terms of Julian blocking my entrance to the store and not being able to contact Larry. Basically, he is standing by Julian and standing by the belief that his other employees don't want me there. Maybe that last part is true. Maybe it's not. I have no idea. I can only go by what I witnessed which was people telling me I was doing a good job.

So basically we're at a stalemate. He says a press release is going out tomorrow but I have a feeling it will not be a satisfactory one. He seems to be focusing more on the fact that I was fired and not on the inappropriate things that happened in his store. I tried several times to shift the conversation back to those specific issues but he kept steering back to saying he didn't know what was going on and he's not always there and that supposedly employees are now saying they didn't want to work with me so he has to go by what they say despite him praising me over the weekend and no complaints being lodged about me till after I was fired. He did this weird kind of see-sawing between saying that he doesn't think any of his current employees would ever lie to him but that he believes all the former employees coming forward with complaints are lying. That seems odd to me. People are truthful while they work for you and liars once they no longer work for you?

I expressed to him that I felt hurt considering he continued to insist throughout the phone call that he thinks of me as a friend. I told him he should do some serious objective thinking in regards to Julian as an employee. I advised him not to gloss over the issue of the rape jokes and unwanted touching. I told him this whole thing is putting me in dire financial straits that could have been avoided with clearer communication and fair treatment.

That's the gist of the phone call. I want to make it clear that I am glad that he called. I now have his phone number should I need/want to contact him again. I appreciate that he made an effort to communicate but it is unfortunate that it was so long after and it still did not really adequately address the situation. Perhaps the forthcoming statement online will.

Someone asked me what I want to come of all this. It's a difficult question to answer partly because I've never been in this situation before so I am not wholly aware of all my options and partly because I've been very busy trying to keep up with everyone's questions and messages. It hasn't left a lot of time for reflection. That being said, there are a couple of things that come to mind but let me stress that these are not demands in any way, shape, or form, nor are they things I actually expect to happen. Think of it more as wishful thinking?

I do not think that Julian should be working there. I feel he is a detriment to the store. This statement is based solely on the little experience I had with him which includes him attempting to follow me on Twitter after firing me and presumably after learning I was uncomfortable with his jokes and touching. I was very unnerved when I saw that he followed me and it seemed to me common sense that he should not be doing it.

I think that myself and the general public are owed a sincere apology in regards to the rape jokes and unwanted touching and I actually did tell Larry that so I guess we'll see what the statement says.

I think the employees there, including Larry and Julian, should undergo sensitivity training in regards to sex, gender, and homophobia. Another thing I witnessed in my short time there was an employee using a homophobic slur right in front of customers.

And in a perfect world, I would love to receive compensation in the form of lost wages as I was expecting to be working there through the end of December and arranged my finances accordingly. But I realize this last one falls more in the realm of fantasy.

These are the things that come to mind at this point in time. On a grander scale, it is my hope that by shedding light on these events it will continue to shed a light on the misogyny prevalent within geek culture and open and honest dialog about these subjects. All people of all genders deserve to have safe spaces for the things that they love. One of the things I was most excited about in working at Harrison's was being a female employee that would hopefully encourage more women to shop there and to read comics and to feel safe and comfortable within that little corner of geek culture. It is truly unfortunate I was not able to do that and I am sorry for any failings on my part.

I also want to say a quick thank you to the few customers I did wait on. A number of you have contacted me and told me how happy you were with my service. I am so glad I was able to help even if it was just a little bit and I am truly sorry that I will not be there to assist you in the future.



Thank you.

EDIT: I forgot to mention another odd thing. One of the employees that was cited as having complained about me is someone I never actually worked with. This individual was not in the store when I was. Seems a little strange that someone I never worked with would complain about me.

EDIT #2: I apologize for the edits but I keep thinking of stuff to add. Another thing maybe worth mentioning is that I worked for Larry in the 1990's. During that time no complaints were lodged against me either by employees or customers. I left the store on amicable terms solely because I needed a better paying job. So again, just interesting, that during my initial employment the first time around there were no issues with me as an employee but this time, after lodging a complaint against Julian, I am supposedly suddenly disliked by the staff. Interesting.

61 comments:

  1. Of course they didn't want to work with you... you called them out on their skeeviness.

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    1. Of course they didn't want to work with you... you are kinda a douchebag. *fixed*

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  2. Talk to a lawyer - you most likely could get those lost wages and a helluva lot more (you might even become the owner of that store!)

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    1. You have to take a stand for yourself as well as all victims of sexual harassment n the workplace.

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  3. Get a lawyer. You have an unbelievably great case.

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    1. No, she really doesn't; it's her word against theirs, that's it.

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    2. Actually, there's another woman who was fired for the store after complaining about the atmosphere of sexual harassment in the store. Her case is UNBELIEVABLY strong. Not to mention, it's not just the comments that only she&he heard, it's the dozens of other details--how she was praised, how she was assured she was being kept on, how she was given extra hours and implemented a number of important things on her first days (recycling, social media, and most of all making it a more comfortable place for female comic book writer and/or buyers to shop).
      THEN...AFTER she posted about the "rape room"...she shows up for work, but is not only fired, she's physically intimidated by the a-hole who made the rape room comment (along with the equally disgusting and frankly terrifying comment "Not if she can't talk", implying that the woman would be unconscious, drugged out of her mind on roofies, too terrified to speak, or perhaps, dead). He went out of his way to try to make her feel fear by using his body...and later that same day, tried to follow her on Twitter, trying to make her feel fear by letting her know he was right there, watching her where she couldn't see him.
      Trust me, this guy's no novice. He's done this before, and unless he's stopped--and by now it's obvious Larry is so cowed by this guy he's not going to do the right thing, that frankly a lawsuit resulting in compensation for lost wages and trauma is the only thing that's going to make him see the light--he'll do it again.
      Most disturbing of all, when Jenn very bravely told Larry that she was a rape survivor (believe me when I tell you that revealing something so humiliating takes buckets and buckets of courage), he brushed it off, and to my knowledge has yet to address it.
      And before Harrison's blocked it, within hours, HUNDREDS of negative reviews showed up, by people saying they were boycotting Harrison's from now on. I didn't count the # of boycott announcements, but there were exactly four positive reviews.

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    3. I think you have a good case. And you'd make a better owner or manager for the comic shop.

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    4. Open a case and people will come forward. Trust me, while nonetheless serious your case is not as egregious as some I have witnessed.

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  4. In no way am I defending the store, employee or the comment, but I find it hard to believe that you are in "dire financial straits" after two days at a comic book store. This is not a job that you had for years... you are in the same situation that you were in three days ago. I think your story stands well enough on its own without exaggerating things such as this in an attempt to gain more sympathy.

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    1. This is true and perhaps dire is too strong a word. I did, however, plan my finances around the idea that I had job security, job security that was indicated to me by my being told I was one of the people being kept on and then having hours added to my schedule. When I left after my shift on Sunday I had no reason to believe my job was in any sort of jeopardy. Had I known I would have arranged my finances differently.

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  5. "I find it hard to believe that you are in 'dire financial straits' after two days at a comic book store."

    That's not what she wrote. She wrote that she had planned on having that income through December.

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    1. That is what she wrote " I told him this whole thing is putting me in dire financial straits that could have been avoided with clearer communication and fair treatment"

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    2. The statement works. She expected to have a job. Had she felt that she wasn't going to be kept on, she would have made other arrangements. She is stating at no time had she felt this position was in danger. If this was not retaliation, then it was poor management.

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    3. All retail stores, including places like Newbury Comics, are starting their holiday seasonal hiring. It shouldn't be that hard to find a comparable job.

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    4. Yeah, If I were an employer, I'd run right out to hire this young lady (sarcasm). No employer is going to want to hire someone who just went mega-public (on twitter, no less) about something that happened at her job.

      If she disagrees with her boss over something somewhere else, is she going to run to twitter to deal with it and publish everything online..? something she needs to think about.

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    5. She was my meigbhor she triid to get me to stalk mc Chris for her. and she was a terrible person otherwise, but ill keep those stories for now

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    6. This is for the nonny claiming to be my neighbor: I've had the same neighbors for twenty years. They are an elderly disabled couple. I highly doubt you are them. Please go troll somewhere else. Thank you.

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  6. But "dire financial straits" is written in plain english. Don't you see?

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  7. for the love of hades stop your crying

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  8. good on you for calling it out but if you're truly in "dire financial straights" you should be searching for a job rather than thinking back on what you can edit. He owns the store and determines who works there. While it may not be what you want to hear you will get further in life focusing on things you CAN control, instead of voicing opinions on those you cannot.

    Agin. Not saying what happened to you was ok. just writing this based on the dire financial straights part.

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    1. Because looking for a new job is the kind of thing that requires your every waking second of time 24/7, you definitely do not have time to edit a damn blog post while doing so, something that takes all of five minutes.

      Yes, he owns the store and determines who works there, but if those determinations are made against an employee because they made a harassment complaint, it's possible that he (or rather, the guy who fired her, who is the guy she complained against) used illegal means to make those determinations. Something she CAN control is whether she sues them over that.

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    2. It's only been a few days since the firing. I absolutely plan to shift focus but right now it felt important to relay and document the facts as I've experienced them.

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  9. The fact that whoever is running the store's Facebook page is deleting comments and actively blocking those posters who post anything even questioning what happened is telling. The fact that people have followed you here to call names and question your experience is shameful.

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    1. how is it any different than the young lady posting the store's website on her twitter feed and telling people to go there...? People followed the link and called names and questioned the store based on what she wrote. Now people are coming here to question her on what she wrote. I don't see how one is 'bad' and one is 'good'.

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  10. Considering what the store has posted, be sure to get screen shots of their claim, and get a lawyer. This kind of treatment is not legal or acceptable in any way.

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    1. MA is an at-will employment state, so she can be terminated if it was in fact for "performance reasons" as their statement says. Also, according to said statement, she was a 30-day trial hire.

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    2. MA may be an at will state, but it is against federal law to retaliate against an employee for opposing discriminatory practices, and sexual harassment is defined as a discriminatory practice under Title VII.

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    3. She was in hee 30 days , also she sucks for cash..

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  11. Actually, terminating someone in retaliation for reporting serial harassment is a no-no. It is against the law.

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    1. THIS! Exactly this. This is a classic case of "retaliation" and isn't acceptable. Employee reports sexual harassment claim (that is what this is, let's be real). Employee is then fired. Anytime a sexual harassment claim is made, it's the employer's responsibility to investigate it in a timely and appropriate fashion, while retaining the claimant. Terminating the person without an investigation into the CLAIM -- remember, it's about the claim, not her performance -- is retaliation. It's retaliation for making the claim. This couldn't be more simple.

      Jennifer, thank you for sharing your story. This sucks for you, and I'm sorry that you are experiencing this in such a public way. Be strong, be brave.

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    2. Oh for Chrissake, being exposed to a rape joke is not "sexual harassment. This hopelessly retrograde attitude that women are delicate Victorian ere flowers who never-dee-ever be subjected to mildly offensive jokes is sexist spits in the face of 60s era women who fought to the doubly standards of language and humor, and it needs to stop.

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    3. Actually, it is. If you sit through any sexual harrassment training at a job they always list, "lewd/sexual joking, pictures, etc" as part of sexual harassment. Also the fact he touched her without her permission is sexual harassment.

      So, try again.

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  12. Can't wait to travel all the way to Salem and give the store all my money!!!

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  13. Julian Is an ass and it doesn't surprise me he made the rape room comment.
    Stupid Jokes and annoying Nicknames are a common aggravation when dealing with him.
    and yes to the best of my Knowledge he is a lawyer.
    worse he's Larry's lawyer so Larry is almost certainly getting bad advice to cover Julians ass.

    Jenifer Go talk to the Owner of Silvermoon comics at the east india mall and see about sending the IRS and labor board after Larry

    larry Is a Jerk who will cut most corners to save a buck
    but I really think Julian is coaching Him in his reply's

    Julian should be your Primary target and you need to pressure Larry into throwing him under the bus.

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  14. Jennifer you are awesome and doing a good job in a difficult situation.
    I hope you sue and win!
    Please don't be intimidated by the fact that one of these guys is a lawyer, just get a better one.

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  15. To my untrained eye it looks like you do have a very good case. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see you get lost wages and much more.
    Also, I hope you make time for some self care and reflection as this must be a difficult time for you.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I was not doing so good with the self-care this week but I did finally make a little time for myself tonight. Not sure what the future holds but one day at a time and all that.

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  16. You're insane and a liar.

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    1. And you're a coward.

      You're point?

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    2. Actually you are insane and a stalker. How's your cash for sex business going?

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  17. YOU JUST CAME FROM A BIKINI KILL CONCERT
    YOU FELT LIKE A STRONG INDEPENDENT WOMAN
    TWO GUYS WHERE HAVING A "RAPE THE UGLIEST CUNT POSSIBLE" CONTEST
    YOU WEREN'T A STRONG WOMAN ANYMORE

    I'M GLAD YOU GOT RAPED
    YOU STUPID DYKE CUNT
    I'M GLAD YOU GOT RAPED
    CUZ YOU'RE A STUPID DYKE CUNT

    I LAUGHED AS I WATCHED HIM RAPE YOU
    THEN I BROUGHT HIM A FEW BEERS
    EVERY YEAR ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF YOUR RAPE
    I SEND HIM A THANKYOU CARD, YOU STUPID FUCKING DYKE CUNT

    I'M GLAD YOU GOT RAPED
    YOU STUPID DYKE CUNT
    I'M GLAD YOU GOT RAPED
    CUZ YOU'RE A STUPED DYKE CUNT

    -Anal Cunt, "I Sent A Thank You Card To The Guy That Raped You"

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    1. You have got to be kidding me. I'm sorry that you are so lonely and hateful.

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    2. I hope you don't leave any decendants on Earth you scumbag

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    3. You fucking dyke
      You didn’t want to get touched by a man
      You wanted to be a strong single mother
      So you ordered a sensitive, gay poet’s sperm

      [Chorus:]
      I snuck a retard into a sperm bank [x4]

      Instead of a bright poet offspring
      You’re stuck with a drooling retard
      You went broke paying for special care
      Your girlfriend left you for another woman

      [Chorus]

      Anal Cunt, "I Snuck A Retard Into A Sperm Bank"

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    4. Be glad I don't know were you live. 5-10years in jail would be worth it.

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    5. That be glad comment was not meant forJennifer in any way shape or form. It's meant for the idiot who thinks rape comments or OK. Sorry if I alarmed you. This is the first time on a site like this.

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    6. Well somebody has terrible reading comprehension skills.

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    7. Whoever wrote that horrible, evil, twisted song...please get help. You are so far beyond sick and twisted, you don't deserve to breathe the same air as we do, and you must be truly desperate for attention to write and/or post such evil to torment the women on this thread.

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  18. "So, you told me, as a female employee who was made to feel uncomfortable, that I should confront the person who made me uncomfortable who is also in a position of power over me. Does that make sense?""

    Of course it does. You always take up issues with the person you're having problems with, then go over their head if it can't be resolved. Anything else is just being grade school tattle tale. Is the whole workplace supposed to revolve around preserving your delicate, passive 1950s housewife persona?

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    1. Absolutely not true. I have worked in retail and other businesses for years and I have always been told to report problems to my supervisors. In this case, since the acting manager was the person making the jokes and unwanted touching, the next in line was the owner of the store. I have NEVER had a business tell me I should confront coworkers until now.

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    2. Anonymous--I'm not surprised you're hiding your name, as you're obviously a coward. You demand people confront someone who's intimidated them, showed them disrespect by invading their space through unwanted touch, and when asked if they thought the use of the term "rape room" was appropriate, was told, "Not if she can't talk"...yet you expect the person who did these things to respond in a reasonable manner???? And THEN you make it the victim's fault, and refer to her as a "delicate, passive 1950's housewife persona"??
      You are a child, you are obviously someone who has no issues with a woman's feelings about the constant threat of rape we face, and you have no IDEA how strong my friend Jenn is to survive not only this, but other torments. You should be ashamed of yourself, but you're obviously not intelligent or self aware enough.

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  19. Charming. SO nice to see a display of the misogynist attitudes asking the customer base at the store. Save those, Jen, and trace the IP addresses. If any of that crap is being posted from the store, your case only gets stronger.

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  20. Defective, useless person. You are literally promoting the negative issues you are claiming to point out as "happening" to you

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  21. Don't think for a second that posting as "Anonymous" and telling someone they are defective is anything but evidence to how sick you are friend. Sick, weak and cowardly with no ethical system..

    But I bet it felt good to rant at someone from under your desk huh?

    You angry men with your internet bravery... the world is changing and soon you will hide even more.

    Cheers!

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  22. As a former employee at Harrison's I can personally attest to the fact that these allegations are true and that sexual harassment whether overt, passive aggressive or straight up are quite common.

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  23. Sue her for damages , an employee bringing down the company she works for is a disgrace.
    I doubt wether she will ever work again.
    Hopefully she isnt ij marketing , and clearly doesnt give a shit about the business she works for

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  24. After reading these comments.

    Please....tell me how sexism and rape culture are dead and women should shutup already -_-

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    1. naw sexisim and rape culture exist, and the only people who should be "slut shamed" are whores like you. (no i never had anything to do with you, but you are a horrible person, and well you did sell your sexual services for cash so you are a whore.) so yea, enjoy that and any disease you get. good day.

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  25. What I'm surprised about is that someone thinks they can post "Anonymously" in this day and age. (No, I don't think I'm immune either, but I'm not making threats.)

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  26. If this ends up going to court, I will seek out the plaintiff(s) to offer my testimony.

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