My Public Statement Concerning My Libel Claim Against Lisa Rabey and Nina De Jesus #teamharpy

Updated 3/25 2015: Full Apology And Retraction issued from Lisa Rabey and teamharpy to Joe Murphy at bottom.

In 2014 I was the target of a campaign of slander and harassment. Here and below is the apology statement by my defamers –

Oct, 2014. My name is Joe Murphy and this is my statement regarding the legal claims that I have brought against Nina De Jesus and Lisa Rabey. The case is about defamation.

Lisa Rabey and De Jesus started particularly vicious rumors about me on the internet. These rumors were completely false, with zero basis in fact. False statements harmful to my reputation including claims that I was a “sexual predator;” a clear falsehood. There has never been a single incident of sexual harassment involving me, no record of any claim exists, no complaint, no file, no case number. These are malicious and intentionally harmful lies. I have never been accused of any such abhorrent thing. This case is not about harassment, it is about libel. Responsibility must go hand in hand with the free speech that we all value.

De Jesus and Lisa Rabey then publicly declared themselves “heroes” for what amounted to name calling and sadly, bullying. When questioned if either of them were “victims,” their response is to admit that no, they are not. I have not met either individual. They infer that no one has a right to ask that question and that even asking it is part of the problem.

Lisa Rabey and De Jesus initially defended this lawsuit stating that they would bring witnesses and victims forward. My legal team requested particulars. Their lawyers refused and now are withdrawing their allegation that they intend to call witnesses or victims at trial.

So what is the truth? 

Never in my life have I sexually harassed anyone, sexually assaulted anyone, nor done anything of the sort. To be clear, no one has claimed that I have. There is absolutely no allegation of such incident. This situation was entirely based upon lies and character assassination. It is 100% about defamation and the right to defend oneself. 

For some reason, De Jesus and Lisa Rabey focused their negativity and abuse on me and decided to tell the world that I was those things and more. Very few asked me for comment. Few gave me the benefit of the doubt or treated me as innocent until proven guilty. 

With this level of defamation, the mere accusation with topics like this is enough to ruin ones career. As the accusations made the rounds and became gossip they were repeated by others who presumed that De Jesus and Rabey were telling the truth. After all, who would lie about such a thing? 

Someone would.  De Jesus and Lisa Rabey would, and did lie. They kept repeating these lies and it started to affect my ability to make a living in a career that I love and it affected my well being. De Jesus and Rabey knew this, and openly celebrated it.

I am in an unenviable position. As some have noted, filing a lawsuit should be a last resort. Engaging De Jesus and Rabey did not work. Asking them to retract their position and provide proof of their claims was met with sneers and further defamation. For those who asked why I did not try discussion first — I did.

I was left with two options:  change my name, or defend my name.  I chose the latter.

Sexual harassment is a serious problem that our country and industry are unfortunately still addressing. It is a problem that I and all of us abhor. Unfortunately in this particular case my name has been brought inaccurately into this discussion for untrue reasons by people using the issues to further their own ends, to make up stories. Complete fiction. This hurts not only the victims of the smear campaign, but it also hurts the credibility of victims of true assault. Once this case is over, everyone will see that De Jesus and Rabey have lied viciously, and that they have harmed not just me, but they harmed the real victims of sexual assault. Because once they are proven to have made this all up, the next victim is going to have to fight against the current that De Jesus and Rabey set in motion.

Some who were hoping to help lined up in support of an important issue, but unfortunately in this case the discussion was led by lies and rumors at the expense of a real person’s reputation and career and the credibility of the issue. Duped by those few who only sought to damage but likely assuming this was legitimately about harassment they joined in doing what they think is right. They presume that no one reasonable would start, and sustain, such a scurrilous and ignoble campaign. After so many years of women not being believed when they’ve claimed sexual harassment, why wouldn’t good people have a knee-jerk reaction to believe such claims.

But, perhaps those justice-minded people who have jumped on the “team harpy” bandwagon should do a little self-reflection. Ask yourselves how you would feel if you were the victim of a false and malicious campaign to destroy your life.  Ask yourselves how you would feel if you were tried and convicted by your professional peers before ever being directly accused. 

A witch hunt is what we have now. Those who stand up and ask questions also face bullying. People want to follow the crowd and few people have had the courage to stand up for what is right.

I’m not asking you to take my word for it. I’m asking you to use that trait that likely brought you into library science in the first place. Does the quest for knowledge not imply a quest for the truth? Librarians especially have a responsibility to check the facts. I’m asking you to be a cynic. Be cynical of both of our sides of the story if you like. But, if you’ve blindly believed their side of the story, ask yourself if that was really in character for you. Ask yourself if that was right.

Free speech is close to our hearts. My legal team is comprised of free speech lawyers from the U.S. (Marc J. Randazza) and Canada (Antonin I. Pribetic) who specialize in free speech related cases and who usually defend them. They understand that protecting free speech includes holding people responsible for that speech and for actual defamation.

In Canada where this lawsuit was brought because it is where the defendant De Jesus resides, free speech is revered (section 2(b) of the Charter guarantees freedom of expression), but lies are not.

I realize that there are some who are so committed to the “team harpy” cause that no amount of reason or evidence will ever persuade you. This statement is not for you.  This statement is for those of you who ask for proof, for sources, not rumors, who care about the integrity of the issue.  This statement is for those of you who know right from wrong.  This statement is for those of you who think for yourselves, rather than simply repeat rumors.

These two individuals decided to make sport of ruining my life. I tried to work it out with them reasonably, and they refused. I had no option but to bring this lawsuit to clear my name.

And clear my name I shall.  

– Joe Murphy 

Update: The attackers have issued a full and unreserved apology and retraction, admitting that all of their claims were false. March 25, 2015.

The apology is worth reading in full Lisa Rabey also posted her complete apology on her own website. They admit that from the beginning their statements about me were not true, and were “…gossip and innuendo, not fact.” Lisa Rabey and De Jesus confirm that they lied and that their lies to a professional librarian caused damage.

 Major points include:

  • Falsity of their statements:
    • “My comments had no factual basis at all.” – Nina De Jesus.  “There was no basis for me to make the comments and insinuations about Mr. Murphy that I made…” – De Jesus.
    • “I posted tweets that referenced librarian Joe Murphy implying without a basis in fact ” – Lisa Rabey.
  • They admit the damage they caused:
    • “These unsubstantiated statements gained wide attention and caused Mr. Murphy significant damage,” “unreservedly apologize to Mr. Murphy for the significant damage” – Lisa Rabey.
      “Unfortunately, my comments have caused a tremendous amount of damage to Mr. Murphy…” – De Jesus.
  • They have asked for the damage which they began to cease:
    • “I have to be honest to them in saying “I was wrong” about Mr. Murphy and I urge anyone who might take the position that they “support” me by helping me to undo the damage I unwittingly caused to Mr. Murphy” – De Jesus
    • “I strongly encourage those who aligned with #teamharpy and decided to attack Mr. Murphy to cease to continue to defame or disparage him.” – Lisa Rabey
Lisa Rabey

Lisa Rabey

Link to full apology and Retraction to Joe Murphy from Teamharpy Lisa Rabey Nina de Jesus as PDF

This resounding defeat of teamharpy (Lisa Rabey and Nina de Jesus) came the way it should have come at the beginning: Lisa Rabey and De Jesus acknowledging the truth, admitting they were completely wrong, and fully taking back their claims which they knew to be untrue. The truth has cleared my name. 

 – Joe Murphy, librarian