UPDATE 3/27/15: I have chosen to close comments on this post due to repeated hateful comments that violate the commenting rules for my website.
Many people have had questions about the lawsuit filed by Joseph Murphy against nina de jesus and Lisa Rabey, and about #teamharpy. Here is an attempt to answer the most common questions so that we can all start from an informed position.
What is Team Harpy all about?
Joseph Murphy (aka Joe Murphy) has begun legal proceedings naming nina de jesus and Lisa Rabey as defendants in a defamation lawsuit in the Canadian courts, asking for a total of $1.25 million in damages. All three are librarians. Mr. Murphy claims that nina and Lisa:
“have injured his personal and professional reputation, and have lowered him in the estimation of right-thinking members of society, generally, and, in particular, have caused him to be regarded with feelings of hatred, contempt, ridicule, fear, dislike, approbrium or disesteem. The defendants’ statements are clearly defamatory and impossible to justify.”
nina and Lisa stand by the fairness and truthfulness of their comments. More about the lawsuit can be found at http://teamharpy.wordpress.com
Who is Team Harpy?
Team Harpy supports the rights of nina and Lisa to speak about the behavior of Mr. Murphy.
Why are they called Team Harpy?
In the early days of this story, they were called harpies by some opinionated individuals.
Why don’t nina and Lisa share any proof they have that the statements they made about Mr. Murphy are true?
Because of the pending lawsuit filed by Mr. Murphy against nina and Lisa, all parties involved with the lawsuit must be cautious about what information is shared publicly, when, and how. As a pending legal issue, all matters of speech are necessarily complicated. At this time, all information supporting the defense of the defendants (nina and Lisa) is not being made public for various reasons that cannot be discussed publicly at this time.
Why didn’t any direct victims of Mr. Murphy report his behavior to conference organizers, their supervisors, or his supervisors?
No one purports to know how many people had negative experiences of a sexual advances, touching, or harassment from Mr. Murphy. One or more people known to the defendants (nina and Lisa) did report Mr. Murphy’s behavior to conference organizers, their supervisors, and/or his supervisors. Furthermore, the American Library Association had not adopted a Code of Conduct until recently, well after the bulk of the behavior addressed in nina’s and Lisa’s statements. It should be noted that other well-regarded and well-attended library and librarian conferences still do not have a Code of Conduct and in many cases there is still no policy, reporting structure, or procedures in place.
Why aren’t the victims coming forward publicly now on social media to say “I was a victim” and explain what happened?
Again, no one knows how many people may fall into this category. Victims do not owe it to anyone to come forward. Victims have their own set of circumstances, their own set of values, and their own set of challenges. Victims who have chosen to make themselves known to the defendants (nina and Lisa) will have their identities protected until the lawsuit requires people to publicly come forward.
What happens next with the lawsuit?
One of two things will happen—the lawsuit will be dropped by Mr. Murphy or the lawsuit will proceed and the Canadian justice system will determine the timing of a trial.
How much has been raised for the Team Harpy Legal Defense Fund and what is the status of the balance?
To date (Wednesday, October 1, 2014 – 9:00pm), after PayPal fees $13,498.89 has been raised. $400.57 has been disbursed to Lisa and $900.56 has been disbursed to nina for legal expenses already incurred, leaving $12,197.76. Sarah Houghton is running the legal defense fund for the sake of transparency and openness.
What can I do to lend my support?
Donate to the Team Harpy legal defense fund.
What can I do if I myself have experienced or witnessed Murphy’s inappropriate behavior?
Sign up as a witness if you have you directly experienced Mr. Murphy acting inappropriately—unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome sexual touching, unwelcome sexual comments, etc., have seen it happen to someone else, or have been made aware of Mr. Murphy’s behavior from someone other than nina or Lisa.
Where did the $1.25 million lawsuit figure come from?
There is no public information about how the damages were calculated. You would have to ask Mr. Murphy.
Why are nina and Lisa being sued together in one case?
Again, you would have to ask Mr. Murphy.
Why is this case being tried in Canada?
Again, you would have to ask Mr. Murphy. As nina is a citizen of Canada, this does allow for the case to proceed in that jurisdiction.
What will happen to the parties involved at the end of all of this?
nina and Lisa are the defendants in this case. There has been no legal proceeding, directly related to this case, against Mr. Murphy for his actions. At the end of all of this, whether the case is dropped or goes to trial, Mr. Murphy’s behavior will not be legally questioned nor will he be held legally accountable for any of his actions–in the scope of this case. Depending on the outcome of the trial, nina and Lisa will either be acquitted or held financially liable for defamation, up to the amount of the lawsuit: $1.25 million.