Previous Blog Entry Next Blog Entry

Team Harpy FAQ

October 1, 2014

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.

What can I do to learn more?
Stay tuned on the Team Harpy website at http://teamharpy.wordpress.com. Stay tuned on Twitter, following the #teamharpy hashtag.

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.

“Team Harpy FAQ”

  1. jessamyn Says:

    Thanks for putting this together and for being the trusted money person.

  2. Burk Says:

    Perhaps it would be helpful to have the originating link . Where the statements were made.

  3. Naming names | Says:

    […] used a pseudonym for him, but a friend responding to her original post named names). Two librarians named a library “rockstar” as a known harasser that women warned each other to be careful of at conventions (now he’s suing for defamation). And […]

  4. Beyond ALA’s Code of Conduct: What can we do to combat harassment at ALA Conferences? | The Magpie Librarian: A Librarian's Guide to Modern Life and Etiquette Says:

    […] promotes anti-harassment policies for conferences. In addition, the circumstances surrounding #teamharpy cannot be ignored. I imagine that however Joe Murphy’s legal proceedings play out, it will […]

  5. Why I support #teamharpy | The Nascent Librarian Says:

    […] Houghton, who’s handling the aforementioned legal defense fund, provides an FAQ and her own experiences with sexual assault and […]

  6. We support #teamharpy and you should too | Progressive Librarians Guild Toronto Area Chapter Says:

    […] The Progressive Librarians Guild (Greater Toronto Area Chapter) call on Joe Murphy to drop the $1.25 million lawsuit against our colleagues, nina de jesus and Lisa Rabey. Open and constructive dialogue around all the issues relevant to sexual harassment in our profession and in this particular case would be preferable and more useful than taking punitive legal actions. Using the legal system to attack Rabey and de jesus serves only to circumvent necessary discussions and further discourages victims of harassment from speaking out. It creates a chill and it traffics in fear and the asymmetry of patriarchal power. This case is an abhorrent reversal of the core values of the library profession to foster open, free and public dialogue around social issues. We also ask other librarians, librarians' associations, and other thinking people to support our colleagues, either by donation, sharing information, writing statements of support, and/or signing the petition. More information on #teamharpy can be found here and here. […]

  7. Episode #062–Adriana Parker (Sexual Harassment, Feminism, Terrorism, and Librarianship) | Creative Libraries Utah Says:

    […] Sexual Harassment  […]

  8. Team Harpy | YUFA Library Chapter Says:

    […] We, the librarians and archivists of the Library Chapter of the York University Faculty Association, call on Joe Murphy to drop the $1.25 million lawsuit he has initiated against Lisa Rabey and our York University colleague, nina de jesus.  As librarians and archivists, we are committed to the principles of openness and constructive dialogue about the issue of sexual harassment in our profession, and believe that using the legal system to attack Rabey and de jesus serves only to circumvent those useful and necessary discussions and further silences victims of harassment.   We extend our support and solidarity to our colleagues, and call upon other librarians and thinking people to do the same, by donation, sharing information and/or signing the petition. More information on #teamharpy can be found at the Team Harpy web site and in the Team Harpy FAQ. […]

  9. Mais que se passe-t-il autour de la #TeamHarpy ? | Même les quiches ont des tuyaux… Says:

    […] qu’elle serait témoin du côté des défendeuses. On peut également trouver sur son blog une FAQ sur […]

  10. #TeamHarpy | Légothèque Says:

    […] qu’elle serait témoin du côté des défendeuses. On peut également trouver sur son blog une FAQ sur […]

  11. Hacking Your Career Plans: Independent Information Professionals | hls Says:

    […] Murphy. In case anyone is reading this subsequent to the update, I want to call your attention to #teamharpy and the allegations they’ve made against […]

  12. La ética laboral en las bibliotecas - Infotecarios Says:

    […] profesional de Murphy.  El dúo que está en medio de esta controversia se autodenominó como Team Harpy.  Otros bibliotecarios han reaccionado a la controversia mostrando apoyo a las bibliotecarias […]

  13. Informed Source Says:

    So, now that they’ve retracted their statements might we get an update?

  14. After Team Harpy | PLG London Says:

    […] a good refresher of some of the facts of the case, see Librarian in Black, Popehat and Library […]