Writing about contentious issues and having a blog that is read widely will mean that I attract attention from quarters that can be annoying at times.
Steve and Angel are in dispute with a Steiner School in New Zealand. They claim their children were expelled because they were being bullied. I understand the school says it was because of the parents’ behaviour.
They appear to be very angry with anyone on the web who is critical of Steiner Schools who do not make their story the centre of the discussion. They write blogs, make videos and tweet to followers of critics – continuously – about the injustice they are supposedly suffering from a gang of Steiner critics trying to silence them (for what reason, it is never made clear.)
I believe I have only contacted them twice, both times by email last February. The first time was to politely explain to them why a comment they had left on my blog had been held up in moderation (too many links, I had no internet access). In the few hours between them posting and me seeing the comment, they had been tweeting and blogging their anger at me for denying them a voice. The second time was to explain that they did not have an automatic right to use my blog as a platform for their own grievances and to attack others.
I am not the only person to have told them this.
Since, February, I have ignored and filetered out their constant harassment by blog, tweet and video, both of myself and of others. I am told that they tweet at anyone who is mentioned in my tweets or tries to communicate with me by twitter. Their aim appears to be to discredit me by promulgating a partial account of events. They tweet under the names @amazonnewsmedia, @Steinermentary and @sjparis (amongst others). This has been going on for months.
Yesterday, I received this threatening email. I thought it time to make this harassment public and to break my rule of not communicating with them. My response to them follows.
Following your recent actions in defaming, and blocking anybody who mentions, people who are providing the “hard evidence” of problems in Steiner that you are simultaneously announcing internationally to others is very “hard to get”, we are now putting you on notice that this mendacity must stop.
We would like to offer you the opportunity to dialogue with us [sic] about the smear campaign that has been mounted against us by you and other skeptics, before we move on to legal action. So please respond swiftly if you would prefer to talk to us than to a lawyer.
What you are doing is beyond unethical, and you will not get away with it.
[redatced name] and [redatced name] have dropped all their “friends” in it by not being prepared to take responsibility for the failure of personal initiatives they themselves introduced to people who were in a very difficult situation. This is not a “very terrible lie”. It is a fact which we can easily evidence. But such personal “stuff” is part of life. That was their mistake. Mistakes can always be forgiven, yes probably even people being really vicious to you while your mother is actually dying, depending on how sincere the wish to make amends is, obviously, because that is pretty low.
But allowing their own failure to then seep into the public sphere to try and destroy whistleblowers, including the evidence we have collected of a broad and active smear campaign in which you are playing a major part, takes the whole thing onto a different level of clear and well-evidenced public, personal and professional victimisation by a large gang, and provably fomented by you. On this level legal remedies are available.
Your actions, which have certainly negatively effected the campaign to stop state-funding of Steiner in the UK, are clearly and overtly designed to trash the work of people who actually have taken the trouble to hold a Steiner school to account. These actions define you as a quack in this matter. Ignoring hard-won evidence (that actually supports your own sorry arse in quacking about Steiner) undermines your credibility as someone speaking publicly about the subject and is just not a rational thing to do for any skeptic. When the ‘leader’ of any campaign has to privately smear whistleblowers to hide live evidence, that campaign has clearly failed.
It’s time for you to put up or shut up. Either publicly state that our Human Rights initiative is not real, (yes you could write some more defamatory material in a blog post for example, as you usually do), and that’s why you must pretend parents are not speaking out, or provide evidence of the “terrible lies” that you allege we have been spreading about [redatced names].
It’s transparent. If you had anything on us at all, you would have publicly denounced us already. Obviously we’re so good at making it “look like” we’re being attacked, that, if it was more public, people might actually believe us. It is time to stop pretending that our work doesn’t exist, while secretly smearing us with abusive and false statements. This is hiding the abuse in full sight just like other current situations.
You’ve never been near one of these schools. What gives you the right to pontificate about stuff while silencing those that have done the work? Answer – nothing, you do not have that right, and if you do not immediately begin to behave more reasonably, we will do whatever we have to to safeguard our reputation from your vicious secret distortions, and our advocacy work for children likewise.
You’re a parent. Get real and stop thinking that we, whose children are still affected by the actions of that school, are going to let you ponce about like this without making sure people see what a load of hypocritical baloney it is.
We will make sure that others ask you the questions that will force you to state your position on whether our whole initiative with Human Rights is an elaborate lie, which will just be further defamation because it isn’t, or account for why you have colluded in this campaign of covert victimisation against whistle blowers whilst overtly pretending to address Steiner issues.
It’s up to you of course. You know what you’ve said about us. So now please produce the evidence for those statements, publicly retract the lot, or prepare to talk to your lawyer.
We are quite willing to discuss these issues with you, on the basis that you may have been subject to subterfuge yourself, but that in no way absolves you from promoting that subterfuge without verifying every allegation before passing judgement – ie some sort of skepticism.
Having said that, we will publish and otherwise disseminate this letter in 24 hours if we do not hear from you as frankly we will not know if you’ve received it, due to your previous dishonesty in refusing to speak to us, again on the basis of defamatory hearsay. Therefore we will publish it as widely as necessary to make sure it gets to you.
Angel Garden and Steve Paris
Dear Angel and Steve,
Some months ago I told you I would not communicate with you anymore as I had made myself perfectly clear to you about why your comment on my blog had been held up for a few hours and why I was unhappy about you using my blog for your own purposes, including the harassment of other individuals. As such, I will not be taking up your offer to talk. However, should your lawyers choose to contact me regarding this, please be kind enough to inform them that I have prepared myself to talk to them and my response will be to refer them to the reply given in Arkell v. Pressdram (1971).