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MusicHi! I am an independent Indian musician -- Rabbi Shergill, AMA!

Mar 17th 2018 by rabbimusician • 30 Questions • 26 Points

I was not born Amish. I was held in captivity by mother and stepfather until I was almost 19 years old. My stepfather forced my family to dress and live like the Amish. My sister and I escaped our abusive home by agreeing to join the Amish. Three years after joining the Amish I became the maid for the bishop's family and for the next 6 months, I was sexually abused by the bishop. I went against Amish church customs and reported him to the police but he escaped into Canada. In 2017 ( 12 years later) the bishop was finally sentenced to 10 years in prison for molesting almost all of his 11 children.

The bishop had brought his family back to the USA and in 2016 the three oldest daughters went to a neighbor lady for help. The neighbor called CPS and they called in law enforcement. The detective assigned to the case was reading my memoir at the time and when one of the children mentioned they had lived in Canada for awhile he figured out that the man he was investigating was the bishop from the book he was reading. I was put in contact with the children and their social worker. Eventually raising awareness did make a difference. The Social worker told me that my memoir helped her understand how to communicate with the children and gave her insight into Amish beliefs. The children told me that they were wavering on prosecuting their dad until they discovered my memoir. Sadly, our entire church had known what kind of man the bishop was but did not report him to the police. Going to the police is severely frowned upon among the Amish.

I wrote my memoir Tears of the Silenced (self published) to raise awareness about the need to report suspected child abuse and the difficulties I faced when reporting the Amish bishop. In the three years since I published Tears of the Silenced I have received emails from all over the world ( England, Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Germany, Denmark and Holland). Most are from child abuse and sexual assault survivors and many grew up in very strict Christian churches. They are from both men and women and each story is heartbreaking. I try to answer each email and offer what comfort or help that I can. Most of them tell me I am the first person they have ever told their stories to.

I hope to encourage all abuse survivors to speak out and tell their stories. It is very painful to do so but it can raise awareness and possibly save others from being abused by the abuser(s). There is much awareness needed about sexual abuse in very conservative churches. Many victims are too scared to come forward because they fear being ostracised from the church. Also, child abuse is an issue that never gets enough attention. Somehow we need to encourage the general public to report suspected cases of child abuse. After I left the Amish many people from the town where I lived as a child apologized for not helping my sister and me. They told me that they knew we were being abused and wanted to call CPS many times but our religious garb threw them off and they did not know what to do.

I had a 2nd or 3rd-grade education when I left the Amish. Today, 13 years later, I am in the last year of nursing school and an author. (My memoir is self published but has sold approx 100,000 ebooks, has 2089 reviews and has been on the Amazon Kindle Store Top 100 list three times. ) I want to encourage all abuse victims to follow their dreams, do not let allow your abuser win. What they did to you was not your fault! I recently started a new subreddit r/BreakTheSilence for abuse survivors to tell their stories and support each other.

Proof https://twitter.com/ExAmish101/status/973288472357191680

My Amazon Author Page has pictures of me when I was 16 years old and still at home with my mother and stepfather. These pictures were taken so that social services would not come out and check up on us. My mother told them it was against our religion to have government officials in our house. They did not question her and took the pictures instead. Note how my stepfather is holding onto our arms in the third picture.

Hello everyone, thank you so much for all of your comments. Feel free to keep posting questions.

Q:

I listened to that new track and liked it. Are you popular elsewhere in the world or mostly just in India?

A:

For Amory: Would you rather play a game of softball against a horse sized duck or 50 duck sized horses?


Q:

Which companies? I don't think you named them in your post.

A:

For people who know the story of Gawker and Thiel, what additional value does the book provide? What was the most interesting thing you learned about the case when writing the book?


Q:

What's the most you have ever seen someone drink?

A:

Do you have any friends left with the Amish? If so, what is your relationship with them? I was raised in the hutterites, and had to abandon my friends and family when I left. What is the Amish church's position towards people like yourself who escape?


Q:

Mostly India methinks.

A:

Horse sized duck obvs.


Q:

German companies : TUI , Karl Kolb , heberger french companies : Groupe Protec and de dietrich dutch companies ; melspring , hansmelchers and frans van anraat , Luxembourg general Mediterranean holding and its owner Nadhmi Auchi ( Saddam's Bag Man )

A:

To me, this story is not just the story of a ten year revenge plot, it's really the story of all conspiracies. You know we live in this world of conspiracy theories (I happen to live in Austin, the hometown of Alex Jones) but few actual conspiracies. But any student of history knows that the world often pivots on something a few people cooked up in secret. So to me, this book was a chance to tell that larger story. The fact that Thiel was willing to go on the record and explain his process was, in my view as an author, an unprecedented chance to lay out how power really works in a way that few have been able to before. It's ironic, Gawker's informal motto was that they showed "How Things Work"--the story behind the story. But in this case, they missed what was actually happening. So did everyone in the media. What I tried to do here was step back, take judgment out of the picture, and show what went down and why. I think the book captures that, but ultimately that will be for the readers to decide.


Q:

A pal of mine drank 36 pints one night. That's the most I've ever seen.

A:

Pretty much like your situation. I am shunned and have no contact with anyone except my sister who is still Amish. She is married and has three children. We write a few times a year but we do not really know each other anymore. I have not seen her for 12 years. I hope to go visit this fall. I am allowed to stay for the day but am not allowed to eat at the same table with her or any other church member. She is not allowed to touch me or take anything that I hand her. Probably the same among the Hutterites.


Q:

What do you think of the future of non movie music albums in India? We barely see any these days.

Also, who do you see as promising and talented musicians and singers of the future in India?

A:

Hey Amory, where did you get those perfect teeth?


Q:

What did you immediately do, when the gas reached you?

A:

Do you think that Thiel chose Hogan precisely because he knew that the whole "isn't this hogan sex tape gawker court room scene just hilarious" aspect would overshadow his involvement to an extend? I mean, if it was just some random dude who sued gawker over something much less spicey maybe the public story would've been all about "how things work" when it comes to the incredibly powerful


Q:

How much alcohol do you typically sell on Paddy’s day?

A:

Wow it's not quite that bad for me. I can visit, but can't stay overnight. Definitely take small gifts, even though I only visit once every 3 or 4 years (bottle of wine or chocolate or something). The worst part for me is having to listen to the speil from my parents about how disappointed they are, and how sad they are that I'm going to hell. Makes visiting really stressful so I almost never do.


Q:

That's pretty much the question I ask everyone else these days.

A:

Amory: Whoa...

Ben: I've wondered this too

Amory: This is actually a hot debate in my family because I had braces for eleven months, and my sister did not need braces at all. And so my sister's joke is always to my parents that they owe her $4,000 because at least when I had braces they were roughly $4,000. so Julia still feels like she is owed $4,000 from my parents.

I was very diligent about my retainers. I'm like the poster child for wearing my retainers. I still wear mine at night.


Q:

i was a child at the time and i don't remember well i was with my family in a basement- Mardin i had to hold my breath and covered my mouth then i ran into my neighbor's basement - Aras

A:

Thiel began looking for cases as early as 2011, but had trouble finding either cases that were viable or plaintiffs willing to publicly go against Gawker. But it's also important to see that from the second the rumors of the tape began to spread--in early 2012--Hogan was very public about his intention to go after anyone who published it. This was well-before Hogan and Thiel were connected. So Gawker's decision to run the tape--and we know they knew of Hogan's comments--was really the unforced error of the century. It's what put Hogan on Thiel's radar and gave him the opportunity he was looking for. There were then subsequent other cases that Thiel either explored backing or did back, in part because early on it was not so obvious that Hogan's case had legs to go all the way or that the verdict would be what it was (much of that came from more unforced errors Gawker made during depositions and the discovery process).


Q:

A legitimate shit ton.

A:

The Amish probably have the strictest form of shunning. Glad you can visit. I have not been back and dread it but I want to see my sister.


Q:

‘Rabbi’ album is still my all time favourite! I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve listened to it. Thank you for introducing this style of music! What are your upcoming albums? Also, any planned tours to the US on the cards?

A:

Thank you. Maybe I should put my retainers in again at night.


Q:

Mardin - the building behind you in your proof picture is very interesting. What is it?

A:

Did it ever come out who leaked Bubba’s video? I live in Florida and used to listen and it was heavily implied that the video originally came from one of his cohosts.


Q:

Alright then. Let's do this. A shit ton. Now, you're Irish, but you said "ton" so, I'll do the math for imperial. Adult fecal matter is about 75% water by weight. A ton is 2000lbs, and of that ton of shit, 25% of it solid by weight, or 500 lbs of dehydrated shit. Beer is anywhere from 90 to 95 percent water by volume, and about 2%-6% alcohol by volume, which means that the solid content in a beer (I'll take the lowest water and highest alcohol content. You are Irish after all) is about 4%. This means that for every pint of beer, there are 0.04 pints of solid material. Unfortunately, the density of the solid matter will vary significantly from beer to beer; It's mostly mineral content; we will have to make due with the density of beer in general. 0.04 pints times 1.05 grams/centimeter cubed is 0.042 grams of solid material per pint. The liquor is either broken down into acetate, and then unrinated out or is exhaled and sweated out. We have a surplus of water, therefore both factors can be ignored. Take our desired 500 lbs, and convert that to kilograms: 226.796 kilos or 226,796 grams. 226,796 divided by the 0.042 grams of solid mass per pint gives us 5,399,904.76 pints of beer to make a literal ton of shit. That's 2,555,107.89 liters of beer. According the price of travel website, a pint of beer in dublin, low end, will run you about 5.56 USD per pint. That's a minimum revenue (not gross) of $30,023,470.47 USD for our friend u/bombidol here.

A:

Former Jehovah's Witnesses waving from that dark corner: many of us aren't even allowed to visit. Phone calls won't be answered. Some aren't even invited to the burial of their own parents....

God I hate abusive cults like the ones you and I left...


Q:

US, no. Albums, sure.

A:

Amory: Definitely. Embrace super-nerd- hood in your sleep and your awake self will thank you.


Q:

its the halabja massacre memorial musum -Mardin

A:

The police reports, which you can pull out from the trial documents off the website of the Pinellas County Courthouse, suspected that the tapes were leaked by a rival radio DJ Matt 'Spiceboy' Loyd. He was never charged with the crime so we should be careful about pointing fingers, but as far as a best guess goes from both the FBI and the Tampa Police, that's it. Even weirder--weirder than this entire dispute being put into motion by a fight between two shock jocks--is that the lawyer who represented the brokering of the sales of the tape was a man named Keith M. Davidson, who later came to represent Stormy Daniels after her alleged affair with the man who is now the President of the United States of America...

Edit: article here about that insane set of circumstances.


Q:

Bravo.

A:

Yes, I have many former JW's who email me. A lot in common with the Amish when it comes to shunning, maybe even a little more severe in some aspects. Really sad and tears apart a lot of families. I was not allowed to attend my sister's wedding. Seemed so unnatural:(


Q:

Do smooth NPR personalities like yourselves all hang out together? Does Terri Gross have any great party tricks? What's Ira Glass like when he's angry?

A:

What exactly did the companies do and do you think they knew that their stuff would be used in an attack?


Q:

In what way did Peter Thiel surprise you the most?

A:

Do you ever run out of beer? Have you heard of that happening in other bars? If so, what happens?


Q:

I don't go because I like it lol. I go out of duty. Both parties hate it but it's a game we must play.

A:

Hooooo boy. We DO all hang out together sometimes! But mostly it's for work functions. Certain personalities party hard and good and long and strong. Who are they? We will never tell. Ira Glass. Angry? You wouldn't like him when he's angry.


Q:

during the 8 year of war between Iran and Iraq companies were trying to sell weapon specially chemical weapon to Saddam to use it in war and since then Saddam was using it so the companies knew that he was using it - Aras

A:

I thought he would seem much more angry than he ended up seeming. I spent enough time with him that if that had been the primary motivation, I think the mask would have slipped--if only for a second. Instead, he seemed very calm, very detached, very strategic about the whole thing.

The other interesting part of Thiel's personality is that he uses the steel man technique when arguing or explaining a complicated issue. This surprised me given that he had taken to calling Gawker terrorists and such. But really, he was always very open-minded when it came to discussing things. For instance, if you ask Thiel a question—about Gawker or Trump or whatever—he doesn't just pull up some half-formed opinion. Instead, he begins with, “One view of these things is that . . . ,” and then proceeds to explain the exact opposite of what he happens to personally believe. Only after he has finished, with complete sincerity and deference, describing how most people think about the issue, will he then give you his opinion, which almost always happens to be something radically unorthodox—all of it punctuated with liberal pauses to consider what he is saying as he is saying it. Even when he does describe his opinion, he prefaces it with “I tend to think . . .” or “It’s always this question of . . . ,” as if what he is about to tell you is simply capturing where his opinion falls the majority of the time when running a thought exercise on the topic, as if he is always in the process of deciding what he thinks. I found that to be very impressive and unusual. It was hard to be a lazy thinker around him.


Q:

Bag up the tap and sell the other stuff!

A:

I totally understand :(


Q:

What is best/worst part about having to talk alllll the time for work?

A:

Are these American companies or do they work in America? Is there anything Americans can do to help? So sad to read about this attack, I never knew it happened.


Q:

And it comes from a gawker media site. Nice.

A:

How's the weather today?


Q:

Why are there photographs of you? Where I’m from, the Amish do not allow you to take their photo. I’m assuming this varies by sect but all of the ones near us do not allow this

A:

Ben: Oh man, for Amory maybe it's like waiting for me to shut up?

Amory: I don't wait, I just ask him to.

Ben: I guess part of what's great about this job is that we actually, we do talk a lot, but we also listen a lot. I think being a journalist, and especially on this podcast Endless Thread where we talk to people from all parts of Reddit and all aspects of Reddit and their own stories, is that we get to hear form people who are experts in their feild or academics, but we also get to hear from just like regular people. And we get to hear about what's happening in their life, and I think that's the best part about that. I think the worst part is like, when you get a cold and your voice doesn't work anymore. That's like the terrible thing that I feel like happens to me at least, as someone who's like, you know, the golden vocal chords. Or pewter, haha. I don't know, what about you?

Amory: Yeah, I mean I think that if you're getting sick of talking, that should tell you something. That should tell you that either you're not listening enough to what the other person is saying, or you're not genuine in what you're asking them. You're not asking because you're actually curious about something that they've said, or want to get something from them, you're just talking for the sake of hearing the sound of your own voice. Which at that point someone should cut your mic off or tell you to stop talking. So hopefully--

Ben: If you're saying "this is more a comment than a question" then you are going down the wrong path.

Amory: Yea, or if you say "I want to ask you about..." blah blah blah, just ask it. You don't need to tell me that you want to ask me.

Ben: I've been basically interviewing people since I was 26, and when I go back to old recordings--like I have a few old recordings of interviews, like I was really lucky to get to interview Jay-Z once for an hour, and whenever I go back to that the way I was asking questions was like the worst way you could ever ask questions. Like I was always you know, "I always wanted to ask you this thing." instead of just asking the question. And it's really interesting too like when we were moving to broadcast and podcasts thinking about how to actually shorten your questions and keep them tighter and just be direct. Because I think that makes for the best audio.


Q:

these companies were not american and american companies refused to cooperate they were german , french, dutch and Luxembourg companies , and what you can do is supporting us in the courts and lawsuit

A:

That's some irony.


Q:

Shitty. Mix of rain and snow so far.

A:

The photographs are from when I was living with my mother before I joined the Amish. We did not take photographs but the state was coming to check on us and my mother had given them a fake address, she was also afraid that if they found us we would be questioned and they would be in trouble. So they decided to take the photographs and give them to the caseworker. It worked, they never discovered that my mother had been giving them a fake address. She told them that it was against our religion to have government officials in our house. Whenever you inject religion into the equation it is easy to get away with things.


Q:

How did you first encounter reddit?

A:

Bankrupt them? Didn’t Bayer manufacture Zyklon B? They’re still around. Honestly, the only justice these people will ever get is if somebody were to take it into their own hands.


Q:

How much money do you estimate Peter Thiel spent backing Hogan?

A:

What's the earliest anyone's chundered in your Paddy's Day history?


Q:

Congratulations on your success! What do you think goes into the mentality of not-reporting-to-the-police? Outside of the failure to report such actions, were other members of your family/church/society/etc supportive of you speaking out?

A:

Amory: I don't think I encountered it or really approached it in earnest until I knew that I was going to be working on this project.

Ben: She's a noob.

Amory: I'm a noob.

Ben: It's cool.

Amory: But I think there's value to that. Ben is very much not a noob and I think our audience is somewhere in that spectrum. People who have been with reddit from the beginning and people who are like me and are like "ahh I've heard of it but I don't know what to do there". and I believe in the storytelling that is on Reddit and I believe in the content that we're finding there but I'm actually, I don't mind waving my flag as the new Redditor on the project because I hope that we reach people like me, and you know when we're doing interviews now, we'll always ask people, whether we're talking to them or not, because they are on Reddit - are you a Redditor? What do you do on there? People tell me kind of apologetically almost like "no but I promise to get into it" and I'm like "no no no you don't have to" If you want to great, but I'm hoping we bring something to you from Reddit that you find value in without having to be a long time Redditor like Ben is.

Ben: I think for me I was working at Slate at the time and a part of my job was, I mean this is sort of a bad word in the media industry, but like news aggregation. I was trying to find what was popping up or becoming the most popular stories of the day and then serving them up to Slate readers, doing re-writes, always with attribution for the company that did the reporting but basically kind of serving some of this stuff up to Slate readers, and there was a story that I think is now sort of famous on Reddit for, I think it was about a bus monitor, a woman in upstate New York and I'm forgetting the name right now but she, essentially someone posted a video that was on Youtube originally I think and then got re-posted to Reddit and went crazy viral and basically some of the kids on the bus were being really mean to this bus monitor and Redditors came together and raised, I dont think patreon was around yet, but Redditors basically said like "let’s take this woman on vacation, lets give this woman some money" and I think they raised like 700,000 dollars and she was able to retire, and that was I think that to me was, maybe not the first time I encountered Reddit but was the first time I was like "wow! this is a really powerful thing" that this sort of thing could happen in a community online. And I think generally speaking it was a very positive thing and it ended up- it was something negative and it got turned into a positive and I thought that was really powerful and that was the first time I understood Reddit at a certain level.


Q:

Hey everyone! Thank you for being such gracious hosts to our AMA participants. They tried to answer as many questions as possible. We know you have lots more questions, so if you will, please visit the site https://www.halabjavictimssociety.org/ to learn more about the attacks and the lawsuit. Many of your questions can be answered there. Don't forget about this attack and some of the victims experiences you've heard here today. Their stories deserve to be heard.

Have a good day, Reddit!

A:

Between $10-$20 million is the estimate.


Q:

As the door opens. I saw people puking on the walk to work two hours ago.

A:

Hello:) Thank you for this very important question. There is so much more to my story but it was not possible to put it all in that AMA. A little background. My step-grandmother and my mentally challenged aunt were also living at home with my mother and stepfather. They were severely abused. I went to the police first to try and get them removed from my mother's custody but the police were so hesitant to do anything because of the religious aspect. I asked the policeman to pull up my aunt's dress and look at the bruises on her legs but he told me that he could not because it would violate religious freedom (my mother dressed her in Amish clothes). I then asked for a female officer to be brought in to do it but they never did it. I was exasperated and went to the police 3 times. I could not get them to do anything. My grandmother died not long after and my aunt died about three years ago, about the same time my memoir was published.

It is too easy to hide behind religion. When I reported the Amish bishop I was met with much of the same attitude "We have to be careful not to infringe on religious freedoms" until he escaped into Canada. At that point, I believe they realized something was very wrong. I really love that our country has religious freedom but I think we need to be careful that religious freedom does not trap victims and make it impossible for them to get help.

By the time I had left the Amish I was numb and felt I had failed my aunt, my step-grandmother, and the bishop's children. I could not save any of them. I got pushback from every angle, the Amish, the police, adult protective services and of course my mother and step-father. I was the only one trying to help any of them. The only one helping me was a non-Amish lady. It was devastating. Nine years later I wrote my memoir in a last ditch effort to raise awareness. I barely expected anything to come of it but something was set in motion and now three years later the bishop is in prison, people from my hometown have read my book, I have found my long lost brother and I am helping people from all over the world through email.

I think our culture's mentality of "mind your own business" plays a big part into why child abuse cases are not reported. They think it is not their business and may even fear other people will remind them of that fact if they start to meddle. Also many believe that CPS will not do anything even if they call. There definitely needs to be a big overhauling of the CPS system.

I know in my case, the people who apologized to me and told me that they had known are truly some of the kindest people you could ever meet. It is not that they were bad people, today they are really good friends of mine :) I think they truly just did not know how to help. I hope that answered your question :)


Q:

What's the story you most want to tell with Endless Thread that you haven't touched on yet?

A:

Wow really thanks for the A2A. Most of the survivors often lose hope of any revival in their lives. How do you motivate people out there to continue with their lives?


Q:

How did you convince both Peter Thiel and Nick Denton to talk to you for this book?

A:

What do people order the most of at your bar on the holiday? Guiness? Do they try and get anything “weird” like a Smirnoff Ice?


Q:

That sounds like a very compassionate view on your part of those people who knew. Have you always been able to see you at that way or were you angry at them for a while?

A:

I'd like to tackle The_Donald in the right way, and I'm fascinated by r/gonewildaudio (Ben)

I want to tell the true story of u/IGotYouThisCake (Amory)


Q:

we are asking people to have hope and continue their lives , we hope that we can hold those companies like TUI who did this to us accountable so this is somehow my motivation - mardin i want to live to be alive proof of what chemical weapon can do -Aras

A:

I'm not sure I convinced them, so much as the fates aligned. I happened to get an unsolicited email from Thiel in late 2016--he had read some of my Gawker columns and suggested we get dinner sometime. I got an email from Denton not long after saying he'd read some of my philosophical writing and wanted to know if I wanted to get together. That I was talking to both of them I think was intriguing to them both, and also meant the other would want to keep talking for fear that the project might be too heavily weighted by one side. I also kept the project's direction really open for a long time--was it a book about media or technology or these two characters or was it about revenge? I really didn't know, but that allowed me to ask about a wide range of things so it never felt super invasive or "gotcha"-y. Denton preferred to do his interviews over chat, so our process was also much less of an imposition. Meanwhile, I think Thiel is quite proud of what he had accomplished and was tired of the very biased reporting around it.


Q:

It's mostly guinness and whiskey today. A lot of lager and cider too.

A:

I was angry for at least the first 10 minutes. I cried. But I could see the pain and guilt in their eyes and just could not be mad at them. Being mad at them would not accomplish anything.


Q:

what's the most mysterious post you've found on reddit?

A:

The attack happened 30 years ago. Chances are the people at those companies aren’t even working there any more. Have you had any progress in this lawsuit?


Q:

Did anyone at Gawker ever address the hypocrisy of posting the Hogan tape while Jezebel made a huge deal over the celebrity nude leaks?

A:

You've said that you pretty much hand the city over to tourists today, do you find it strange that St. Patrick's Day is mostly celebrated by people who aren't Irish? I'm in England, and everyone I know seems to be going out tonight to get drunk on Guinness, however for St. George's Day, we maybe put a few flags up.


Q:

My great grandmother left the Amish community when she was 16. I wasn’t old enough to understand what that meant, and I wish I would have asked her about her experience coming into a non Amish society. I’m sure you’re experience is drastically different than hers was because we live in a completely different world. With that being said, I have a few questions I wish I could have asked her before she passed.

  1. What was it like to come into a modern world?
  2. Was it overwhelming to transition to this way of life?
  3. Are there any things that carried over from your Amish life to your non Amish life?
  4. Is it hard to break any biases that were ingrained in you when you were growing up?
  5. Do you ever fear that you made the wrong decision when you left the Amish community?
  6. How hard was it to leave everything including family, friends, and belongings?
  7. And finally, how hard was the decision?

Sorry for asking so many questions! These are questions I always wanted to ask, but never got the chance to.

A:

Ben: Oh man. no, I just feel like there's so many. Reddit is so amazing because there are so many different corners of it and so many places that you can find these mysterious...I didn't mean like scary corner, but just like the legal advice subreddit was interesting to me, as is the personal finance subreddit. I have like three. Like the one where someone posted--we tried to get this person to talk to us, but they wouldn't talk to us--someone was doing a renovation. They were given a house by a family member, they basically inherited a house in the Seattle area, and they were doing some repairs to the house and like, put a hole in the wall during the process and they found a pack of money. And they were like "Oh, this is weird" so they opened up the wall more and there was $100,000 in their wall. And a video tape. Which to me is just like "Aaahh!" And especially for making radio or making a podcast, we're like, "Okay, we have to talk to this guy, look at the videotape and play that on the podcast." But this person was basically like "I want to pay off my car and pay off my student loans and do it in the way with the least sort of financial penalty possible. The videotape by the way, spoiler, apparently was their uncle spouting anti government conspiracies. So this person basically had discovered like, the hole in the mattress, right? So I guess I'll just do that one.

We also had one recently that was...is that our most recent episode?

Amory: u/RBradbury1920?

Ben: Yeah, u/RBradbury1920.

Amory: I can talk about that one.

Ben: Yea, go ahead.

Amory:So our most recent episode is devoted to this now famous Reddit mystery of a user called u/RBradbury1920 who was living in an apartment somewhere in Massachusetts, and they're waking up in the morning and finding mysterious post-it notes. I think the first one was on the back of their desk chair, and it's in a handwriting that they don't recognize. The first one had a to-do list of just things that they needed to do but they didn't tell anyone else about, so they're very freaked out about this post-it note and how it got there. The second one says something like "Save your documents. You need to save your documents." So again it's in handwriting that they don't recognize, just using one of their post-it notes. The third one gets even creepier. It says "Our landlord won't let me talk to you, but it's important we do." What I love about this, because this is something that as far as I know can only happen on Reddit, because this person posts on the legal advice subreddit--because you can't just google "mysterious post-it notes in my apartment", that's not something you can google, but you can go to reddit and say "Hey, can I sue my landlord? I think my landlord's breaking in. I don't really have evidence. The handwriting kind of looks like my landlord's handwriting, is that enough?" So it was this great mystery that another Redditor solved, and in solving it most likely ended up saving this person's life. But that's all that I'll say, because if people haven't listened to this episode you really should.


Q:

we filed the lawsuit only two days ago and we suied both manager and directors who were personally involved and also the companies themselves , the companies made many millions in profits which helped them, grow to be the huge companies that they are today the victims lives were destroyed hundred of survivors died early death hundred of children have birth defects caused by the chemicals so the companies should pay this profits in fair compensation to the victims and their families even if the director and manager are old or maybe have already died

A:

I address it in the book.

“Gawker is not in the business of holding back information,” Gawker’s managing editor, Emma Carmichael, would later say in her deposition. If they got it, they ran it. A Gawker writer would defend a similar story a few years later by saying, “Stories don’t need an upside. Not everyone has to feel good about the truth. If it’s true, you publish.” These people had come to believe that “truth” was the governing criterion, and that the right to publish these stories was absolute. As far as their experience was concerned, they were correct: There had never been serious consequences. They had called every bluff. They had published what every other media outlet would have deemed unpublishable and not only walked away from it—the audience loved them for it.

Of course they knew that running stolen footage of a naked person was not exactly right. Jezebel, a Gawker site, had made a name for itself defending women against every kind of slight, defending their rights to privacy, defending them against men who tried to victimize or bully them online. Jezebel would define its views more clearly in outrage over a rival blog that published a controversial story about someone’s sexuality: “Don’t out someone who doesn’t want to be out. The end. Everyone has a right to privacy. . . .” Except Peter Thiel, and now Terry Bollea, apparently.

Less than two months before the Hogan piece, a Gawker writer who would later become the site’s editor writes a piece condemning the rise of “fusking”—the practice of stealing photos from online accounts and posting them. In it, he rejects any attempt to blame the victim, or any excuses made for the “behavior of thieves and creeps” when they steal people’s private things. Gawker had seen the anger and outrage about Hunter Moore when it had written about him and his media site built around so-called revenge porn. Commenters even cheered when Gawker reported that the FBI was investigating Moore. Yet when that tape arrived to its SoHo offices, Gawker would twiddle it down to a highlight reel and run that naked video of Hulk Hogan in front of an audience that numbers in the millions—a video not just of Hogan, but also of the woman he was filmed having sex with, who also had not consented to its publication. Gawker would promote it to their Facebook fans: “It’s probably time you watched this snippet from the Hulk Hogan sex tape with a woman some claim is Bubba the Love Sponge’s wife. Work’s over. You’re fine.”


Q:

It's pretty much just an excuse to get drunk at this stage, whatever it meant originally.

A:

I often describe leaving the Amish to being teleported from the 1600s to 2000s, it was very overwhelming for about 6 months. Things I carried over are cooking, doing crafts, I do not use swear words:) I am not sure if I have biases or what they are but most likely. I do not regret leaving the Amish, but like most Amish who leave I have had the recurring nightmare that I died and went to hell a few times.

It was extremely hard to leave the Amish. I did it once, but always say that if I had to do it a second time I could not do it. Some people leave and go back and leave and go back several times.

The decision to leave was extremely difficult. In fact, I did not decide to leave until after I had been to the police and the bishop told me to call off the investigation. In that moment I removed my head covering and stomped on it. This was the bishop of my church, he had assaulted me and now was telling me what to do for the sake of my soul? Something just clicked in that moment and I realized something was very wrong.


Q:

Who is the most difficult person you've ever interviewed?

A:

I wish I had a better question.... but I wanted to let you know that this was one of the primary reasons I joined the US Army Medical Service in 1988. I knew we would be fighting Sadaam after this. I was of course called up for Desert Storm when the time came. Our hospital was prepared to treat massive chemical attack victims which fortunately, for all involved in Desert Storm, never came.

What are the companies named in the suit?


Q:

Hi Ryan. Do you think it's better for a marketer to be a generalist with a broad knowledge across a number of disciplines, or be highly specialized in one?

And do you ever think you'll turn your hand to fiction writing?

A:

Hope the day goes well for you!

How often do you get Americans in your pub on this day?


Q:

It sounds like you and your mom were not Amish until she married him? How did an English woman end up marrying an Amish man? How old were you at the time? Was it a major culture shock to live the Amish way when they first got married?

A:

Ben: I'm ready.

Amory: You are? I'm sorta ready.

Ben: Yeah, I think I have two. One was Wanda Sykes who I love and who's work I love and who is amazingly funny and awesome. I don't want to call her out but also it was a really hard interview because I think she was doing this thing where she -- you know this happens all the time with celebrities they'll be sorta like, their publicists will set them up with like ten interviews over like an hour and a half and I was one of those jerks who was like a nobody from a tiny small town paper talking about her appearance in that town and I had maybe like 20 minutes with her and it was really weird. I called her up and all the questions I asked -- I was super excited to talk to her, super well prepared, or at least so I thought and I asked her all these questions and she was basically giving me all these one word answers on all of them and I was like "what am I doing wrong, what is happening?" Then at the very end of the conversation she said something like, "did you see this guy who jumped in the pool during the Olympics?" She had been watching television the whole time. Either I was too boring for her or... celebrities are real people too... like, if I'm watching television and someone's trying to ask me questions I'm gonna be bad at answering them. So, that was hard for me and then there was another one that I feel was like a lost in translation thing. I interviewed this guy Buju Banton who is a Jamaican artist and again he was coming to New York to perform and he had this, at least one, pretty controversial song, I think it's called Boom Boom Bye (actual title Boom Bye Bye) and it received a lot of coverage in the press for being homophobic and about killing gay people and I made the mistake about starting the interview with a question about that and instead of getting him to the place where he could answer that question thoughtfully and really consider what I brought to him -- he immediately clammed up and I remember when he first heard it in the beginning of the conversation being like, "where are you right now, like where am I calling you at?" just a like a very easy, trying to sorta reset and being sort of like "so, are you like in New York already or whatever?" and he was like, "I don't tell people my location." Just from there on, the Boom Boom Bye question followed by the location question just got super awkward and that was a tough interview for me.

Amory: I've mostly been the producer behind interviews so I'm writing a lot of the questions but they're not coming out of my mouth in particular. On the production side I remember we did an interview with Ric Ocasek of The Cars. Everyone pronounces his name Oh-Kay-Sick which the world has just been mispronouncing his name.

Ben: Is that true?

Amory: Yeah.

Ben: Count me among those people.

Amory: But you never would have known this because the whole interview he's just one of these guys who loves making music and doesn't really care about your questions and that's okay, I mean I get it -- but he did have a book to promote (laughs) so we were talking to him about the book and the whole interview was just... he didn't really want to talk about the book and that's okay. At the very end of the interview we had him do kind of a self I.D. where he was gonna say, "Hi, I'm Ric Ocasek of The Cars..." and he said his name O-Cah-Sek and we had been calling him O-Kay-Sick the entire interview.

Ben: That's awkward.

Amory: and we just, I remember the host just ask him, "why didn't you correct us... why haven't you corrected the world over the last 40 years?" and he just said, "nuuh, uh, it's not that important," and that kind of summed up everything in the interview. He doesn't even care if you say your name right. I feel like we perfectly captured the aloof rockstar of Ric Ocasek in that interview and sometimes that's the best you're gonna get and the best that you can hope for is just to give people an essence of what/who this person is. It's better than the person who turns on for the camera and they walk off... walk away from the microphone and nobody will really know who they really are. As frustrating as it may be to sit on the other side of the microphone or behind the glass if you're in the producers role and say like, "oh, why aren't they just turning it on for us?" it's like, "meh" it might be better to just be real. Take what you get.

Amory: I don't know, even as I'm thinking of people, I'm like defending them in my head as they're coming to mind like oh maybe they just had a tough morning. I don't know.

Ben: It's hard because what's interesting about this, is in a way it's our job to make the interview not difficult and that's something we consistently think about and that's part of our craft and how we approach something when we're doing an interview we try to think about what order will these questions be in, to sort of design for the right conversation. Like what is going to get, if its the case of a celebrity or someone whos sort of media crafted and doing interviews since however long and sort of has these stock answers, you kind of want to break them out of that and shake them out of that and find something about them that gets them to respond in a genuine way. But then you also have cases where like, so I worked the cops beat for a while in the newspapers that I worked at and when I did that I basically talked to a lot of people who didn’t want to talk to the press, family members of murder victims, people who had had terrible things happen to them and one of the ones that I remember, I guess this person was difficult because of their state or mind but I went to a fire. An apartment building caught on fire and I was assigned to the fire. This is one of those wonderful things about being a cops reporter, when something catches on fire you have to go to the fire instead of running away from the fire. I went to the apartment building and everyone except one tennant was out of the building when I got there and the fire had been put out but there was this guy, really distraught, he was a Vietnam vet, or he told me he was, and his girlfriend had died the night before and he was super upset and he didn’t want to talk also just super upset, but I needed to sort of get as much information from him as I could but he was you know, pretty unhappy so that was a really difficult interview to conduct because it was just I'm trying to do my job but at the same time this person doesn’t want to talk to me, and it was interesting too because everyone else in the building thought that he started the fire.

It was an arson case?

Ben: It seemed like it at the time and I don't know if it was ever settled but then also the building, this is something I learned about fires after being a cops reporter often the building will catch on fire again if its like not effectively put out so I was like interviewing the guy and the building caught on fire again and it started burning again and like all the firemen came back into the building and were spraying the hose, so that was a difficult interview.


Q:

German companies : TUI , Karl Kolb , heberger french companies : Groupe Protec and de dietrich dutch companies ; melspring , hansmelchers and frans van anraat , Luxembourg general Mediterranean holding and its owner Nadhmi Auchi ( Saddam's Bag Man ) some companies industrial like karl kolb and heberger , some companies for personal products for example TUI used to have sub companies that produce chemical and building materials , today they are the largest tourism country in the world but they have the biggest hand in building and supplying chemical weapon factories , hundreds of German engineers worked at the chemical weapon sites during the conspiracy even a gas chamber was built to test chemical weapons on dogs and donkeys and even allegedly on Iranian POWs , Auchi is one of the biggest real estate owners in England and owns dozens of companies including hotels , the bank in Luxembourg was secretly funded by saddam hussein and held accounts for numerous dictators and terrorists https://www.halabjavictimssociety.org/

A:

I suppose that depends on who you want to be and what kind of career you want to have. Personally, I think it's best to be really good at 3-4 distinct things. This was you have different competencies you can expand or contract based on need, the market, interest, etc. But that's still small enough to develop a solid reputation for excellence in. If you're good at 500 things (if that's even possible) it's hard for people to understand what you do.

Basically, I'd rather be Bo Jackson than Ashton Eaton.


Q:

I'd say 70% of the people in the city are Americans right now.

A:

So, my story is complicated and very unusual. I was 4 years old when my mother met my step-father. Neither were Amish. When I was six years old my step-father decided we should start dressing like the Amish. It was a gradual transition. I think my stepfather thought that if we started dressing religiously no one would ask why my sister I were not in school, why we had no friends or why we were rarely seen in public etc. It worked. My stepfather was in his late 40s and had been wanted for child molestation about 15 years before my mother met him. He escaped arrest by fleeing to Alaska and working on the fishing boats for a few years. After that, he was a gold miner in Northern Arizona and that is where my mother met him.

By the time I was 9 years old we looked fully Amish. We had learned to sew the clothes and traveled around in a motorhome selling crafts that we made. My sister and I worked long hours. When I was 11 we moved to the ranch in Northern WA, my sister and I were only let off the mountain to help sell things or bring supplies back to the ranch. It was a nightmare that would not end until I was 19. When I finally did go to the Amish community It was not that hard for me to adjust because I had dressed Amish for most of my life and was badly abused. For the first month, it seemed like a breath of fresh air. My sister and I were accepted into the Amish because of our obedient natures. It would be very hard for the average person to join the Amish, very few have ever joined the Amish from the outside world.


Q:

What's your ideal cat sweater design?

A:

I thought there was a weapons ban on chemicals, was that just paper to be walked through with no punishment?


Q:

One of the narratives about the Hogan/Gawker/Thiel saga has been, in its distilled form: Since Peter Thiel's financial resources far outpaced Gawker's, he shut down the company (personally, I see it as more nuanced, but fair enough). Then the narrative goes on to talk about how dangerous this is for journalism. What's your take? Is Thiel's involvement in this case an inauspicious omen for journalism? Does Thiel himself reveal any kind of dislike for the free press? Any predictions for how this case will be impacting the media ecosystem 5-10 years from now?

A:

Fellow Irishman here, and I have probably the most important question of all: Are ya televising the rugby?


Q:

How accurate is Weird Al's Ahmish Paradise?

A:

Ben: Okay, I feel like for me it would be a sweater made out of the cat hair that my cat sheds everywhere.

Amory: That's a thing! That's a thing. People have sweaters and scarves made out of their cat's fur as a way to celebrate their cat.

Ben: Is there a "cat sweater's cat sweaters" subreddit or something?

Amory: There should be, haha.

Ben: If only just to get rid of the hair that already my cat leaves around the house, I feel like that could be the reason for the sweater. But I don’t know, I like tessellations, so like the sort of MC Escher one thing fits perfectly into the other thing and it's just repeated over and over, I feel like that would make a great cat sweater.

Amory: Yea, like a big cat head fractal? I could do like a cat head fractal sweater. Or my dream sweater is the sweater from -- this girl is wearing it in the butcher shop from season 2 of Fargo. People who know Fargo and love sweaters know what I'm talking about. And if the triangles on that sweater could be replaced with little cat heads, sold. I'll show you the sweater sometime.


Q:

yes no company has ever been punished and what the comopany say they wouldnht do the chemical weapon activity is not what they do , they know they are selling chemical weapons and they know that the weapons are killing people - aras and mardin

A:

The central question of this story to me is, who was the bully? Was Thiel the bully or was it Gawker? Was Peter the billionaire who destroyed a millionaire? Or was he a righteous man who attempted to use his money to solve a problem that only power and money could solve? Was it the media outlet that thoughtlessly outed a then-mostly unknown tech investor? Or was it the billionaire who spent millions plotting against him for it? Was it the website who loved to out gay men or was it the team who would back Trump in the 2016 election, and in the case of Charles Harder, write an 11 page letter threatening to sue Michael Wolff for his book about Trump? Was it Denton who never apologized, who ignored judicial orders or was it Thiel, who never showed his face until after his revenge was complete?

It depends on where you sit, but one thing that has been lost in the coverage since the verdict: Gawker thought they were winning until suddenly, they lost. It was Gawker who had filed endless motions and appeals, who had fought Hulk Hogan with scorched earth tactics, and never apologized for obtaining an illegally recorded sextape and publishing it for more than seven million people to gawk at (and then spent $10M+ vigorously insisting it was right to do so). There was a moment in mid-2014, when Gawker’s lawyers threatened Hulk Hogan, telling him that it was his last chance to drop the case before they went after him for attorney’s fees. More than anything, what the jury and the judge reacted to had been their arrogance. The verdict reflected that.

Nick Denton told me, “The idea that Thiel was terrified of the next Gawker piece is still absurd to me—and given how things turned out, we had much more to fear from him than the other way around." But it wasn’t that absurd at the time, when they were a website with hundreds of millions of readers, when Gawker was the site that had never been challenged in court and published whatever it wanted, Thiel believed that Gawker’s power was partly in pretending that it was more powerful than it was. Now that they're gone...it looks different.

As for who is the bully now? As I said, backing Trump and some of the clients Charles Harder has taken on since give me pause...but that doesn't have the power to rewrite where things were in 2007.


Q:

Absolutely not.

A:

That is funny. I actually watch that video quite often. I think it is pretty accurate. Of course, it is silly and the costumes are ridiculous but the overall message is quite real. Many Amish are in competition over who can be the most humble, this leads to a lot of bickering and a lot of discontent.


Q:

how has growing up during your lifetime been? have you been treated differently since you have been marked survivors

A:

Ryan, how did you personally feel about Gawker?

The site elicits are a lot of strong reactions around the web (especially here on Reddit) with people being strongly in favour of the work they did or despising it.

Where do you stand? Do you think it was a particularly vile institution or was it no different than any internet blog/'news' site - just a lot bigger?


Q:

How often do you have to deal with people fighting? Have you ever seen a fight get out of hand?

A:

First off, thanks for doing this AMA!

Did you ever hear or learn to speak "Pennsylvania Dutch" or "Mennonite German"?


Q:

no because our community understands well our problems since the most of the people are victims - Aras i was lost and living away from my own family , i was adopted by another family , i didn't know that i'm adopted until i was 10 years old -Mardin

A:

I started out with very strong opinions (I'd written about Gawker in my first book, Trust Me I'm Lying and also in my Observer column). I'd also been attacked by Gawker several times and the subject of some preposterously inaccurate stories. So I actually went into the book with a bit of a bias, but I found myself considerably softened talking to Nick, talking to A.J, reading what many of the writers wrote in their eulogies of the site. What I tried to do in the book ultimately was remove judgement as much as possible and just show what happened. I think that's a more important lesson.

Whether Gawker deserved what happened to it doesn't change what actually happened and to me that's where there is something to learn. How did Thiel do this? What were his motivations? How did no one suspect it as it was happening? Why was Gawker unable to fend him off? How did Gawker actually work as a company? What were its motivations for publishing the story? Why has the coverage since been so slanted in their favor since losing? Those were the questions I tried to answer.


Q:

I think theres been maybe two fights in the seven years I've been here. Never anything too crazy.

A:

Yes, I am/was fluent in the language. That was my main hurdle when I went to the community. My sister and I were told right from the start that we would have to be fairly fluent in the language before we could be baptized and start dating. Being teenagers our very lives depended on learning the language. If an Amish girl does not have a steady boyfriend by the time she is 20 she is pretty much destined to be an old maid. It took me about 9 months to learn the language. I did it by writing down 20 words a day and had the school aged children teach them to me. The children were amazing tutors and loved feeling important.


Q:

Do these companies produce commonly used household products or are they primarily making industrial products?

A:

What do you make of Gawker's arrogance during the whole thing? I recall the child porn comment. It seemed insane.


Q:

Do you think there's enough barbers on Thomas St now?

A:

What is dating like in the Amish community? Also, how was sexual education brought up and usually at what age? Thanks for this AMA!


Q:

some companies industrial like karl kolb and heberger , some companies for personal products for example TUI used to have sub companies that produce chemical and building materials , today they are the largest tourism country in the world but they have the biggest hand in building and supplying chemical weapon factories , hundreds of German engineers worked at the chemical weapon sites during the conspiracy even a gas chamber was built to test chemical weapons on dogs and donkeys and even allegedly on Iranian POWs , Auchi is one of the biggest real estate owners in England and owns dozens of companies including hotels , the bank in Luxembourg was secretly funded by saddam hussein and held accounts for numerous dictators and terrorists

A:

I would say their hubris was immense, and a large reason for their downfall. Whether they should have run the tape is one discussion, but how I think for many years they did not take the case seriously--assuming that Hogan would settle, that he was an idiot, that people were on Gawker's side. Their decision in 2013 to ignore the judge's order to remove the article (though it was later overturned) was probably the height of that hubris, along with the comments made during the depositions in late 2013, which you referenced. Part of that aggressive exterior may have been motivated by internal insecurity. If you apologize, admit weakness, even admit wrong doing and you're an outlet that publishes first and verifies second, that puts a big target on your back.


Q:

Jesus.

A:

I am from the very strict Amish. In my community, the only sex education that was given was by the mother or older sister on the day before a girls wedding. This I was told because they figured my sister and I were more accustomed to hearing conversations about sex. It is taboo unless you are married. Unmarried people are not even allowed to talk about pregnancies or acknowledge that someone is pregnant. Of course, at a certain age, you start figuring things out but you are not allowed to talk about any of it until you are married.


Q:

I know it's not much, but I'd love to boycott any company that puts profits over people. It's horrendous to think one person didn't matter to them, let alone thousands. Thank you for taking the time to get the information out to the world.

A:

What inspired you to move from marketing into journalism?


Q:

As an owner of a pub in Ireland, do you actually think Irish beers are the best? What is your preference when/if you decide to drink?

A:

[removed]


Q:

yes we should boycott tui immediately, how can we enjoy vacation from a company that helped killing thousands of children

A:

I'm not sure I did. I see myself as an author or a writer, who also has expertise as a marketing and strategist. I don't see myself as a journalist.


Q:

I think theres some great Irish beers. Personally, Belgian beers are my favourite.

A:

When they become teenagers they do. Somehow they know not to talk about it though. If someone does say something they are talked to by the mother or father. In my community, it was common for unmarried girls to avert their eyes so they were not looking at the pregnant lady's belly.


Q:

What is being done for survivor of chemical attacks in recent years? Is there a possibility for those survivors to all come together and make a bigger voice for the world to hear, to testify in front of U.N so that these companies be held fully accountable for the damage they have caused to these people.

A:

What's the weirdest thing you've read in a book by the likes of Seneca or Marcus Aurelius? Those dudes came from different cultures.


Q:

What do you think about the proposals to extend the opening hours for clubs and pubs here in Dublin? Moreso do you think that the early closing hours hinder a lot of our nightlife scene here?

Best of luck today anyway lad, might head up to ya as I have nothing planned!

A:

How often did you use Pennsylvania German vs English? Was there anyone in the community that didn't speak English at all?


Q:

nothing is being done for the survivors , many of us are too sick to travel but we would be happy to come to the un , so all could hear our voices and other who cannot travel could give power of attorney to speak for them

A:

I mean a few pages into Marcus's Meditations he congratulates himself for never laying a hand on his female slaves (that is rape them) so that's a pretty good reminder that these guys lived in a different culture. Rome was a dark, violent, twisted place. We can't forget that while some aspects of their lives were shockingly identical to ours--almost as if no time has passed--others are just insanely incomprehensible. I believe the punishment for parricide in Rome (killing your parents) was they would put you in a thick leather sack with a dog, a cat, a snake and a monkey and then throw you in a river to drown and be clawed to death.


Q:

Our licensing laws are a joke. I think a twelve hour license should be standard with no area having too many bars/clubs that finish at the same time. Also late license applications should be instant, if I'm busy I should be able to press a button on an app to get one instead of going to court to apply for one. It's a disaster here.

A:

Children learn English in school, most finish school at 13 or 14. After school, you are only allowed to speak English when you are talking to an outsider. English is considered worldly. I do not know of any community where they do not learn English, but it is not the main language.


Q:

What is your favorite sandwich?

A:

Hey Ryan, how do you think Gawker's hypocrisy at the time possibly influenced the court case? An example I have is Gawker media sites condemning sites for hosting J-Law nude photos, yet posting on their site that they were defying the judge order to take down Hogan's tape. You researched all the legal docs and did interviews, did that ever come up?


Q:

Thanks for checking in again this year, man. Hope it's a good day!

Should Guinness be served cold or at room temperature?

Also, what drink should I order in Dublin that is better than Guinness?

Cheers!

A:

I am curious, what do the Amish think of jews?


Q:

Cold from the tap. Slightly warmer from a bottle. Try O'Haras Stout and Leann Folainn

A:

So, this is a hard question to answer because the Amish are not well versed on other cultures. I never heard anyone talking about Jews other than in the context of the bible and I do not remember ever seeing any Jews in our area. Sorry I cannot be more helpful in this area.


Q:

From which court are you seeking relief? Will you need sanctions?

A:

Why was Thiel's funding even necessary for Hogan to seek justice? To me, that's an even bigger question.

From what i remember, Gawker refused a takedown order, bragged about doing so, all on a hidden-cam porn of a person taken without their knowledge. What Gawker did was screwed up, no way around it.

So why was a Billionaire needed to fund this?


Q:

Happy St. Patricks day! Still serving that Founders, All Day IPA?

A:

What type of nursing are you interested in?


Q:

first to national court i halabja and then we have a case also in paris and we intend to bring additional cases in london , holland and germany

A:

As Thiel said—and perhaps only Thiel could have said with a straight face—Hogan ‘was only a single digit millionaire.’ This case took roughly four years and cost more than $10 million to litigate. Three years in Hogan lost his endorsement deals and was kicked out of wrestling when his racist comments were leaked. There was no way he could have taken this to a jury on his own. Maybe without Thiel’s help there could have been a low six figure settlement (as Gawker had done in another case) but no jury verdict in my opinion.


Q:

Yep!

A:

I am doing the bachelor's program right now and have a year left. After that, I plan to go on and get my Masters to become a Nurse Practitioner. Right now my favorite fields are ER and Psychiatric.


Q:

What's your opinion on the chemical attack in the UK? Hold any strong values, opinions or beliefs?

A:

Hey Ryan, since Machiavelli said that conspiracies are weapons of the people, why do you think there are so few of them today?

How are you so prolific? What systems/routines had the most impact on your life?

I'm halfway through the book and loving it!


Q:

First-- Good luck! Hope your day goes well!

Second-- What's the worst thing that's happened? How many people do you estimate you get in on this day? How many do you kick out?

Thanks in advance :)

A:

Good luck in whatever you choose!!


Q:

this proofs that everyone of us in danger of chemical weapons and their production must stop in every county.

A:

One of the things I explored in the book was why we seem to have this aversion these days to secrecy. A lot of people have said, "Why didn't Peter go public with what he was doing?" The other way to think about that is why the fuck should he have to? This idea that you have to tweet about every thought you have, or write a press release about every opinion or place is not only a ridiculous feature of our social media age, but it's bad strategy! Gawker wanted Thiel to have to expose himself so they could have been better prepared to fight him in court about it. The line from Napoleon is "Never do what your enemy wants you to do for the reason they want you to do it." If you were plotting to get Trump impeached, should you have to give him a heads up?

The other reason is I think we see few conspiracies is related to the first point. People are afraid to get their hands dirty. They like signing petitions, walking in marches, changing their Facebook profile picture in solidarity...but real change is often brought about by nasty means. Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Acts...but he was a corrupt asshole. He also knew how power worked and how to wield it. Part of the reason I wanted to write the book was to show how conspiracies work, and how they can be used for good and for bad.


Q:

I get asked this a lot. Nothing really bad has ever happened on Paddys day here. 99.9% of the people I'll see are tourists who won't want to spend long in one pub. They will grab one or two beers and head off to the next one. I'd say over the course of the day about ten people will be asked to leave and a bunch more will be denied access.

A:

Thank you!


Q:

Hi and thanks for doing this AMA!

  1. If the Saddam Hussein regime had not been toppled, do you think groups such as ISIS would have still been able to rise to such levels of power as they have today in the region?

  2. In the current conflicts of the Syrian civil war, we can still see chemical weapons attacks being carried out by groups such as ISIS, rebel groups, and the Syrian military. What can we, as everyday people, do to help let the companies that are producing these weapons that they cause mass harm once they fall into the wrong hands?

A:

If you could meet Marcus Aurelius what would you do and what would you ask him?


Q:

Are tourists generally considered annoying? Or are they okay/nice to have around?

A:

what else can we do in order to raise awareness?


Q:

we should protest against companies that sell chemical weapon and not buy their products and we need laws that protect people and allow them to sew the comopanies that harmed them and if we could hold those companies accountable that helped saddam no other company will do it again

A:

"Wait, I thought you died?"


Q:

For the most part they are great to be around. Its interesting to see people's reaction to the city. There's always one or two that are a pain in the arse but generally they are good people.

A:

The best way to raise awareness is to talk about it and write about it on social media. Most change starts with people talking, forming groups and eventually making their voices so loud they cannot be ignored. Hopefully, that will happen one day. I am on the front lines trying to make that happen. For now, talking about it will start pulling back the veil of secrecy. Thank you for caring :)


Q:

I see that at least one of the German companies responsible for this (not sure which) is now in the German Tourism industry?

Why is Germany allowing a known exporter of chemical weapons, in direct contravention of the Geneva Protocol, to still exist and function as a German company? As far as I know, Germany had ratified the Geneva Protocols, right?

What legal or governmental hurdles are preventing Germany from dealing with the organization themselves? Did German Investigators determine there wasn't enough evidence or something?

Thanks for doing this AMA! Chemical weapons, especially mustard gas, are not only horrific, it takes a special kind of soulless monster to sell that gas for use against humans or to deploy it against humans.

A:

Hi Ryan, I'm a huge fan of your work and just finished up Conspiracy last week. I had two questions for you if you'll excuse my greed:

1) What tenet of Stoicism do you find most difficult to practice in your own life?

2) Given that Conspiracy is a departure from your previous works, what unique challenges did you face while writing it?


Q:

What was the most bat-shit crazy thing you ever saw a patron do?

A:

Hey Ms. Griffin, I can't imagine the strength you hold in your soul--its amazing! I am curious about a ton of things, and will be looking into your memoir, but am interested in what kind of PTSD you have experienced and how you've dealt with it? You said before faith is still a big part of it which, to me, is amazing that you've separated the predators from what they claimed to represent. Anyways, what has the mental health aspect of your recovery be like?

Also, as a social worker, what can be done at a societal (however micro the Amish society is) to encourage reporting of these incidents? I feel like that will end up being rhetorical, but is there any angle that's missing?

Thanks in advance!


Q:

the German prosecuted these companies including TUI and found them guilty of illegally selling chemical weapons to saddam , the managers were sentences of between 3 and 12 month in jail but non of them went to jail for even one day , under german law corporations cannot be prosecuted for the crimes of genocide or crimes against humanity , only the managers and as you can see the manager got off with no punishment

A:

The truth is all of Stoicism is easy to say, difficult to practice. I think one of the harder ones for me is just not letting my temper or my impulse to react drive my behavior. To me, the Stoic is someone who is deliberate about what they do and say, just part of my personality is to be intense and always do, do, doing. Someone says something, I want to respond. There's an opportunity, I want to take it. There's something that needs to be fixed, I want to fix it. Someone makes an argument, I want to argue back. The problem there is that I'd be better off if I paused and really thought about the best response or whether a response was necessary or not. I would save myself trouble, heartache, frustration, etc if I could do this better. When I look at my journal entries, I tend to find this issue--or something related to it--is central to most of what I am struggling with or having problems with.


Q:

I've seen some insane shit here. People eating dead lizards, pissing on the floor and a bunch more.

A:

For me, my faith has been my saving grace, literally. As a child, I always believed in God and always felt he had a purpose for me. No matter how bad things got there was always that little spark that kept me going.

As far as PTSD, at one point it was very severe. For about 2 years after I left the Amish I had a recurring nightmare almost every other night. I dreamt that I had not left the Amish, that it had only been a dream and I was still at the bishops house. I would scream and cry and wake up in terror. The nightmare was so real I had a hard time knowing which one was real. I would get up and walk around and touch things until I was convinced that I was in the reality. After about two years they came less often and now maybe only once a month or so. I also would jump and scream at loud noises or when people reached out to touch or hug me. I have gotten better and rarely have these reactions anymore.

As far as what we can do to encourage reporting..... I wish I knew. I think raising awareness is the only way. The Amish know that outside people do not know how the church works. Church members are told not to talk about church matters to outsiders. Only by shedding light on the darkness can we hope to change things.


Q:

Having only read about the effects of gas attacks in history classes, let me first say that both of the people answering are incredible. I am sure that simply reading words on a page and seeing pictures can not truly illustrate what a horrifying weapon it is.

That being said, the people who were in charge of these companies at the time of the attacks are probably close to death themselves now (for example, I see Nadhmi Auchi is now 80 years old). It is likely that the people employed now by them are not the same as those employed 30 years ago. I see from another response that they have shifted to tourism or hospitality industry jobs. The people responsible obviously deserve some kind of punishment but what in your opinion is the correct way to hold the right people responsible before it's too late?

A:

You're not a journalist, yet you wrote in this investigative report in your typical style drawing from history/prior works. Did you ever feel you were stretching to craft a narrative, for example seeing the book on ancient strategy on Theil's desk? Or were their things said in the interviews that lent themselves to the way you crafted the "story?'


Q:

What's your favorite [traditional Irish] meal? Having anything special for the holiday?

A:

10 years in prison for molesting almost 11 children? What a joke.


Q:

we are not seeking revenge or punishment we are just seeking justice those companies should held accountable for what they did and they should compensate injured and people who lost their loved ones and help towns and cities that they destroyed to grow back

A:

It really was insane to see Discourses on Livy on Thiel's shelf in his apartment (not his desk), given that I had just read it as research for the book. And for him to be able to reference the section from memory was just one of those things that made this feel somewhat meant to be. The other funny anecdote is that he gave me a copy of The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World thinking it was this obscure text that would make me realize what he had tried to do...and it happened that I'd already read it a few years before and had recently pulled my notes from it to see where there might be some insights for this book.

As for stretching to craft a narrative, I would say that the weird thing about the book was that there was actually too much material so instead of stretching the difficulty (or the shaping) came more from what not to include. A question above asked about who leaked the tapes, my decision to make this book about a conspiracies meant that the leakers identity was a lot less important, so it was left on the cutting room floor.

Your question is good though. Authors, journalists, lawyers--we're all telling stories and stories require choices and as a result certain things are obscured or emphasized to the reader. But I think this is better than say me dumping all the legal documents on you and saying: You figure it out. I mean, that's what I'm being paid to do.


Q:

I just had some grapes. Does that count?

A:

Yes, we fear he will get out early for good behavior :(


Q:

When do you take notes about a book? While reading it or afterwards? Is that part of your daily journaling activity?

A:

I met quite a few guys from Dublin last night here in Amsterdam. Do a good portion of the locals get outta Dodge for the day?


Q:

What were the best memories from you childhood?

A:

I take notes while I am reading (in the book) and then usually 3-4 weeks after I finish (unless it's urgent), I got back through and transfer the notes to notecards. Here's my process: https://ryanholiday.net/the-notecard-system-the-key-for-remembering-organizing-and-using-everything-you-read/


Q:

Some do. Most hide at home

A:

Unfortunately, remembering my childhood makes me shudder, but, there are a few things that were positive. I think the best memories are being surrounded by the animals on the farm, my sister and I gave each one a name and we loved them all dearly.

Other good memories would be the times when I was able to sneak around and talk to my younger sister. For most of our lives, my sister and I were not allowed to talk to each other. If we were caught talking we were beaten. A lot of the times we had to raise our hands to talk. But sometimes we took chances when we thought my mom and stepdad were not around. I did not really learn to carry a conversation until I was 19 years old.

Probably the absolute most positive memory from my childhood is when I picked up a National Geographic in the late 1980s. I was around 8 years old. My stepdad was getting our car fixed and my sister and I were sitting in the waiting room. I picked up a National Geographic and it fell open to an article about some missionary doctors who were in Africa helping fight the AIDS epidemic. I did not understand what AIDS was at that time but it stayed with me for the rest of my life and it's why I am in nursing school today and why I joined YWAM ( Youth With A Mission) after I left the Amish. My entire childhood I dreamed of traveling to other countries helping sick people. I wish I could find a copy of that National Geographic.


Q:

I know you apprenticed under Robert Greene, who wrote 48 Laws of Power.

It almost feels like this book is a modern case study for 48 Laws; would you agree?

A:

Good luck! 🍀

One thing I love when traveling is you can always be sure to feel welcome in an Irish pub no matter the city. As a real Irish pub owner what in your opinion is required to make an Irish pub authentic?


Q:

Do you think this sort of thing happens with any frequency in other Amish communities? And is the normal reaction to not involve any outside authorities and just resort to shunning? Is there any other procedure abuse victims can resort to? Also thank you for exposing this stuff, as depressing as it is, I think it's better to get it out in the open.

A:

Yes.


Q:

No bells and whistles. Just good staff and good beer.

A:

It is prelevant in most all Amish communities. The more liberal the community the more resources there are for victims but those resources are very limited and usually consist of some form of counseling for the victim and predator. In very rare cases, maybe less than a handful are the police ever called in by someone who is still a member of the church.

I know victims from the very most liberal to the very most strict and the same basic techniques run throughout. The mother usually reports that her husband or brother or someone is molesting her children or teenage daughters. She is told that the ministers will handle it. The predator is brought before the church and shunned for a few weeks. After he is brought back into the church no one is allowed to talk about his crime ever again because he has been forgiven. The predator may be reported 5 - 7 times. Eventually the victim or the mother of the victim will stop saying anything. It usually does not do any good and it often brings shame on the victim.

In my community, the bishops wife and her 7 sisters had been molested by her father. He had been reported to the ministers 5 times by their mother. Then, the bishops wife's mother and her eight sisters had been molested by her father. Almost all of the bishop's wife's 11 children were molested by her husband, the bishop. A heartbreaking tragedy. Approx 24 out of 32 people were molested, 75%.


Q:

This sounds like a good read. When does the movie come out?

A:

Is your favorite color green?


Q:

You spoke about the widespread sexual abuse by men on women in your community. Were there ever instances of men in your community stepping up and "taking things into their own hands?" I would imagine that many husbands/fathers/brothers would be angry to hear that their wives/daughters/sisters were being abused (especially considering the religion would consider them now impure) and would not be satisfied with a mere shunning.

Edit: grammatical errors


Q:

Whatever colour money is.

A:

I have heard of a couple instances where a father did call the police etc. But it is rare and not in my community. In most instances when someone feels this strongly they complain to the ministers and then when they do nothing they take their family and leave the Amish.

Last year an Ex-Amish friend told me that her cousin was leaving the Amish after finding out her 6-year-old twin daughters were molested by an uncle. She and her husband got mad at the ministers when they did not do anything. They picked up their family and left the Amish.


Q:

Ryan - I enjoyed two of your other books (Obstacle and Ego). One piece of constructive criticism I would have is that when you create the audio book, could you consider getting a professional book reader? I don't want to sound like a dick or anything, but the hardest part of the Audiobooks for me was that your voice was kind of... monotone-ish.

Thanks!

A:

How often, if ever, do you partake in drinking with the patrons? You seem like a guy people would want to have a drink with.

Cheers and good luck today!


Q:

How much of the book is true? because memoir.

A:

Look, I wouldn't want to listen to me talk for that long either, but the vast majority of listeners have said they prefer it when I read. So I got with that.


Q:

Every day.

A:

I have changed names, identifying characteristics, and some locations. Many of the worst abuse cases were left out. I concealed some identities to protect the innocent.


Q:

What’s your next book?

A:

How many people will black out at your bar on average St Patrick's day?


Q:

Do you think your experience will make you a different parent than you expected to be?

A:

A secret.


Q:

Very few. Later this evening there will probably be a few people that need to take a walk and get their legs back working

A:

I do not have children yet but I hope to. I think my experience makes me a little terrified of being mean to children and whenever I have babysat or taken care of children in the past I have a very hard time being firm when I should be. When I do become a parent I know this will be one my greatest challenges. I truly hate to see a child's sad face.


Q:

Wait are you the same Ryan Holiday that had that email list thing? I think I'm subscribed lol

A:

Thank you for everything to do! I loved my time visiting Dublin in the summer of 2017, and I hope to get back there soon. On St. Patrick's Day, who are the worst drunks - the locals, or the tourists?


Q:

I've been to a Golden Corral restaurant at 5 different times in my life. Each time, there is at least two to three tables of about 8 to 10 Amish people eating. Every other restaurant I've ever been to in my life, I have never seen an Amish person eating. Why do is this? Also, is it appropriate to engage in conversation with them in public?

A:

I am. That little list started with 50 people and now is about 90,000. It's my favorite thing to do.


Q:

Most Dublin people avoid the city today, we pretty much hand the town over to the tourists.

A:

I am not sure why they were at Golden Corral. Maybe it was near a Greyhound bus stop? A lot of Amish travel to weddings etc. by bus. Amish generally do not eat in sit down restaurants.

I remember outsiders coming up to talk to us. It depends what you want to talk about. A lot of Amish people find the outside world fascinating, even if they would not admit it. The only times we really got annoyed was when people would start pestering us with questions or would try and take our pictures. I remember it made me feel like I was less of a human or unequal to them. I really hated when people would take pictures of me. I would be walking down the road with the children or walking to church with the young people and you could see people taking pictures as they drove by.


Q:

Hi Ryan - been following your great work since 'Trust me - I'm lying' ..

Apple was no fan of Gawker - especially after the whole iPhone 4 leaking affair ..

Do you think they had anything to do with this case? Or were they just cheering from the sidelines (like many others) .. ?

A:

Do they still have Beamish over there? Or is it gone now?


Q:

Do you have any Amish recipes you would share with us?

A:

Well when rumors began to fly that someone was back Hogan, there were a few candidates. I don't know if Apple was one of them, but Denton briefly considered the possibility that the Church of Scientology was responsible.


Q:

It's still around but rare in Dublin

A:

Well, trying to think. I cannot think of particular full recipes at the moment but can tell you things I enjoyed eating and making :)

I really liked the cheese spread we made to put on bread, I liked Jello with cottage cheese on the top, homemade ice cream, homemade pickles, fried chicken, haystack suppers, fried potatoes with tomato gravy and apple pies..there are more things but I cannot think of them at the moment :)


Q:

Too hungover to get up and look out the window lad, did the snow we were threatened with ever materialize? Or was Met Éireann just overreacting?

A:

Wow. This is absolutely incredible. I just wanted to ask, what are your religious beliefs now?


Q:

It was snowing this morning. I doubt it will stick around

A:

Thank you for the question :) I am still a devoted Christian but I am non-denominational. I will never agree to exclusively join any church ever again. I dress normally, I think :)


Q:

How many staff will you have throughout the day? Is it hard to get staff to work the evening shift? Is their a financial incentive for staff to work today?

A:

Do you think it’s possible to have gender equality in an Amish family or is the culture to skewed towards patriarchy for that to be possible?


Q:

We will have about six staff on today, staggered throughout.

A:

I do not think there is a way to have gender equality in a society where the wife is expected to do what she is told. Where unmarried girls are sexually assaulted and then blamed for it. Many sexual assault victims are blamed, they are told they wore their dress too tight, did not cover enough hair with their head coverings or were too friendly. This is why it took me so long to come forward and report the bishop. The only thing that gave me the strength to report him was the fear that he was molesting his children.

A culture where you have to accept the ruling of the bishop and can be shunned if you argue or do not agree to your punishment will never be able to have gender equality or even basic human rights.

This is not to talk bad about the Amish. There are so many Amish who want to change things but they are trapped. If they speak out they could be shunned and could lose everything. The Amish are brainwashed to believe that if they leave the Amish they will go to hell. Many feel helpless and feel they have no choice but to go along with the flow of things.


Q:

I get the idea yours is a rock and roll bar... Will there be any bands playing at your joint tonight?

A:

Thanks for speaking out. The Amish are so romanticized, you never hear about the dark stuff.


Q:

We have a bunch of Irish punk band tonight

A:

There are so many people who do not want to hear the dark stuff. Not many news outlets want to report on it and when it does make the news it seems to get buried :(


Q:

What do you recommend for first time drinkers who came into your bar?

A:

Ten whiskeys.


Q:

I've been out here waiting for a pint for twenty minutes, is there any chance you could put down your phone and grab me 9 pints of guinness and a bag of bacon fries? cheers kid.

A:

Done deal


Q:

I've heard that ordering an Irish car bomb in Ireland would be as offensive as ordering a 9/11 in NYC. I can completely see that logic. Is it an extremely sensitive subject over there, and is it still ordered often?

A:

Depends on the person. It doesn't bother me at all. That shit is delicious.


Q:

What would you do if you found a snake in your bar on this blessed day?

A:

Kiss it


Q:

Are you a bar owner the rest of the year as well?

A:

Hopefully


Q:

How does an actual Irish person celebrate St. Patrick's day?

Here in America, it's just an excuse to get shit faced because you might be 25% Irish because of your ancestors.

A:

We hide at home


Q:

Best accompaniment to a pint of Guinness?

A:

Shot of powers


Q:

What’s the biggest freak out you’ve seen in your bar?

A:

A dude exploded once.


Q:

Is there a sense of pride about people all around the world celebrating Ireland today or is it more just seen as something for the outside world? Irish-American asking

A:

Its hard to explain. It's like we share the city with new comers for a few days and turn up the Irish factor to 100%


Q:

How do you feel when Americans start talking about their Irish ancestors?

A:

I personally enjoy hearing about it


Q:

Do you think that there is an unhealthy attitude to alcohol in Ireland? (Note:am Irish)

A:

Absolutely. But it's related to licensing laws.


Q:

Is there a drink you serve that is most popular on this day?

A:

Whiskey and Guinness


Q:

Love the Thomas House! Have had many’s a good night in there after a Vicar Street gig! Keep up the good work, hope ye have a great Paddy’s :) What time will ye be open til tonight?

A:

Only going til 12.30 tonight


Q:

How many drinks until you cut someone off?

A:

It's different for everyone.


Q:

Do you have any advice for a fellow barman working in Cork today?

A:

Head down. Don't make eye contact.


Q:

Just wanna say I love the Thomas house, from Kildare but anytime I'm in town I make it a mission to head down there for pints. Keep up the great work!

Any famous heads in there regularly? I've seen Dara O'Briain in the area fair regular.

A:

There's a bunch of well known people that drink here but obviously I couldn't name them publicly


Q:

Is it true a lot of folk leave Ireland on Paddy's Day and go over to the UK to get away from all the tourists?

A:

I don't think so. I think a lot of them just stay at home and hide.


Q:

If you could visit any other city in the world on St Patrick's day, where would it be and what would you hope to see or not see?

A:

I've been to Chicago and it was fun. Maybe Philly


Q:

Gar, please, I must know. Was it the Gods of Metal that blessed you with such a facemelting and badass name? Followup question, is your daily driver a dragon?

A:

Odin himself blessed me.