Sunday, January 19, 2014

Caleb Hannan and Grantland Professionally Handled Dr. V's Story

Caleb Hannan is at the center of a major controversy. 8 months of research lead to an article that was recently published at Grantland. As a Stephen Krol, a man also known as Dr. V committed suicide. As Dr. V, Kroll lived under the name Essay Anne Vanderbuilt and claimed his gender was female. A number of activists felt that Hannan and his editors at Grantland were extremely insensitive in releasing information about Hannan.

Neither Hannan nor his editors were insensitive. When Hannan noticed major discrepancies in Dr. V's claims, he looked further into them. Originally he had wanted to do a story about this amazing new gold putter. But certain things about Dr.V set off red flags. Further research revealed rather unsavory details about her past, her criminal past, and the fact that her ex wives and relatives were all unwilling to speak about her. Most likely what horrified Dr. V the most is that Hannan's investigative journalism revealed things that opened her up for lawsuits and criminal prosecution.

I do understand why some in the transgender or gay community might feel uncomfortable with the prospect of someone digging around in their past. But this isn't a matter of someone exposing a transgender woman to the world. This was a matter of a reporting exposing a con artist, Dr. V, who lied about all aspects of his past. His educational record was fake, his career was fake, his name was fake, and yes, his gender was fake. Hannan would have been unprofessional to write about the criminal past of Dr. V, without revealing Dr. V's birth name of Stephen Krol and Krol's past (Including being married twice, being the father of children, having a brother-in-law who said now the world has one last con man after Krol's suicide, etc.). Perhaps those wishing to hide bad behaviors behind being gay or transgender should not that one cannot hide behind one's sexuality or gender identity.

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