When you see the words “A self-proclaimed male feminist/friend to women took to the Internet today and...” I assume that, like me, you mentally complete the sentence with “was really nice to women.” Unfortunately, that’s not the case with Ben Schoen, a former Harry Potter podcaster and, according to their website, a cofounder-helper person of a site called Feminspire.
He apparenly found himself enamored with a Buzzfeed writer named Grace Spelman, made what look to me like a series of awkward passes, claimed they were jokes, got pissed when she didn’t respond immediately to him, and then went on an absolutely batshit Twitter tantrum today that would make a rabid GamerGater or Hugo Schwyzer look...well, they’d still be assholes, but he’s one, too. Schoen has since made his Twitter private, but you can read a useful recap of the events here. The story ends with a statement from him that...ah, why ruin the surprise? I’ll leave it to you to guess who he has spent his life helping, only to find them ungrateful and dishonest. I think you’ll be surprised.
ETA: I feel that I need to point out that, as the story from the last link indicates, the Feminspire “About Us” page is out-of-date, according to the site’s founder:
“Ben Schoen helped me launch the site in 2012 using his skills and expertise in digital media and built the site from a technical standpoint at a time when I had limited contacts in that space and not a lot of knowledge in regards to the online media landscape,” she said via email.
Payne then shared that she left the site and ended their relationship “due to the toll that the situation was taking on my mental health and I avoid communication with him.”
Update: Via The Mary Sue, Schoen has clarified the whole thing. He’s very sorry for letting her misinterpretation piss him off so much:
I don’t truly believe that Grace ever felt threatened. There is a prevailing sentiment out there that all men are predators and don’t know how to approach women without being creepy. She layered my correspondences with her in such a way as to feed into this sentiment. She’s a very smart woman and she knew exactly what she was doing.
In total I had something like 3-5 correspondences with Grace. I have been receiving death threats, insults saying my mother deserved to be a homeless teen and basically anything else you can think of. I never threatened Grace or came anywhere near doing so. After several cordial interactions with her I made a joke about marrying her in a DRIVE THRU. It was a joke and sure it may have been a lame one, I’ll concede that. After interacting with her very cordially I was shocked when she suddenly disappeared from my Facebook friends list. I was upset so I sent her some angry tweets to let off a little steam. Twitter is a public forum so anyone who says that is harassment needs to stop “harassing” me on my twitter feed.
Okay I hope you’re still with me here. So I sent her some tweets when I was angry. Afterwards I realized I had went too far so I decided to write her an email apologizing. Everyone has tried to twist my apology into being some veiled threat when that simply was not the case. I felt bad for telling Grace her followers were because she had a good looking profile pic so I emailed her to apologize and that’s what landed us here. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.