KYAnonymous led the charge against the Steubenville rapists. Then the FBI showed up at his house.
Back then, he and his collegues in the hacker group KnightSec were portrayed as ungovernable vigilantes out to lynch arbitrarily chosen suspects. Now that Steubenville has seen two rapists convicted and their entire town shamed for supporting rape culture, things look a little different.
Adding celebrity luster, former porn star and actress Traci Lords issued a powerful video inspired by the campaign, and explained on Piers Morgan's show that she had been raped in Steubenville as a child, and that to her the culture had not changed for the better in the intervening years. The website for student athletics was spectacularly hacked and defaced by Anonymous in retaliation for the rapes, committed by high school athletes. CNN itself suffered massive blowback when their coverage of the verdict focused more on the blighted futures of the perpetrators than the dead victim.
So what's up with the man at the head of the effort to change Steubenville forever? Not much, if you don't count the house call by the FBI, the decision today to go public with that, and the sudden resultant international media coverage. But it's not as if he's unprepared. He's lawyered up and ready for action; he has not been charged with any crime, but the FBI did take his computer and his Xbox, so he has nothing better to do than to give interviews. He has every reason to believe the feds aren't done with him yet.
He took the unusual step of speaking out about the event in order to take control of the narrative as it plays out. We spoke to KYAnonymous, a.k.a. Deric Lostutter, a.k.a. rapper Shadow, via Skype.
Daily Dot: Thanks for talking to us. Your day must be going pretty crazy.
KY: Everything's pretty crazy so it's hard to respond through social media right now.
One local and about three national media outlets have called me so far: RT.com, I guess Gawker did the article, and then I think Washington Post or somebody? I'm not really sure. They haven't really called me, but they got at me, you know, on Twitter.
DD: How did Gawker find out about it?
KY: I did an interview with Adrian Chen when I was actively in Anonymous and so I trusted him and he came to me before whenever my identity got out [he was doxed] and he was like, "Do you want to come out" and I was like, "Blah blah blah, no, go away." They stayed in touch and eventually I said, "You still want to do that article?" and he's like, "Oh yeah!"
DD: What made you decide to come out about all of this?
KY: Basically I wanted to take control of the media. That way the FBI couldn't, like, push me into being quiet or whatever and they'd control the narrative. I wanted to tell my side of the story and shit.
DD: That's interesting, because one of the side effects of long pre-trial periods is that nobody talks to the media, because they're afraid it'll be used against them. It's kind of breaking new ground in Anonymous for you to be so bold as to talk about it. But you didn't hack anything, did you?
KY: Nah. That's the whole point.
DD: Have they arrested the other fellow, bat, who's credited with the actual hack?
KY: I have no idea. I venture to say no. It seems like they're just trying to make an example out of me at this point. When people think Steubenville, they think KY. Not a lot of them think batcave. And that's exactly what the authorities think too.
DD: So it's just optics?
KY: Yeah. Just a brand name.
DD: But you had more troubles than just this, didn't you? We were going to have an interview and then you went dark.
KY: That's when my identity was leaked out.
DD: Did you get any blowback in real life? Did people start phoning you?
KY: No, they didn't really call me. All the information was wrong except for my name!
DD: You haven't been arrested or anything, you've just been searched. Is that right?
KY: I've been searched and I had an email sent to me saying that they are intent on sending me a target letter, which means they're going to try to indict me in front of the Grand Jury.
DD: It's really bold of you to get out in front of the story at this point.
KY: Thank you.
DD: How did you connect with your lawyer? Did you reach out to him or did he reach out to you?
KY: I connected pretty good with Commander X actually and Commander X's attorney Jay Leiderman, and I knew one day I'd eventually need Jay Leiderman so we kept in pretty good contact and I called him and was like, 'Hey, I need a lawyer." and he said he repped Commander X, I can't represent you." Leiderman referred him to the Whistleblower's Network a team of lawyers who represent people like us and they hooked me up!"
DD: Do you have a court date? Anything?
KY: No, they haven't even sent the target letter and that's what this is all about. To sway the Grand Jury, so they'll be like, "get this out of here, get this thing out of my face, this guy shouldn't be indicted."
Photo via Flickr
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