#FakeRape posters call Columbia student ‘pretty little liar’

Twitter account @fakerape is also accusing ‘Mattress Girl’ artist Emma Sulkowicz of lying about her asault

Arts+CultureNews
Pin It
Fake Rape posters Emma Sulkowicz Mattress Girl
Graduating Columbia students walk past one of the #FakeRape postersFake Rape via Flickr

Columbia University graduate Emma Sulkowicz became the face of the feminist fight against campus rape, thanks to a performance piece titled "Carry That Weight". For almost a year, the art student – who has been dubbed "Mattress Girl" in the press – has been dragging around her dorm room mattress to protest her school's handling of her sexual assault. 

Sulkowicz graduated on Tuesday and carried the mattress onstage to receive her degree, to loud cheers and applause. But some anonymous protesters (or protester) aren't happy with the attention that the protest has received. Gothamist reports that large posters accusing Sulkowicz of being a "pretty little liar" along with the words "#fakerape" and "#rapehoax" have gone up on stoplights, construction walls and traffic signs around Columbia and nearby Broadway. They've even been spotted on the walls of a subway station.

Some posters also bizarrely target Lena Dunham, featuring a photo of the Girls director and actor alongside the words "big fat liar" and "Lena Dunham – Oberlin #rapehoax". 

A Twitter account, @fakerape, has also been tweeting images of the posters since Wednesday. It alternates between grandiose calls for justice and "due process", and equally deluded grandiose claims that the poster campaign constitutes "art". 

People have been spotted tearing down the posters, prompting the usual troll reaction of "but what about myyyy freedom of speech?!":

Sulkowicz reported to Columbia that another student, Paul Nungesser, had assaulted and raped her. She said that "Carry That Weight" would continue as long as he remained on campus – whether that meant his expulsion or their graduation day.

Nungesser has denied the allegations and a university inquiry later found him "not responsible", so Sulkowicz went on with the performance until their graduation this week. (Nungesser is now suing Columbia for refusing to protect him from what he describes as a "harassment campaign" from Sulkowicz and her supporters.)

Though the anonymous troll behind the poster campaign claims to be on Nungesser's side, starting your own counter-harassment campaign against somebody is probably the opposite of helpful. (Pro legal tip: it's also the opposite of "due process", unless you consider trolling someone a legitimate form of legislative justice.)

And while the #FakeRape perpetrators says that their ultimate goal is to make a statement about due process and get Columbia to apologise to Nungesser, it's telling that this grandstanding is never a few tweets away from a sexist and/or personal insult about Sulkowicz:

One Columbia senior told Gothamist: "I've seen people saying terrible things in anonymous comments on our school newspaper, but I've never seen such a public, misogynistic act towards [Sulkowicz]. It feels very different from people sitting at their computer screens. This seems a lot more dangerous."

"The school did a terrible job handling this case, and if they had handled the case justly, this wouldn't be happening. I don't think Emma would have had to deal with such public animosity."

We hope the posters get torn down, stat. 

Watch Emma Sulkowicz talk about "Carry That Weight" below:

More Arts+Culture

Like this?
Like Dazed on Facebook