Tom MacMaster, the man behind Gay Girl in Damascus blog, has been accused of creating a new persona to shield him from angry posts.
MacMaster says the anonymous commenter was not another hoax conjured up from his mind but actually the work of a friend who was visiting the American student in Edinburgh.
The comment, which appeared on Middle East news website Mondoweiss, was logged under the name “Miriam Umm Ibni” and vehemently defended the fake blogger.
“MacMaster, misguided though he may have been in his actions, _did_ [sic] highlight real issues … He misguidedly placed himself in the guise of an Arab woman but he did so from real compassion”
“He is (or was) a real ally (though considering how so-called progressives are calling for his blood I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s turning into a rightwinger).”
The comment was later traced back to the ip address 22.214.171.124, the same address that MacMaster wrote ‘A Gay Girl in Damascus’ from.
MacMaster later admitted that ‘Miriam Umm Ibni’ like ‘Amina Arraf” was another fake identity. But shirked responsibility for her, he confessed on Mondoweiss “ [a] friend of mine who would really like to remain nameless” posted the comment in his defence. It came from the same IP address because she had been staying with his wife and him, he added.
“Like many of my friends, many of whom are committed pro-Palestinian, anti-war and anti-colonialist activists, she was outraged by some of the slanders made against me online. And, like many of my friends, she’s been urged by me to defend me. She did so. She’s that kind of person.”