We here at yr Wonkette are kindly sorts, for all our snark and bluster. We are grown adults with children and grandchildren even for some of us (that is your editrix, who remains spritely), and we take careful aim at bad actors because we have seen enough of the world to know that there is a war being waged in this society and it is very much one of Good and Evil.

The trouble we run into is obvious: Most people are not wholly good or evil. Most people are people, capable of great acts of kindness or of great shame. So we have, we shall say, mixed feelings when we write about a gross rapey pastor that we don’t know from Adam excepting that he’s got a rape scandal and the next day we find out he’s gone and killed himself. (Given that said rapey pastor was also super racist and just all the other associated gross things you’d expect in this year of our Lord 2017, we are struggling to find grace here.)

We are not nice around here to rapey men. We don’t think we should be, and we’re certainly not going to stop doing things like calling people monsters when they have done monstrous things. That said, it is weird as fuck to wake up and find that the seekrit chat cave is taken up with chagrin and worry that we, in the aggregate, might have impacted someone to the point they’d off themselves. Not that we did anything, exactly, only we are aware that just yesterday we ran a post calling a guy part of a “human centipede of sexual assault” and then he killed himself a few hours later.

Now, we doubt that your average GOP state rep who is also a pastor reads Wonkette. (It’s probably all the fuck words, because as we all know on the scale of relative morality one must avoid the fuck words even if one is molesting one’s parishioners, because the Bible tells us to avoid all appearance of evil and that one’s apparently a lot easier to follow than the part about don’t force young girls to have sex!) But we do worry about the landscape, and our part in it.

We told you not long ago that Rape Month would lead to a lot of unintended pain and consequences for people who never did any raping at all. We here at Wonkette send out our deepest condolences to the family of Dan Johnson, a man who, from what we can gather, was not a net good for the world. He was not a man one would be proud to call a husband or son or father. He was a failson, mired in scandal as often as he wasn’t, and that does not mean that his grandchildren won’t miss him, and it is that innocent pain for which we are sorry.

We doubt that any of the people who were negatively impacted by the recently departed read yr Wonkette either, but to you we say: Should you ever need compassion or grace, you will find some here. We are sorry that anything ever happened to you that wasn’t lovely, and we are more sad that it became national news fodder, and our hearts hurt that you have had to even consider that coming forward would lead you into more pain and hell, and we honor your strength in warning the world about someone that you knew from personal experience the world needed protecting from. We are glad your nightmare is at least partially over and we accept that we, as people who write about it, were complicit in both your pain and your brave work, and we don’t know what else to say except that we will buy you a beer or a coffee anytime. Thank you. We as humans are sorry you went through this all.

We wish the recently departed had been the sort of person who would stand with courage to face his accusers and give them closure. We, those of us at yr Wonkette who have ever had someone do things we had told them were off the menu, are heartbroken for this woman who never will see justice but whose name is now inextricably linked to the suicide of her alleged molester. We are angry that we will forever have to say “alleged” about this man.

Instead we are left with questions that will never be answered and a sinking sense that for every triumphant moment of women’s power, there will be a moment like this, when you don’t know what to think.

We didn’t know how to not address this, and we don’t know what to say, excepting that we wish that Dan Johnson had kept his fucking hands to himself so that we would have had no reason to know about him to begin with.

There are no winners here.

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  • Tetman Callis

    Yes. What you said. Yes.

  • Oblios_Cap

    He was a real piece of work.

    That’s about all I can say about him that’s in the spirit of the article.

  • Thank you, KM. In an interconnected world we all bear some, however small, measure of responsibility for the outcome of things and we all suffer, justly or not. There is always good work that can be done and we can always begin again.

    Well done.

    • shivaskeeper

      No. We do not bear any responsibility for this outcome. We did not make him assault her. We did not make her report it. We did not make the local PD close the case. We did not come forward to the press. We did not put the gun to his head. We did none of that. We can bear no guilt, deserved or not, for any of that unless we were directly involved.

      There is no guilt or responsibility that can be assigned in just reading about this.

      • You’re right. There is no guilt that can be assigned in just reading about this. My post had nothing to do with guilt, earned or unearned. As human beings we bear a collective responsibility for events every time we are complacent when injustice or evil is done, we bear responsibility when we enable injustice by minding our own business and not taking action (however one defines “action”, and we bear responsibility when we shrug off others misfortune and suffering as “not my problem”.

        Perhaps my point was not clear.

        • shivaskeeper

          Still. If we don’t know a specific thing is happening and can on no way have known, we cannot bear responsibility for it either.

      • Lascauxcaveman

        I have genuinely mixed feelings about this. I would do thots’n’prairs for the family but that would be hypocritical bullshit on my part, so I’ll just shut up.

        • shivaskeeper

          I’m not saying there can be no sympathy for the family. Far from that. I’m saying we bear o responsibility for his decisions. His family bears no responsibility either, unless they helped cover it up. No one other than him, as of now, bears this responsibility.

  • Roadstergal

    “There are no winners here.”

    Correct. This is the last act of a cheap Shakespearean tragedy.

    • dshwa

      More a trashy romance novel level than Shakespeare.

  • memzilla Ω
    • Roadstergal

      Except that the victim is now deprived of justice. She just has her accusation tied to a suicide, which is an ugly way to live.

      • Dept. of Space Tacos

        this is a fantastic point…I’ve had no opinion on this story up till your comment, but she must be suffering all over again in a whole new way with (undeserved) feelings of guilt.

  • Villago Delenda Est

    Well, if you’re looking for grace, you need to be penitent. This guy was afraid to face the consequences of his actions, so he took the coward’s way out, confirming what we suspected about him all along.

    Barack Obama would disagree with me (he believes grace is a gift from God that is given even when we obviously don’t deserve it) but then again he’s an actual Christian, unlike say Jerry Falwell, Jr. or Franklin Graham or any number of “prosperity gospel” heretics.

    • WIDTAP

      Grace is always given. It just isn’t always received. Like you said, penitence is an important part of receiving forgiveness.

      That said, at this point, only his family and victim can be hurt further, so there really isn’t much point at punching more if it doesn’t lead to resolution and peace for them.

  • William

    Perhaps we as a species are turning a corner. It’s odd, but not surprising that we always seem to learn through tragedy and pain instead of logic and compassion.

  • MynameisBlarney

    I guess I’m a bad person.
    Because I wish he’d killed himself before he started raping in the name of goawd.

    If there’s a Hell, I hope he’s receiving the appropriate punishment.


    Both my sisters were raped and I didn’t find out until years after the fact.
    Had my sisters given in to my demands for their rapists names, I’d have hunted them down and killed them.
    I fuckin hate rapists and molesters with every fiber of my being.
    They deserve the worst possible punishment.

    • Bobathonic

      I see his suicide as a confession of guilt.

      • MynameisBlarney


  • I’m just glad he didn’t kill anyone else, like a lot of these creeps do.

    • Bananas Foster

      I feel like this really could have gone the family annihilator route.

  • dshwa

    Oh no, a box of kittehs. This can’t be good.

    • Baconzgood

      I thought the same thing. I saw them and said “this is something that will be a tough read”

      • Non-Threatening Ron

        Tough but honest.

        • Baconzgood

          Honest is usually pretty tough or pretty great. There’s no middle ground with honest.

          • Shanzgood


          • Baconzgood

            I have my moments.

          • Non-Threatening Ron

            I’ve noticed. Honesty has a way of keeping one up at night, wondering why you did that idiotic thing you did and worrying about its consequences.

    • Msgr_MΩment

      What? Those wordies underneath the kittehs? Are we supposed to actually read them?

    • laineypc

      My thought also! I am worried that through Skinnerian conditioning, the opposite intended effect of supplying cute animal pics is going to develop!

      • dshwa

        I’m pretty much Pavlovian to them. I see kittehs on a post and I immediately say “oh fuck, now what.”

  • Reximus

    Your move, Trumpy

  • The Wanderer

    His character was his fate.

  • Spotts1701, Nothingburger Chef

    There are no winners, it is true. His victim won’t get any closure beyond knowing he won’t do it to anyone else, his family will be left with the stain of his actions and a lifetime of whispers about what really happened, and history will trundle along with yet more unanswered questions.

  • Baconzgood

    As a pastor he knew suicide is a mortal and unforgivable sin in the eyes of God (even more than murder because there is no way to ask for absolution).

    I’m not snarking, I’m not judging, I’m just stating a very important part of Christian dogma.

    • Msgr_MΩment

      Not RC, so not sure if the doctrine of mortal sin translates.

      /Drink the wine and chew the wafer. YMMV.

      • Baconzgood

        Oh no Roman Catholics only get dispensation for suicide if it was proved that the person was “severely mentally disturbed”. And even they have a more elaborate hearing than they do for an annulment.

        I know about this. Suicide is the only sin that CAN NEVER be forgiven.

        • Oblios_Cap

          Since every sperm is sacred, I figured it would be Onanism…

        • PubOption

          From growing up in the England, I remember that Catholic churches there wouldn’t hold funerals for, or bury, suicides. Some other doctrines would bury suicides, but would turn the graves 90 degrees to the others.

          • Dept. of Space Tacos

            alright, I’m a filthy radical atheist with little, if any, respect for most religion and its dogma, so what the ever loving fuck is turning the grave 90 degrees supposed to do (other than differentiate the person who killed themselves with the accidental or purposeful effect of shaming them and their families?)

          • Shanzgood

            Yeah, I wondered as well.

          • Oblios_Cap

            I think you answered your own question.

          • Dept. of Space Tacos

            but it’s not some of technicality of the bible or god or whatever?

          • Oblios_Cap

            I’ve never read anything like that in the bible. I’m sure it was some religious figurehead’s idea.

          • PubOption

            Exactly the point, I think.

          • Bigby

            I think there is also the charmingly naive “when Jeebus comes back, aaaaaany minute now, he and All of the Rest of Us will be able to differentiate Suicide McKilledselfington from the Rest of Us resting here waiting for Jeebus, cuz Jeebus needs us mortals to tell Him who committed suicide. And, like, if Jeebus doesn’t come back for centuries how will we all know who to SHUN IN HEAVEN (whaaaa?), if we didn’t perpendicularize their sinful arses?”.

          • Dept. of Space Tacos

            if the jesus of the new testament came back and start his old activities, he’d end up on a street corner with conservatives bitching about how he needs to get a job.

          • Historicat

            Christianity 2.0 will have a syringe as a holy symbol instead of a cross after he’s executed by the state.

          • ahughes798

            I think he’d be thrown in a mental institution(prison.)

          • Natalie Au Natural Hedonist
      • Villago Delenda Est

        To a lot of these “Christians”, Roman Catholics don’t count as Christians.

        So anything from RC doctrine/dogma is rejected because Papist.

        • Oblios_Cap

          Devil Cookies all around!

    • Oblios_Cap

      Well, to be honest ,he wasn’t really much of a preacher. More of a con artist.

      • MynameisBlarney

        And the difference is?

        • Oblios_Cap

          Some preachers actually believe the stuff they say.

          • sincarne

            And spend their lives living in near poverty to serve people with compassion.

          • Baconzgood

            Like Pope Frank

          • Natalie Au Natural Hedonist

            I’m not catholic, hell, I don’t believe in organized religion, but Pope Francis is the real deal.

          • MynameisBlarney

            That doesn’t really help their case, lol.

        • Msgr_MΩment

          This Preachers’ Kid was trying very hard not to go there. Thank you.

        • Non-Threatening Ron

          There are men of religion who want to better their fellow humans. They tend to be the ones you don’t hear about until there’s a great tragedy.

  • Non-Threatening Ron

    That is the great tragedy of life, that sometimes there ARE no winners.

    But I don’t think anyone who has commented upon this story, here or elsewhere, are in any way complicit. Mr Johnson made his decision and took the coward’s way out, and blamed everyone but himself for the scrutiny he was under. There was no thought for his (alleged) victims, none for his family. No, there are no winners, but he CHOSE to be the worst loser of all, and bring everyone else down with him.

    I wonder how many more men will take this path.

  • Reximus

    His suicide note mentioned Fake News…way to go Drumpf you fucking cancer

    • J. M. Tusks, Esq.

      Wasn’t fake enough to fight.

  • onedollarjuana

    I would rather that he spend his final years in prison reflecting on the error of his ways. It’s a shame that his family now has a tragic memory of his sudden end instead of having time to accept the entirety of his transgressions and mental struggles, and making peace within themselves.

  • Daniel Hooper

    There’s a lot of mixed emotions about this, all right. He denied it, but then the next day he commits suicide apparently over it. He claims the accusations are false, but you wouldn’t think a single false accusation would be enough to make them think suicide is the only way out. Maybe he was afraid of more accusations coming, but(at the moment, at least), we just don’t know. Maybe he just decided he enjoyed the power, but often people who rape are victims of rape themselves…

    It’s a mess, and there’s no easy answers. All I can say is that you, Linda, had damn well better not feel responsible for his actions. Whatever his situation, he made the choice himself. I doubt a single article on a website he probably didn’t even read was enough to push him over the edge, but he was obviously in a bad place, and suicide is rarely a snap decision in the first place. We’ll have to wait to see what the investigation comes up with, but I’ll be shocked if a good investigation doesn’t reveal he’s been planning this for a while.

    • ginmar

      It’s a myth that rapists were rape victims themselves.

    • dshwa

      You never really know what will be the final straw for someone with a hidden severe depression. Not that I’m saying this was definitely the case for him. Just that his suicide isn’t necessarily proof of guilt.

      • Daniel Hooper

        Well, that’s why I said it’s a mess and we really don’t know a lot for sure, and now it’s going to be harder to find the truth. I would still say it’s a safe bet that, at minimum, he was disturbed or troubled in some way and had been for a while.

  • bubbuhh

    Pastor and Kentucky State Representative McFuckfinger dint kill hisself cuz anyone wrote bad thingz about him. He killed hizzelf cuz memberz uv hiz congregation finally realized what a hypocritical pervert he wuz. Also, cuz hiz being spineless and a drunk.

  • Crystalclear12

    Maybe I’m a cynic but considering his remarks about people looking at his whole life he thought he was leaving before the worst was uncovered?

    • shivaskeeper

      He was also apparently a 9/11 grifter and built part of his career on that. His PTSD and heroic exploits at ground zero were being questioned closely as well.

      • janecita

        According to the investigation, they were all lies.

        • shivaskeeper


    • Oblios_Cap

      You suck one cock…

  • Oblios_Cap

    The kittehs are in a Friskies box. I hope it’s Friskies Cat Food…

  • Kneeling Bozilingus

    Maybe the Louisville PD should take responsibility for their failure to investigate the crime.

  • House0fTheBlueLights

    I expressed the tragedy of this situation in response to a Facebook post this morning, from a friend who went over the top, I thought, expressing joy in this death. He relented, but others on the thread came down so hard on me, for trying to articulate that there are no winners here, that I almost deleted all my comments.

    I have posted this article there instead.

  • BadKitty904

    Amen, KM. Amen.

  • (((Sedagive)))

    The man was clearly deranged, and in all probability a sexual predator. Reporting on deranged sexual predators is always the right thing to do. It is often the thing that stops them from continuing to hurt people.

    There are no winners, but there is also no burden of guilt in good-faith reporting on people who are a threat to themselves and to others.

    • TundraGrifter

      The winners are all the people who won’t be hurt in the future.

      • (((Sedagive)))

        Well what do you know; there are winners after all.

  • House0fTheBlueLights

    @killermartinis, @commiegirl can you post something about the Rules? Especially for those of us who are suicide survivors, there are really really upsetting comments below.

    • MynameisBlarney

      If it’s my post, I’m sorry. I’ll remove it.
      I just have a strong loathing of rapists.

      • TundraGrifter

        Years ago I read some very good advice. Speaking of the passing of a rather despicable human being, the gentleman said “When the Good Lord puts his hand on a man’s shoulder I take mine off.”

        • MynameisBlarney

          I’m an atheist.
          Such advice means little to me.
          But…I’m backing off. I’ll post on the Roy Moore thread.

          • Shanzgood

            I’m an atheist, too, but I still think it’s good advice.

          • TundraGrifter

            It’s the thought that counts. You don’t need to believe in an invisible sky god (or God).

    • KillerMartinis

      on it.

      • House0fTheBlueLights

        Thank you.

  • Persistent Tennessee Rain

    This is one time that I’m glad comments are not allowed.

  • Shanzgood

    Thanks, Linda. The comments about this in yesterday’s open thread made me leave for the day. I hope we don’t get the same again here.

    • Dept. of Space Tacos

      uhhhh, don’t scroll down.

      • Shanzgood

        That’s nothing compared to yesterday. I was appalled.

        • FlemmishSpy

          I concur. Tribalism over humanism is what we’re supposed to be against.

          • Dept. of Space Tacos

            i genuinely don’t think it’s tribalism, this time, i think it’s disgust at rapey creeps.

          • Resistor Radio

            Yes, but when we dehumanize people, it opens the door for all kinds of heinous behavior. (Just a though, I didn’t see any of yesterday’s OT comments, and I’m not gonna go look)

          • Shanzgood

            We don’t, as a site, allow prison rape references even about rapey creeps like Brock Turner. I think the same should apply here with regard to suicide or other harm.

          • Dept. of Space Tacos

            i don’t either – I’m saying I don’t think the comments stem from the fact that he was a republican, but rather from what he is accused of doing.

          • Shanzgood

            I know.

    • Resistor Radio

      I’m glad I missed those.

  • Caepan

    My sympathies to his family. No sympathy for guys who cosplay fundamentalist Christianity while violating the commandments “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” or “Thou shalt not use the Lord’s name in vain.”

    Plus his God it very strict about suicide, and protecting the children. So when he meets his maker, it will be short and unpleasant.

    And my deepest sympathy to his victim(s), who will never get the opportunity to confront him in a court of law. It’s not your fault that he was a rapey hypocrite who took the chickenshit way out.

    • ahughes798

      For someone so concerned about protecting children, God sure killed off a lot of them in the bible.

  • proudgrampa

    Thank you. These words needed to be said.

  • Resistor Radio

    Thank you, killermartinis, this was really well said.

    I sincerely hope this young woman is not attacked and trolled as a murderess by sociopathic flying monkeys with an agenda. It’s insane that such a cruel phenomenon is even possible, much less likely, but I wish her nothing but peace and the opportunity to live her life free from intimidation.

    • MynameisBlarney

      I didn’t even think about that.

      • Resistor Radio

        These days, it’s the first thing I worry about.

      • shivaskeeper

        Read his FB post/suicide note. He explicitly calls for her not to be blamed because among other things this was all Satan’s doing, but she is going to be blamed for it. His supporters are going to blame her. Unconnected MRA’s are going to blame her. Some of his family is going to blame her. If she had just kept her mouth shut, none of this would have happened.

        She will likely blame herself to one degree or another. Self guilt and blame is bad and can cripple you. It’s some of the worst guilt you can experience. But it is as nothing compared to entire communities lining up to blame you as well.

        • Dept. of Space Tacos

          well put, as always

        • aureolaborealis

          He explicitly calls for her not to be blamed because among other things this was all Satan’s doing …

          If I was offing myself because someone was making up horrific, untrue stories about me and sharing them with the national press, the fake accuser would be at the top of my shit list. This smacks of an admission of guilt to me.

          • shivaskeeper

            Probably an admission of guilt. Despite what he said about blaming the victim, he knew she is going to catch all the shit from this too.

        • Persistent Tennessee Rain

          She is definitely not to blame. She accused him days after it happened and he didn’t kill himself. He did this after that article came out outlining each and every one of his fraudulent claims and criminal actions. The sexual assault accusation was the worst of what was alleged, but it wasn’t all of it. It was the exposure to the public humiliation he was about to be subjected to that he couldn’t handle.

          • shivaskeeper

            I know. She’s still going to catch he’ll for this though.

    • Spotts1701, Nothingburger Chef

      I hope that too, but I wouldn’t bet long on that.

      • Resistor Radio

        I know :(
        I hope she’s got a strong support system. That former Sec State is already trying to make hay of this, which is fucking terrible. And he’s a professional person who (once) had a good job…what are the basement dwelling 4channers with nothing but time in their hands gonna do?

        • Natalie Au Natural Hedonist

          Hell, his own wife is making hay saying she’s going to continue his work and run for his seat and the body isn’t even cold. What a bunch of grifters.

    • rosenbomb

      Given our extensive history of blaming women for the actions of men, I’m sure she will see some of that. But I hope she is insulated from it by loved ones.

      • ahughes798

        In the account I read, she comes across as a fighter and very strong woman. She has the full support of her mother, and other family members. I think she will be okay, which is very heartening in these heartless times.

        • Resistor Radio

          That is heartening to hear.

  • janecita

    According to himself, he was able to raise the dead. I’m still expecting him to come back in three days.

    • A Groucho Marxist

      Honestly, I might be able to overlook an allegation or two for that. For a bit, anyway.

    • Oblios_Cap

      Oh, snap!

  • schmannity

    I am sorry for his family. If you want to screw up a family, suicide is a sure-fire method (my father-in-law used his WWII service revolver). Statistically, there is a 75% incidence of a suicide in the next generation. I am sorry that he thought suicide was his only solution. I am happy that none of his (known) victims came to the same conclusion.

    • Iron Monkey

      Suicide resonates for generations in any family.

    • Doug Langley

      The story may be fictional, but the film got it spot on:

      One of the all time great flicks.

    • ahughes798

      My uncle’s father committed suicide. My uncle found him swinging in the barn. My uncle was 8 at the time, and I cannot imagine what that did to him, mentally. He became a heavy drinker, but he is still alive and 104 years old. His son, my cousin Jim, went to Viet Nam. After he got out of the service, he got married to a policewoman, and they were happily married until she killed herself in front of him. Because of the trauma caused by Viet Nam, and the death of his wife, he committed suicide very slowly by drinking himself to death. He was a good man. He was my favorite cousin. He sure as hell wasn’t a coward.

      I really hate that “coward’s way out” bullshit.

  • JustPixelz (((Ω)))

    A man who demeaned and humiliated (allegedly) a teenager who cannot withstand to be demeaned and humiliated. There is a certain poetic justice in that.

    For a while during the Dubya years, I carried nitroglycerin tablets for my terrible heart. I hated Dubya. But I also realized that if he was having a heart attack and needed my pills, I’d give them to him. But with Trump, I’m honestly torn on this question. I’m certain he wants to take all my pills away, and he would not give me such a pill if I were ill. Does he deserve to saved? Damn me (literally), my answer is no.

    • TundraGrifter

      I won’t piss on Trump if he were on fire. With votes, of course.

      • Jennaratrix

        I might, but since I’m a girl and aiming is somewhat problematic, it probably wouldn’t help much. I don’t know where that leaves me on the moral compass, but there it is.

        • Historicat

          I understand there are some Russians who can offer advice on technique.

          • Jennaratrix

            Video or it didn’t happen.

    • rosenbomb

      This resonates with me so much; this year has been an exercise in testing my own moral compass. Then I feel guilty for having terrible thoughts about certain members of the GOP who are responsible for harming the poor, breaking up families, and ruining our beautiful country. Ungh.

    • Maggielle

      I’d try to save him. I’d be really pissed about it, but I’d do it. If it were a situation of me being able to get people off a sinking boat, I might not get to him first, but if it turned out that I could help him without dying myself, I’d help him.

  • Joe Beese

    Meanwhile Jake Tapper is tweeting little stories about the Sandy Hook victims.

    Not enough cats in the world to handle that one.

  • MississippiLefty

    “…moments like this, when you don’t know what to think…”

    I feel, as you do, that this turn of events is sad for a lot of reasons, but I’m pretty clear on what to think here. “Coward’s way out,” which I’ve seen in a lot of comments is not it (and it’s not cool, by the way). I think there are too damn many guns making it too easy for people in a bad place to act on an impulse. I think the police should have done their job in the first place to bring this case to its proper closure. I think that, failing that, we need to shine a light on serious accusations. I think that we owe sensitivity to one another in discussing this.

  • Debbie the Unpaid Protester

    You are doing the right thing by shining lights on the horrible behaviors committed by rapists and molesters.
    It is NOT your fault how the accused react to accusations, but you are a good person for feeling some pain for their families, and for being aware of (and discussing in a public forum) shades of grey.
    These are all conversations we need to keep having.

  • TundraGrifter

    I think we’re all going to be winners in this – because the world is rapidly becoming a better place. Things will not return to the sorry state they were in before. No one (man or woman) is free until everyone is free. The legacy of the Trump Administration, so far, is a national conversation about women and the right to be free from sexual harassment and assault and dignity and self-worth and just going to the damn job and getting it done and not having to deal with power BS that hurts, in the end, everyone.

    This is the Civil Rights Movement of our time. Are things perfect? Of course not. And they never will be. But December 2017 is a far better place than January 2017. And January 2018 is going to be even better – because we will make it so.

  • MsEdgyNation

    Dear Wonkette,

    It’s not your fault that kid toucher didn’t have the guts to be held accountable for his actions.

    That said, he probably did a lot worse we haven’t heard about yet. Considering the realistic chances of him being imprisoned for fingerbanging an unwilling teenager were slim to none, I’m betting he shot himself hoping to prevent further investigation.

    Goodness knows what other skeletons are in his closet. I feel sorry for his victim(s?) and his family.

    • Iron Monkey

      Right on. There is almost no chance that there aren’t more assaults in addition to the on for which he was accused.

  • Me not sure

    The act of suicide coupled with such seemingly self-contradictory behavior as he was involved in points toward a deeper pathology that we will probably never be able to gain an understanding of. We are such a sexually repressed society that we see many people unable to function in healthy and positive ways in their lives. Sexual matters need not be pursued in the destructive ways that social repression leads to.

  • x111e7thst

    I dont have a lot of mixed emotions about this beyond some regret that the accuser is denied whatever closure she might have gotten from confronting her (alleged) rapist directly.

    • Bobo the Dork Boy

      And she’ll probably be blamed for it by the H00ting Bab00ns of teh Internets.

  • Cousin Itt un Mondialiste

    Back in college, I lost a friend when she pulled the trigger while leaning against a tree in a public park. Not a criminal or addict or asshole or anything like that. Just an ordinary, brilliant young woman with talent and wit.

    That’s all I got.

  • dshwa

    I take no joy in anyones death. No man or woman, no matter the act, is beyond the ability to seek atonement and growth in this world, nor without anyone who has never seen their darkness and knows only a good side to them. (Like their children, for example).

    • Oblios_Cap

      I used to think that nobody was irredeemable, but as I’ve gone through life I’m not so sure of that anymore.

      • dshwa

        I don’t believe it’s impossible for anyone. But having done some of the heavy lifting required to change in therapy, I get why so many people don’t. It’s fucking hard, and it hurts, even to just move slightly. You gotta really want it.

      • Shanzgood

        I still believe they are. That’s one of the reasons I’m so against the death penalty.

        • Oblios_Cap

          I am against the death penalty because being locked up for long periods is a much worse punishment. That, and nothing teaches us that killing is wrong like the State killing us for doing it does.

  • wide_stance_hubby


  • Dept. of Space Tacos

    new post is up – if any person feels like abandoning this thread. (call me weak, but I do).

    • Raan

      I am hot on your heels.

      • Dept. of Space Tacos

        i heard about the pups…i’m very sorry for you. That’s awful.

  • kilgoretrout

    I lack the ability to make a worthwhile comment about this. I just wanted to say I appreciate the wonkette post and the better angel non-commenters here.

    • Villago Delenda Est

      Oh, you can do it if you try!

  • Gorillionaire

    Good to see this here. Thank you.

  • Debbie the Unpaid Protester

    It is making me a little verklempt, reading through the thoughtful, respectful and loving responses [by a nasty vile little snark mob] to a thoughtful article.
    I feel very lucky to have stumbled upon this forum a few years ago, and I always, always learn things from you all.

    • chortlingdingo

      Yes, this. This is one of the best non-commenting communities that I’ve had the pleasure to be a part of, and I only wish that I had started participating earlier instead of lurking for so long.

  • ahughes798

    People seem to have forgotten “Innocent until proven guilty.” Trial by public opinion is the way we do things now, I guess. I’m very sad for this man’s family. They loved him.

    I read a really long investigative journalism piece about him and his shenanigans last night, and he was NOT a good man, in any way. Not only was he an alleged child molester, he was a convicted of arson when he was younger, was suspected of burning down his old church building so he could build a new one, skimmed so much money from his church that it went bankrupt, called himself “the Bishop” or “the Pope,” his church was busted 3 times for selling liquor w/o a license, he gave liquor to minors, etc., etc.

    He apparently had so much pull with the local Sheriffs that the child molestation accusations were never properly investigated, or just ignored . The victim and her mother wanted him prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and nothing happened.

    We really need to get rid of the statute of limitations on rape and sexual assault cases.

    • shivaskeeper

      You forgot 9/11 grifter in his parade of badness.

      But here’s the thing. He was not tired in the court of public opinion, let alone n court for this. He committed suicide instead. I can and do feel nothing for him. I do feel for his family. I do feel for his victim. I would have rather he faced his day in court, not for him, but for his victim, but he had other ideas about that.

      Also there is no statute of limitations for felonies in KY. This was a felony and could have still been prosecuted.

      • Dept. of Space Tacos

        ” He was not tired in the court of public opinion, let alone n court for this. He committed suicide instead. ”

        Ayup, he was innocent until proven guilty and could have pursued his innocence in the system, but didn’t.

        • LeighBowery’sLuxuryComedy

          Which to me says he had a pretty good suspicion that airing it all out in court would not do him any favors.

      • ahughes798

        I feel nothing but disgust for him. Molesting a child is bad enough…but making hay off the deaths of 3K people is lower than low. I feel bad for his family. And the Sheriff’s dept. needs to be investigated by the feds, because the incredibly strong young woman he molested was eager to testify against him. The cops did nothing.

    • Katamount

      What we need to rid ourselves of, collectively, is rape myths. The ones that make women afraid to actually come forward. The ones that always come to bear on a woman who has to challenge somebody more powerful than her.

      Like I said when the Jian Ghomeshi case resulted in acquittal due to said rape myths: trials in the court of public opinion shouldn’t happen. But if the justice system is going to continually fail us, it’s the only collective power the masses have to hold somebody powerful accountable for documented actions. I’m not dismissing the danger of hearsay, but when it comes to the open secrets that people like Ghomeshi represent, they need to face some social pushback for operating the way they do.

      • kareemachan

        Agreed. Gian seems to have been a douchebag of the first water, and I was surprised he was acquitted (we’re far enough north to get CBC).

        • Katamount

          It’s not like the guy was shy about it. Hell, he wrote a book about how much he liked “rough sex” and damn near everyone in the Canadian showbiz industry has a “Jian Ghomeshi is an asshole” story.

  • Skwerl the Taco Hunter

    Now, we doubt that your average GOP state rep who is also a pastor reads Wonkette.

    You are probably correct. They are into the alt-gay sites.

  • wide_stance_hubby

    There is a place between mourning the man’s death and celebrating it, and that’s where you will find me.

    • wavicles

      “They say you shouldn’t say nothin’ about the dead unless it’s good. He’s dead. Good!”
      Moms Mabley

    • aureolaborealis

      How about mourning the loss his loved ones are experiencing while celebrating the fact that there is one less rapey piece of shit walking the Earth today? That’s kind of where I am. Or maybe that’s what you’re saying.

  • Angela Ruzzo

    Dear killermartinis: Your article reminded me of a Catholic prayer called the “Act of Contrition” that every Catholic had to say to the priest in the confessional every time they went to Confession, which we had to do every single Saturday evening when I was growing up 50 years ago. Memorizing this prayer is one of the less pleasant memories for every Catholic child of my generation, because the nuns told us it was a sin to get a single word wrong. Anyway, the last sentence is the part that stuck with me ever since: “I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin.

    Avoid the near occasions of sin. That means if you know you are tempted to sin by engaging in a certain behavior, then you should avoid all situations in which you might be exposed to this temptation. I personally have the bad habit of becoming unattractively competitive while participating in card games or board games, and so I have avoided card games and board games for 40 years. This is MY CHOICE. I CHOOSE to avoid situations that reveal a side of my character that I don’t like.

    Dan Johnson apparently never heard about avoiding the near occasion of sin. If he had a weakness for raping young women, then he should never have hosted a party at his house and invited young women. He had a CHOICE. He chose temptation.

    He also had a CHOICE to fess up and ask for forgiveness and mercy from the young woman whose life was negatively affected by his actions, and he CHOSE not to do that. He CHOSE to deny justice to another human being.

    It was his moral and ethical weakness in not being able to avoid the near occasions of sin, and his moral and ethical weakness in not confessing those sins when he was found out, and his moral and ethical weakness in not being able to face the consequences of those sins, that led him to take his life.

    • kareemachan

      Well said.

    • LucindathePook

      Yeah, I learned it as “confess my sins, do penance, and AMEND MY LIFE, Amen,” meaning to change it, fix it, stop doing it already. Also make up for any harm caused as much as possible.

      • Angela Ruzzo

        I did hear that the prayer had been changed to end with “amend my life” which is almost the same thing as “avoid the near occasion of sin”, but not quite. “Amend my life” is actually a stronger statement and implies that one can take direct action to change one’s behavior (such as joining AA if one is an alcoholic), rather than just keeping away from people and places where one would be tempted to sin (such as never going to places where alcohol is served and hoping that will do the trick).

    • Cornelius Fussbudget

      Yeah, it sounds like he went the other way and set up his whole life around setting up situations where he was able to sin. Which a Catholic would say is a sin in itself, since planning to commit a sin is its own separate sin. A life of sin, you might say in his case.

      • Angela Ruzzo

        Very true. And if he helped anyone else to sin then he is an Accessory to Sin, and if he involved anyone else in his sinning then they committed a Conspiracy to Sin. The nuns explained all this to us when I was 7, long before it made much sense to me. In those days my primary sins were thinking bad thoughts about my brother and refusing to eat lima beans.

  • Raan

    My family, as far as I know, has never felt this cruelest of barbs, rape. To the best of my knowledge, everyone’s relationships have been happy and healthy ones.

    I despise rapists, to the point that it once got me excused from jury duty.

    And yet, I take no pleasure in this. A man, a father and husband, has torn himself out of the lives of his family. An alleged rapist has left this world, but this was not a just end for what looks increasingly like an unjust man.

    And, loath as I am to say it, any unjust death deserves to be mourned, not celebrated. Not for the man himself, but for the people he leaves behind.

  • Mr. Blobfish

    He had a lot of enablers along the way.

  • schmannity

    Roy Moore will be able to spend more time with your family.

  • OrdinaryJoe

    You reported a news story. Did it with the snark that is typical here, not more not less. Others also reported the story in a manner that was fitting to their publications style. Many others. The lede was really not that he was accused of molesting a minor. I suspect the major point of the news most impactful on the people involved was that the police investigation, which had been closed, was being re-opened. He will now answer to a higher authority. The authorities here must be held accountable for the apparent cover up of the original investigation. Of course we feel compassion for those whose lives have been torn by these events but the role of the press remains to answer the who, what, where and when.

  • Alienist

    Dealing with people like this man is very difficult — the kind of difficult that our society often does not want to commit to. If we want people like him (and many others who do all kinds of shameful acts) to be able to be honest with us and take responsibility for what they do, we need to make our society one in which the price of coming clean is not too great. Too often, our society hears of bad acts and devalues the actor completely. It is too easy to hear of thoughtless or malicious acts and then assume that the person who did them is utterly without any positive traits. Because of this, we hide our failures, weaknesses, and evil deeds. We hide them behind false selves and facades of righteousness. And when they are ultimately exposed, the damage is magnified.

    It is hard to find and keep in mind the good in people who do very bad things. The temptation is to either ignore the good and vilify our enemy or ignore the bad and blindly laud our friend. The hard part is to see both sides and to avoid both excesses in punishment and shame and excesses in naïve and forgetful forgiveness. If we can do these things (which I am not sure modern America is up to), then we can make a society that promotes honesty and taking responsibility. If not, people will get more skilled at hiding evil deeds and more aggressive (against themselves and others) in defending themselves.

    • kareemachan

      So… where is the good in him? I’m asking an honest question here. I do not see much good in this person who was unchristian-like in so many different ways.

      • Alienist

        I don’t know much about him, but I assume that those that knew him well could mention good qualities about him. I’m sure that there were people who he loved and respected, even if he did not respect all the people he should. I’m sure that there were people he helped, even if there were others he hurt. I have yet to find anyone who is utterly without positive qualities, though I have met very few for which the search was long, tedious, and ultimately yielded scant reward. I would still urge thoughtful people to resist the urge for dichotomous thinking about the value to people.

  • Dept. of Space Tacos

    angela mentioned below a catholic prayer – as noted, I am a radical atheist, but most of the serenity prayer has been quite helpful in my life.

    I suggest it for the accuser, the wonkette staff, and anyone else undeservedly feeling guilty this morning.

  • Katamount

    This incident coming so soon on the heels of adult actress August Ames’ suicide has crystallized something in my mind as far as responding to harsh accusations, be they accusations of homophobia, racism or something even worse as is the case of this pastor.

    We’ve heard the expression “It’s not the crime, it’s the coverup.” Similarly, when it comes to accusations, it’s never the crime, it’s the response. Owning a wrongdoing diffuses the critique, and this need to appear invulnerable only ends up hurting the accused. Getting immediately defensive only makes you look guilty and there are ways of diffusing something taken out of context (such as showing said context).

    The response is always more telling than the accusation. So we should all consider our responses very carefully.

  • Lance Thrustwell

    Hey, that was pretty beautiful, Killermartinis. I would say ‘kudos’, but I hate that word for some reason. So, hats off to a to a sincere and thoughtful piece (and writer).

  • Jan_in_the_pan

    Oh man, full box of kittens.

    • Ruth Serafini

      Truth. A post by KM that is headed by a box of kittens is going to be a hard read. A good read. But a hard one.

      • KillerMartinis

        I love that my work is on a kitten-ranking scale

        it’s cool guys, it’s a two-kitten day

  • Hesavebread!

    There are winners here: every woman who won’t now come within arms reach of him and every woman who won’t instinctively trust a man just because he’s an authority figure.

  • valgalky23

    Very lovely response to this story and complex situation. Well done!

  • LeighBowery’sLuxuryComedy

    Thank you for this. My first thought on seeing initial reports last night was holy shazzbot, that’s the dude I just read about on Wonkette! Followed immediately by, nothing says I’m Totally Innocent like sucking a shotgun the minute you get accused :-/ But still. This is a harsh time of year to lose people, and particularly in a way that many people of faith still consider a sin. My heart does go out to those around him who ARE innocent in this.. but I can’t help but wonder if there weren’t a lot more squirming skeevy gross little critters under that particular rug that he suspected were about to see full sunlight.

    • Persistent Tennessee Rain

      It seems his world was about to come crashing down on him.

      • LeighBowery’sLuxuryComedy

        Ugh I can’t even read that all. Sounds like some serious mental problems – he probably put the gun to whatever part of his body took him out in the firm belief that he was being persecuted for his ‘faith’.

        • Persistent Tennessee Rain

          I dunno, but I grew up in the church and weekend booze parties were never on the agenda.

          • LeighBowery’sLuxuryComedy

            IK,R? My daddy left the preachin’ business when I was much younger than I am now, but I spent my first decade(ish) literally in the church. In a *liberal hippie college town* church. And we didn’t so much as have WINE for communion (granted, we wuz Methodists, one step away from being Quakers for the plain & simpleness). So NYE parties with alkie-hol? Sh-yeah right – not in our church neither.

  • Jan_in_the_pan

    My heart breaks for his alleged victim and the family members who are having to live through this mess he has left behind.

    • kareemachan

      Agreed. As for him? Sorry, not sorry.

      With votes.

  • Courser_Resistance

    Thank you KM.

  • Sean Jungian

    Thank you for expressing this.

    I had mixed and vague feelings about this man’s suicide when I read about it last night, and I am clearer about how I feel now.

  • weejee

    An excellent post KM. Thanks, and hugs to those hurting in the wake of Mr. Johnson acts to them and to himself.

  • SheltonTodd

    Send me the kitties!

  • kareemachan

    SO agree with your last sentence.

  • Ruth Serafini

    OT, sort of: Morgan Spurlock is coming clean:

    This is the first man I’ve heard of that has actually come out and confessed without a jillion accusers coming after him first. Maybe this cultural shift really is happening. I hope.

    • The Rain in Spain’s Therapist

      Sounds like he wanted to get ahead of an eventual rape charge:

      Over my life, there have been many instances that parallel what we see everyday in the news. When I was in college, a girl who I hooked up with on a one night stand accused me of rape. Not outright. There were no charges or investigations, but she wrote about the instance in a short story writing class and called me by name. A female friend who was in the class told be about it afterwards.

      I was floored.

      “That’s not what happened!” I told her. This wasn’t how I remembered it at all. In my mind, we’d been drinking all night and went back to my room. We began fooling around, she pushed me off, then we laid in the bed and talked and laughed some more, and then began fooling around again. We took off our clothes. She said she didn’t want to have sex, so we laid together, and talked, and kissed, and laughed, and then we started having sex.

      “Light Bright,” she said.


      “Light bright. That kids toy, that’s all I can see and think about,” she said … and then she started to cry. I didn’t know what to do. We stopped having sex and I rolled beside her. I tried to comfort her. To make her feel better. I thought I was doing ok, I believed she was feeling better. She believed she was raped.

      • Ruth Serafini

        Oh, I’m SURE that’s exactly what he was doing. I don’t think he really came forward to be “part of the solution”… but it means these guys are SCARED. Having them scared instead of us… well, I never thought I’d see it.

        • george lastrapes

          I think that other nations- notably, Scandinavians- have been having an adult conversation about this for years, but in the US, we see/say/hear nothing about a sore subject until it explodes. And then it will become uncomfortable to speak about again.
          Americans are prudish about sexual matters, reluctant to talk, listen, or learn. That has to change.

          • Natalie Au Natural Hedonist

            I think much of it is due to the religious influence. They don’t seem to understand sex is a natural part of a mature adults life.

    • “I’ve cheated on every wife and girlfriend I ever had”.

      … lolwut? That’s like making an EFFORT to be the biggest douchebag in history.

  • TimResistit

    Whenever someone I don’t like or even hated, dies, I always try to remember that to someone he was once their little boy, or their beloved grampa or Father or whatever, and wish them peace and strength.

    Some people’s death is not sad to me at all…but thinking of the pain of their loved one’s tends to make me less harsh. At least until the mourning is well over.

    • And when a person’s life is taken, either by their own hand or someone else’s, it deprives them of the chance to ever make amends for their wrongdoing.

  • Zyxomma

    Yes, he should have kept his rapey hands to himself, and he should have faced his accuser in court.

    • Anne Of Green Bagels


  • Résistance Land Shark Ω

    No comment except thank you.

  • Zippy W Pinhead

    posted this on the agenda thread- a good read about Dan Johnson

    • SDGeoff3

      Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    • Persistent Tennessee Rain

      Yes, it was a long read, but worthwhile. He knew he was exposed for the fraud, cheat, racist, bigot, criminal and probable sexual abuser and he took the easy way out. This isn’t about anything a Wonkette writer wrote or what an anonymous poster posted. Somebody did their job and did some damned good investigative journalism. The truth caught up to him and he couldn’t handle the truth so he opted out.

      • Zippy W Pinhead

        He was a scammer and grifter, hiding behind Jesus and the GOP to run amok, apparently with local law enforcement’s blessing. The good old boy network in action…

  • Dolmance

    Kittens good.

    Time to move on, folks.

  • Jason Schmucker

    As a journalist, I have also had the misfortune of covering tragedies — both personal and community-wide — and the aftermath of pain and sorrow such events cause. It’s a tough line to walk, but — and this is the important part — journalists (the good ones, of which I include the Wonkette staff) don’t just make things up. Johnson’s decisions are his own — his decision to (allegedly) molest his daughter’s teenage friend, his decision to enter the public scrutiny of elected office, his decision to make his office part of the ongoing sideshow that we see in U.S. politics in 2017. Journalists cover the consequences of those years worth of decisions, and sometimes that scrutiny, that court of public opinion, is too much. But at the end of the day, Dan Johnson is a victim of his own decisions, good or bad — Wonkette (and the numerous other media outlets) only shined a light into his dark closet.

  • The Librarian

    I have zero grace for the bad guy, though I have spared some for his family and even more for his victim(s?) who will have to face who knows what from the myriad of loonies out there.

  • sarahjane1912

    Thoughtful piece. Never ever would blame you guys for anything you wrote about him; it is what it is. My only (tiny, almost invisible) criticism would be that the piece was given ‘publicity’ — aka a tweet telling your followers about it — some hours after the deed had been done. It was a bit unsettling to come across that tweet early this morning (my time, in UK), after reading in NYT what had happened … hours earlier. I’d read it yesterday, but … well, it felt weird. Sorry. But again: it was fab writing then, and your piece above is great too. Have a drink. Have three. :)

    • KillerMartinis

      yeah we automate social media links that happen while we’re sleeping and regret not catching that one!

      • sarahjane1912

        Ohhh right! Apologies! I ought to have guessed something like that had happened! *Blush* And I DO like getting those regular updates! Cheers. :)

  • Bitter Scribe

    Meh. Leave the grieving to his friends, family and anyone else who cares to. It’s too bad for their sake that he had such a low character.

  • VirginiaCannedYuleLog

    He chose to face his god instead of his accuser.

    • At times like this it is comforting to believe in an afterlife, to imagine Jesus cock-punching that guy, for all eternity.

  • SkinlessGenderlessMan

    Again, killermartinis, thank you for your words. You speak in ways I would, were I speaking, and in ways I will quote and paraphrase in need when my words aren’t sufficient.

  • looksquirrels

    Yes and yes. Perfectly describes the brew of emotions these stories stir.

  • SDGeoff3

    A nice article, and I empathize with the sentiments. The man entered the arena a full blown hypocrite and left the scene exactly as he began. I wonder if his last thought was, “Why did all my actions have consequences?”. I would have lerrved to hear his sermon following the massacre in Orlando.
    Good riddance.

  • keinsignal

    If anything has to be said about this guy, I think wishing he’d “kept his fucking hands to himself so that we would have had no reason to know about him to begin with” about sums it up.

    I’d like to say maybe he’ll at least serve some use on earth as an object lesson for other people – “don’t be like this asshole” – but at the same time I suspect anybody even capable of being as royally fucked-up as “Pope” Dan Johnson lacks the critical faculties to learn anything from his, or anyone’s, example.

  • Michael Lindsay

    Truth can hurt, but if the team at Wonkette or other journalists weren’t reporting it they wouldn’t be worthy if that title. Reporting uncomfortable reality IS ethical journalism!

  • Ross Vachon

    Few things are sadder than the truly monstrous. – Nathaniel West

  • richardgrabman

    Perhaps his suicide had more to do the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting long article appearing a few days ago than anything you did

  • Begin Anew Day

    Let me get this straight, OK?

    Wonkette says something bad about someone.

    Then that someone kills themselves.

    THERFORE Wonkette’s bad words allegedly had something to do with this suicide.

    Have I read this right? (I HOPE NOT!)

    BECAUSE if this is the case then you, Ms. Killermartinis OWE ME SOME FUCKING MONEY!

    I don’t subscribe for MAGICAL THINKING. I subscribe because Wonkette tells it like it is!

    I appreciate that you have a conscience. I appreciate that you want to be a good person. But I cannot allow you to beat yourself up because this rotten pastor was found dead because he was outed for his BAD BEHAVIOR. The story is that a gross drunken pig molested a young woman because he had mistaken her for his daughter fallen asleep on the family room sofa!

    I have heard a rumor that the Kentucky GOP allegedly put a contract out for this guy and PROFESSIONAL Hitmen came from Detroit and set everything up to look like a suicide and then have tried to frame Wonkette for a Shitstorm of Blame.

    That rumor strikes me as far more plausible than any crazy theory that this GROSS DEAD PIG suddenly had a hard-on of remorse and did the RIGHT THING by offing himself!

    Look at HIM! He’s a fundagelical who talks to an unseen power! He styles himself a POPE! He ABSOLUTELY never thought he would be caught and when he was he denied everything and deflected the blame onto his accuser!

    And here I find my favorite news source going all rogue Hamlet with pangs and serious thoughts when the real story is “HOOO-FUCKING-RAAAAYYYY! GROSS PIG FOUND DEAD! ONE DOWN! SEVERAL MILLION TO GO!”

    • sarafina

      ^^ THIS!! ^^

    • I understand the sentiment, but that we even pause to ponder feeling bad shows how good a person Killer and the rest here are. These are GOOD people here. Ultimately, that is why we keep coming back. Though the dick jokes are fun also.
      They prove it in a million little ways and I, for one, am grateful for it, even if I do not always agree with everything.

  • Zombishroom

    It is not wrong to speak ill of the living. Now that I think of it, I’m okay with speaking ill of the dead in this case, too.
    Yes, we can have compassion for his surviving loved ones but his being dead doesn’t make him a good person.

  • BreakingDeadMen

    I worked for a horrible person, really nasty piece of work. One of my colleagues made a voodoo doll of this person. Every time our manager made her upset, she put a pin in the doll. Fast forward a month or two, the boss died in a really surreal fashion, running out of oxygen while mountain climbing. My friend felt really spooked about it, but pretty sure it was just the deceased being her usual bullheaded self.

  • Kathleen Smith

    KM’s reaction speaks to the writer’s intent in shining a light on these things. Yes, the content – dick jokes and all – is intended to entertain while it informs, but the snark acts as a sort of anesthetic that’s sorely needed for both the writer and the audience when reporting on topics like these. While the details can be difficult for people to mentally and emotionally digest, reporting on such stories is important because bringing attention to them is one of the few effective ways we have as a society to try make them happen less, and that’s definitely worth doing.

    If no one had Made An Issue about the alleged assault, it almost certainly would have happened again (if not to the girl in question then to someone else), and to who knows how many other people as well before circumstances finally forced the alleged assailant to stop doing it. The fact that death was the softer option than exposure from the standpoint of the accused implies just how damaging he thought the truth would have been had he lived to see it all come out.

    Dick jokes aside, Wonkette’s audience gives its writers a position of influence greater than most individuals have. Given this influence I think it’s not a bad thing that the fallout after something this – for which I don’t believe for an instant that KM bears any responsibility – doesn’t always rest easy, and it shows just how seriously she and Wonkette’s other writers take their work.

    For KM: Be kind to yourself. Should we blame the last snowflake that fell on the mountain for triggering the avalanche, or should we blame the snow that was already piled up and ready to tumble down the slope? If your article was enough to make the difference in the outcome given the circumstances and after other outlets had also reported on this story, then the pile of crap looming over him was already high enough that it was going to come crashing down at some point no matter what.

    • Mike Steele

      In death, as in life, Mr. Johnson’s actions were both vain and delusional, in that he cared not for their impact on others, and thought he could deflect the consequences thereof to unrelated causes. Having gone down the rabbit hole on this man’s back story just hours before he shed his mortal coil, we, too, felt a bit icky about – but not responsible for – the outcome. You are wise, insightful and kind, Kathleen, and your lovely sentiments should give KM some much-deserved comfort.

  • Jezzam

    (tear drop) Cheers

  • DensityDestiny

    All you have said above is true and wise. Don’t change.

  • Dan Straughan

    God damn, Ms. Martinis, you write beautifully. That was powerfully affecting AND I learned a new word: failson.

  • Rick Prose


  • Wm Kiernan

    I’m one hundred percent glad that that oily phony offed himself, it’s almost certainly the finest thing he had done in the previous two decades, and I wish his fellow rapist Donald Trump would do exactly the same thing.

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