I Was Stalked All the Way to Malaysia by Revenge Porn Convict Benjamin Barber!

  1. Home
  2. Culture Wars
By Ian Miles Cheong | 7:40 am, December 13, 2016
Read More

Benjamin Jay Barber is the first man to be sent to jail under Oregon’s new law against revenge porn. Barber, a 31-year-old who claims to have worked at Intel and other tech companies, will spend six months in jail for uploading to porn websites four sexually explicit videos of himself and an ex-girlfriend—without her consent.

Barber has been unrepentant—and in fact, has gone on the offensive over the conviction. He claims he holds the “copyright” to the porn videos — and is suing the State of Oregon for violating his constitutional rights in trying to block him from publishing them. The videos, which at this writing were still online, are just as explicit in their depiction of Barber as they are of the woman and leave nothing to the imagination.

Barber is no stranger to trolling and harassing people. He’s left a fairly lengthy trail of run-ins on the Internet. I know—I was one of the people he stalked.

In late 2014, Barber traveled internationally to Malaysia , where I live, to lodge a police report against me under Malaysia’s Internal Security Act of 1960. My crime? Posting anti-GamerGate tweets. As a member of Zoe Quinn’s Crash Override Network and a social justice warrior, I was extremely vocal in my opposition to what I saw as a movement of misogynists targeting a female game developer for her gender. I identified as a feminist—which to Barber, who has expressed extreme anti-feminist views, was a capital offense.

During his time in Malaysia, Barber addressed me in poorly written Malay tweets, a language he picked up during time spent in my country a decade ago. He wanted to put me on notice that I would soon be arrested for offending him. That’s when I first realized he had actually gone to the police, and also tried to report me to local religious and political organizations.

He tweeted at me every other day—and even after I blocked him—posting photos of himself in various parts of Malaysia. It became clear in later tweets from him that he had hoped to spread the word about me to local jihadists, who might even “martyr” me. Fortunately, he never showed up at my apartment or arrived in my home state.

A year later, after I parted with the social justice warrior clique and apologized publicly to some of their supporters, Barber showed up again in my timeline with a disingenuous-sounding apology. “Malaysia is still backwards in a lot of ways, and I knew PAS would flip s–t, if they cared enough to martyr you,” he wrote, referring to one of Malaysia’s political parties.

The most notable part of Barber’s appearance is his blown-out eye, which has made him the butt of jokes since his mugshot turned up in news reports about his revenge porn conviction. Reddit users claiming to know him says that he was blinded after being shot with an Airsoft gun while attending a JROTC Marksmanship program earlier in life.

“I understand people are going to think I look creepy,” Barber said in an interview with KOIN6. “I have this blown out eye.”

Creepy or not, Barber once had aspirations of holding public office. The self-described “autodidact” ran for a seat in the Oregon House of Representatives during the Democratic primary in 2012. Listing himself as a “Governmet (sic) Reform Advocate” and running against two veterans in the field, both professional lawyers, Barber got trounced. He won only 2.4% of the vote.

His political dreams dashed, Barber turned towards online activism. He joined the GamerGate movement, a loose coalition of video game enthusiasts and activists pushing for ethics in game journalism in 2014 and 2015. Posting under the name “Endomorphosis” across social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Reddit, Barber became obsessed with turning the movement’s sights away from game journalists, and towards feminists and social justice warriors in the tech industry.

He believed feminists were plotting to marginalize men and institute unfair hiring practices, and he pursued every means to get others involved in his crusade. He also posted under the name “Starworks5,” which he used on OKCupid and Reddit.

On his LinkedIn page, Barber lists himself a systems administrator and web developer by profession, and says he’s currently“self-employed.” According to his profile, he has worked at a variety of technology companies, including Intel, for brief stints.

Barber had made something of a career of trying to get people fired when he doesn’t like their politics. He claimed credit when Mozilla parted ways with one of its long-term employees, Christie Koehler, whom he accused of violating civil rights law for hosting gender-segregated “safe spaces.” He claims Mozilla fired her because of his reports.  Koehler explained her reasons for leaving Mozilla in a public series of tweets, and Barber was never mentioned.

He also claimed responsibility for the resignation of an Intel VP Renée James after he reported her to the government on racketeering charges. In reality, James stepped down amid a management shakeup at the company. James has not made any comments about Barber’s alleged involvement.

Barber got entangled in outrage battles on Reddit, too. In one case, he tried to enlist the support of other Reddit users to file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing over Reddit’s allegedly discriminatory hiring practices. He claimed that the company was discriminating against men by refusing to hire him for a job he’d applied for only 24 hours prior. Redditors downvoted the post, laughed at his effort, and moved on. He was eventually banned from the GamerGate community.

In the days since his conviction, a user posting under the name “wearytravelerpdx,” who claims to be Barber, posted court transcripts and various documents in defense of his actions towards the revenge porn victim. The user states that it was the victim’s idea to make the pornographic videos for commercial production and that she was using them to blackmail Barber.

As part of court verdict, Barber will be barred from using the Internet for the next few years.

Barber did not show up to jail on the day he was ordered to turn himself in and remains a fugitive at the time of this writing.

Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken game critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.

Advertisement