Statement by Jill Bähring regarding Jacob Appelbaum
On June 7, 2016, Gizmodo published a story in which “eyewitnesses” - Emerson Tan, Meredith Paterson, and Andrea Shepard - supposedly “recount” Jacob Applebaum’s “unwanted sexual advances”. The article was quickly picked up and developed further, for example by the dailydot. I am the girl in that story.
I recall that night clearly, and my story is entirely different. This is how it happened.
I have been romantically involved with Jacob Appelbaum, but I also consider him a close friend. That night in Hamburg, it was the 26th of December, we had dinner with several friends in the Raddison Blu Restaurant. After visiting the 32C3 venue, we, together with a large group of people, went to the Raddison Blu Hotel Bar. We sat down at the bar and had drinks. I was sitting on Jacob’s lap, next to him was a close friend and his partner, and on our other side another friend. Jake and I were flirting with each other all night.
Tan and Patterson recall the situation as follows:
“Jake has his hands all over this girl, and she is very obviously not very happy. You know, she’s looking for her bag, they’re having a conversation and she’s looking for her bag she can’t find her bag and she appears to be really quite distressed and Appelbaum forcibly attempts to try and kiss her, grabs her arm and her backside and makes a move for her breasts.”
I did indeed look not very happy. I was emotionally distressed at that time and told Jake, one of my close confidants, about my situation. He did have his hands all over me, just as I had my hands all over him. At no point did Jake forcibly attempt to try and kiss me, nor did he grab me in any inappropriate manner.
While we were talking, I realized that I didn’t have my bag with me, and started looking for it. Anyone who has ever lost sight of their wallet and phone will look “quite distressed” as a consequence.
According to Tan and Patterson, none of our friends seemed to see anything wrong with that situation:
“And the other males who we were with were basically just kind of joking amongst themselves and don’t really seem to see anything wrong with it, which is really quite distressing”
This is true. There was nothing wrong with it. I was among several friends with whom I felt absolutely safe.
Around 2 am, three of us – me, Jake, and another friend – decided to go to sleep. Each of us was heading “home”: Jake had a room in the Raddison Blu Hotel, while I had a different accommodation. My other friend was staying at another hotel, close to the Raddison Blu. That friend and I thus decided to leave the Raddison together.
The next day, I wasn’t going to be at the conference, so I didn’t expect to see Jake for a couple of weeks. Jake and I said goodbye to each other in the hotel lobby, and we kissed. But since my friend was waiting for me to leave, I playfully pushed Jake away.
At that time, I noticed Emerson Tan for the first time – since he was intervening at that point. He states:
“So I watched this for about two to three minutes and then I decide to go and do something and just mount a very very subtle intervention. Which is, I go over, I shake Jake’s hand I tell him what a great job he’s doing with the Tor project and the rest of it and that gives the girl roughly the 30 seconds she needs to find her bag without being in an undistracted fashion.”
I recall Tan approaching me, asking me if Jacob was harassing me. I said he wasn't. Nevertheless, Tan dragged me away and immediately started talking intensely to Jake. At that point I decided to leave, since my friend was waiting for me. I walked him to his hotel, which was only a couple of blocks away.
Tan obviously interpreted the situation differently:
“She left, and I found her hiding out in the hotel bar later, after Jake had left. She was pretty composed but obviously upset.”
I want to make clear that I was not “hiding” in the hotel bar. I had come back because I regretted not having properly said goodbye to Jake, so I hoped to catch him in the lobby. I waited for a couple of minutes at the bar, looking for him. After approximately ten minutes, I left again.
Reading this highly distorted version of my experience, which is being used as one of the “bulletproof examples” of Jacob’s alleged misbehavior, I can’t help but wonder.
Wonder about all the stories that have been published the last days.
Wonder not only about mob justice on twitter, caused by rumors and speculation, but also about the accounts repeated by those who call themselves journalists.
Wonder about how many other stories have been willingly misinterpreted.
Wonder about the witnesses in all these stories, who coincidentally always seem to consist of the same set of people.
Wonder about their motive to speak on my behalf without my consent.