Dan Savage: People deserve privacy online — but Josh Duggar is a ‘legitimate target for an outing’
Dan Savage says he’s troubled by the puritanical “glee” that has greeted the Ashley Madison hack – but he said Josh Duggar deserves whatever comes from his involvement with the adultery website.
The syndicated sex columnist appeared Thursday night on “All In With Chris Hayes,” where he discussed the ethics of revealing an individual’s private information in the Internet age.
Savage said he was troubled by the “outing” of the website’s 33 million customers as adulterers, saying that many used the site for fantasizing but never actually cheated on their spouse, and he added most of them were private individuals whose affairs didn’t serve the public interest.
“Josh Duggar is not a private citizen,” Savage said. “He is a public figure who has benefitted politically and financially from attacking other people for their marriages, for their sex lives, how they conduct themselves, for their alleged — in his opinion — immorality, and so his immorality is germane. His hypocrisy makes him, in this instance, a legitimate target for an outing of this sort.”
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Savage said some reports about the hacking indicated that customers would not be identified because they had not committed crimes and were not elected officials — which he said displayed a troubling attitude.
“We have a double standard in this country that says elected officials don’t have a right to the same privacy as an individual might,” he said. “An elected official who is not a hypocrite, who hasn’t attempted to politicize other people’s private sexual conduct choices (or) marriages should not have their name put out there, either.”
Savage, who reads and replies to letters seeking advice on a wide variety of sexual thoughts or conduct, said most people had left some evidence online of desires or interests they would prefer to remain private.
“At some point we all have to look at the Internet and think, you know what, we’re all compromised, we all need to give each other a bit of a break,” he said. “Unless something really cuts to the heart of someone’s public life, unless it exposes them as a hypocrite and a liar as Josh Duggar has been exposed, I don’t think that we should — even if we can’t keep it out of the media or off of Twitter or whatever — I don’t think that we should hold that up as proof that that person is unfit or unfit to do whatever it is that they’re doing when their pants are on.”
Watch the entire segment posted online by MSNBC: