The Stranger reports that six women are accusing Seattle-based freelance tech journalist Matt Hickey of catfishing them into sex.
Hickey, a freelance journalist who has written for Gizmodo and Forbes, allegedly set out a fake female account on Facebook advertising porn auditions. Under the name “Deja Stwalley,” Hickey allegedly would message young women on Facebook and set up an auditions with “her ex-boyfriend Matt.” According to The Stranger, he would say that the sex had to be part of the process in order to convince production companies they were comfortable with having sex with strangers.

The accusers told The Stranger, during the audition Hickey would give the girls drinks, make a checklist of what sex acts they were comfortable with, then take pictures of their sexual encounters.

Three of the women went to the police. Two were turned away at the station, while the third was told to wait six weeks for a copy of her report.

The Seattle Police Department told The Stranger the department has begun multiple investigations into the matter but has not made any arrests. Sex under false pretenses is rarely prosecuted as rape, though activists argue that it should be. States including California, Tennessee, Alabama, and Michigan have rape laws that criminalize consent obtained by trickery.

On top of any potential criminal charges, the accusations have raised eyebrows in part because of Hickey’s prior writing on feminist topics. Hickey wrote an article for Forbes decrying Microsoft for having female dancers at company party and lamenting the sexism in the gaming industry. Hickey has also been a public critic of Gamergate.

Hickey’s website was taken down shortly after the revelations and only a short statement of innocence remains:

Don’t believe everything you read, please.

I’ll have more to say soon when I’m able to.

If the allegations prove to be true, Hickey has publicly played the role of a feminist, while privately taking advantage of young women in the slimiest of ways.

Hickey declined to comment for this piece, citing the advice of his lawyers.

UPDATE: He pled down to felony sex offense and the state will recommend a 2.5 year prison sentence.

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Traveling, writing a bit on the side.