- Ethereum cofounder Gavin Wood has apologised for a now-deleted blog post he wrote in 2013.
- BuzzFeed republished elements of the blog post, which resurfaced last year on Reddit and featured a story about Wood having sex with a preteen girl dying from AIDS.
- Wood tweeted a lengthy statement apologizing for the blog and stressing that it is a work of fiction, designed to “spark debate and conversation” about the nature of consent.
Ethereum cofounder Gavin Wood has apologized after a now-deleted blog post from 2013, in which he wrote about having sex with a dying preteen girl named Elizabeth, returned to haunt him.
Wood, who left Ethereum in 2016, tweeted a lengthy statement after BuzzFeed republished elements of his blog post, which first resurfaced on a Reddit cryptocurrency group last year. Wood said the story was a work of fiction. Business Insider has contacted Wood and Ethereum for comment.
In the now-deleted post from Wood’s old blog, “Insights Into a Modern World,” he describes having sex with a girl named Elizabeth. The post describes Elizabeth as a girl he used to babysit who contracts AIDS. According to BuzzFeed, Elizabeth, who would have been 11 or 12 in the story, then asks an 18-year-old Wood to have sex with her before she dies. The blog post then describes the sexual encounter.
Wood said in a statement that the account is entirely fictional and was intended to spark debate about the nature of consent. “My story is fiction and was written purely as a literary thought-experiment in the context of current events,” he said.
BuzzFeed conducted an investigation and could find no record of a girl named Elizabeth dying in Lancashire County, UK, where Wood grew up, around the time he describes in his blog. BuzzFeed noted, however, that Wood wrote in the blog post that Elizabeth gave him a woven bracelet, and that Wood has been seen to wear a woven bracelet at events and in photographs.
Years ago, I wrote a piece of fiction and posted it to my blog. Recently, several reporters have been pursuing it based on false information being spread by people who wish to damage my reputation. Here’s what happened: https://t.co/13vBiYsb9S
— Gav “No Giveaways” Wood (@gavofyork) September 19, 2018
In Wood’s statement, he said the blog post was prompted by a UK news story about a math teacher named Jeremy Forrest, who absconded to France with a 15-year-old student. Forest was jailed for abduction and sex with a minor in 2013, the year Wood’s blog post was published.
He cited the book “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!,” by Nobel prize-winning physicist Dr Richard Feynman, as inspiration for a caustic approach to inciting debate.
Wood also said press interest in the post is indicative of a malicious campaign against him. “The fact that my blog is no longer on the internet and reporters, unassociated with my industry, have still ‘found’ and pursued it indicates that individuals with less than good intentions have been actively trying to disparage and slander me,” he said in his statement.
He apologised to anyone who had been upset by the contents of the post. “It was not my intent to upset anyone, and I took the story down as soon as I realised it was being misconstrued,” he said. “Recent re-publications of this story have been entirely by others, and I am very sorry to anyone that may have become upset by its contents.”
BuzzFeed reported that the blog was unearthed on a cryptocurrency Reddit group, Buttcoin, last year, and that shortly afterwards the blog post disappeared from the Internet Archive. An office manager at the archive told BuzzFeed that pages are only removed upon request.
Wood cofounded the cryptocurrency project Ethereum in 2013 with Vitalik Butelin. Ethereum’s cryptocurrency, Ether, is the second-most popular in the world behind Bitcoin. He left Ethereum in 2016 and founded Parity Technologies. Parity had no further comment to add to Wood’s statement.
Here is Wood’s statement in full:
Over the past few months, several reporters have approached me or my associates asking aggressively about a fiction story that I authored more than four years ago and is no longer posted online.
The story posted on my blog was fiction ‒ a made-up story meant to spark debate and conversation.
The fact that my blog is no longer on the internet and reporters, unassociated with my industry, have still “found” and pursued it indicates that individuals with less than good intentions have been actively trying to disparage and slander me.
My public acknowledgement of the story, along with my strongest possible rebuke that any part of this story is true, is meant to end all attempts to destroy my reputation.
I sincerely apologise to anyone who found my experiment in creative writing upsetting, and I hope we can all come together in understanding its original intent and purpose.
The content in question was created four years ago, when I wrote a story in rather poor judgement. I published it to my personal blog, Insights into a Modern World, in which I offered readers “projections of thoughts for you to reflect upon and refract over.” To reiterate, this story is entirely a work of fiction ‒ no characters or events described anything real.
The story, entitled “Elizabeth” was the last in a series of posts (“Sexism and Physics” followed by “Lolita Justice” and then the post in question) that were prompted by current affairs at the time, specifically the Jeremy Forrest case in the U.K.
My story is fiction and was written purely as a literary thought-experiment in the context of current events.
In the months before I wrote those posts, I had read “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”: Adventures of a Curious Character by the physicist and Nobel-winner Richard Feynman, in which the author applied a unique critical perspective on the world, ruffling a few of his audience’s feathers along the way.
Along those lines, my blog posts at the time were meant to provoke intellectual debate and discussion around generally taboo subjects like the nature of consent. Nothing about it should be taken as indicative of my personal position. My only position here is that rigorous, rational and unrestricted discussion on all topics is generally a requirement to make informed decisions as a society.
It was not my intent to upset anyone, and I took the story down as soon as I realised it was being misconstrued. Recent re-publications of this story have been entirely by others, and I am very sorry to anyone that may have become upset by its contents.