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TRIGGER WARNING This article or section, or pages it links to, contains information about sexual assault and/or violence which may be triggering to survivors.

In May 2016, the Tor project blog announced that Jacob Appelbaum was stepping down from the project. Appelbaum, who often uses the handle "ioerror", is a longtime member of the information security community and supporter of Julian Assange.

Shortly afterward, multiple Tor developers publicly accused Appelbaum of rape.

On May 24, @puellavulnerata tweeted "A precommitment:", followed by a hexadecimal string. [1] On June 2, @puellavulnerata revealed that the previously-tweeted string was the SHA256 hash of the string "It seems one rapist is one rapist too many\n". [2]

On May 27, the domain was registered; at this writing, it contains personal accounts from 5 different people who experienced sexual assault or inappropriate sexual conduct committed by Appelbaum.

On June 3, @maradydd tweeted:

"[Tor's blog post] is a gross disservice to the Tor community. People deserve to know why Tor evicted its resident sociopath." -- [3]

"Jake finally raped enough people that Tor as an organisation couldn't ignore it anymore." -- [4]


What I’ve learned is that the real test is what happens after the accused makes a statement. One that muddies the waters, takes partial responsibility, questions the stability of his victims, implies ulterior motives. One that exposes a flawed process, or sheds light on true-yet-unflattering internal politics that make things seem “complicated.”

He’s been reflecting carefully, you know. On his values. He was going through a tough time, before this. He is “dismayed” and “dishearted” and “troubled” and “ashamed” and “hurt.” If there is truth to these allegations, if that’s what the victims “believe happened” then he wants to make it right with them. His is a politics of ownership. He is an ally. He is kinky. He is sorry for your misunderstanding.

...a calculated and targeted attack has been launched to spread vicious and spurious allegations against me.... Vague rumors and smear campaigns against me are nothing new. As a longtime public advocate for free speech and a secure internet, there have been plenty of attempts to undermine my work over the years.

Now, however, these unsubstantiated and unfounded attacks have become so aggressive that I feel it’s necessary to set the record straight. Not only have I been the target of a fake website in my name that has falsely accused me of serious crimes, but I have also received death threats (including a Twitter handle entitled ‘TimeToDieJake’).

I think it’s extremely damaging to the community that these character-assassination tactics are being deployed, especially given their ugly history of being used against fellow members of the LGBT community. It pains me to watch the community to which I’ve dedicated so much of my life engage in such self-destructive behavior. Nonetheless, I am prepared to use legal channels, if necessary, to defend my reputation from these libelous accusations.

I want to be clear: the accusations of criminal sexual misconduct against me are entirely false.

Inevitably, there may have been moments in my professional or private life when I may have inadvertently hurt or offended others’ feelings. Whenever I was aware of these instances, I have, and will continue to, apologize to the friends and colleagues in question and to continually learn how to be a better person. Though the damage to my reputation caused by these allegations alone is impossible to undo, I nonetheless take the concerns of the Tor community seriously....

(Backup copy on on

Andrea Shepard, a Berlin-based developer co-worker of Appelbaum’s at the Tor Project, says the site was created by a “longtime member of the Tor community” whom she knows and trusts. Shepard also says she’s spoken directly with one of Appelbaum’s alleged victims, who told Shepard in February of this year that Appelbaum had raped him or her. “Sadly…I think it’s the damn truth. He’s a charismatic, socially dominant manipulator,” Shepard writes to WIRED. “I absolutely believe the accusers."

There were a number of times I felt afraid and violated during interactions with Jacob. Being involved with him was a steady stream of humiliations small and large as he mistreated me in front of others and over-shared about our intimate interactions with friends who were often also professional colleagues.

  • Two other survivors, Alison Macrina and isis agora lovecruft, also came forward with their experiences with Appelbaum.
  • On June 11 a number of people wrote an open letter in solidarity with Jacob Applebaum on Initially it was signed by 12 women who know Jacob Appelbaum:

We, the undersigned, are a group of women who have been friends, colleagues, co-workers or partners of Jacob "Jake" Appelbaum over many years.

We have decided that we must speak out due to the nature of this coordinated and one-sided attack on his character and work. It has become clear the mainstream media are unwilling to fact-check, and only too willing to persist in spreading uncorroborated and unfalsifiable rumor. This statement is to give our positive experiences with Jake from our first-hand, long-term perspectives, over many public and private situations.


We stand in solidarity with Jake against the way this is being handled and on the side of justice for all, in hope the truth on all sides will be able to come to light in a rational and constructive manner.

  • In March 2017, Henry de Valence, a former Ph.D student working with Tanja Lange and Dan Bernstein (both faculty at TU Eindhoven and friends of Appelbaum) wrote about his experiences with Appelbaum and leaving graduate school as a result due to Lange and Bernstein's defense of Appelbaum's behavior:

On August 31, 2015, I started a Ph.D. in cryptography at TU Eindhoven, working with Tanja Lange and Dan Bernstein. On December 2, 2016, I resigned, due to sexual harassment, bullying, blackmail, and physical harm as a result of their favorite student, Jacob Appelbaum, as well as Tanja and Dan’s total abdication of their responsibility to manage the workplace environment in their research group....

On June 4, Dan sent an email to the entire research group. Dan informed the group that the only appropriate venue for dealing with Jacob’s behaviour is the criminal justice system and that he felt it would be inappropriate for him to take any action before the outcome of a court case. He took the time to emphasize the need to punish “false accusations”, which occur “often” (in reality, between 2% and 8% of the time), and described only two outcomes: a “true” accusation, leading to jail for the accused (in reality, 6 of every 1000 perpetrators are jailed in the United States), or a “false” accusation, leading to punishment for the complainant. According to Dan’s mail, there is no possibility beyond “punish the accused” or “punish the accuser”, or any level of inappropriate conduct below that which is strictly illegal: for instance, Dan did not mention the plagiarism alleged in the tweets he referenced in his own email. When Dan sent this mail, he had already received reports from multiple people that Jacob’s abusive behaviour was not limited to Tor, but also extended into his research group — and I suspect that he knew even more, since Jacob was staying at Dan and Tanja’s apartment at the time that he was attempting to negotiate his exit from the Tor Project.

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