How James Lasdun Found Himself Victimized by Anti-Semitic Cyber-Stalker

Writing Was Author's Escape From Non-Stop Online Abuse

Kurt Hoffman

By Naomi Zeveloff

Published February 25, 2013, issue of March 01, 2013.

(page 3 of 5)

Nasreen claimed that Lasdun and his agent, who is also Jewish, were part of a Zionist cabal that stole her manuscript and sold it to a few Jewish Iranian authors who were publishing on similar topics at the time, such as the novelist Gina Nahai. Nasreen accused the non-Jewish freelance editor of co-conspiracy.

Nasreen’s anti-Semitism makes the stalking case atypical. And in fact, Lasdun is an atypical victim. Most people who are stalked are women, and in many cases, the people who do the stalking are their jilted male lovers. Anti-Semitism, or the notion of “Jew versus Arab,” may have been a “ready-made” narrative for Nasreen to plug into, said Brian Spitzberg, a San Diego State University professor who studies stalking.

“If she has been traumatized and victimized, she needs someone to view as guilty,” he said. “She has figured it out, and she has to exact the kind of trauma on him that was exacted on her.”

“I thought she must be having some very strange sort of breakdown and she is going to be deeply embarrassed, but she just kept doubling down,” Lasdun said during our interview. “This is pure conjecture, but I felt she put [the anti-Semitism] out there as a sort of shock thing, and then somehow, possibly out of shame or guilt, she kind of cornered herself. ‘Did I say that? Okay, well that is what I am going to be from now on, and I am going to say it louder and louder.’”

Nasreen also claimed that Lasdun orchestrated her rape by a co-worker, that he repurposed ideas she shared with him in a short story and that he used her emails in his work. (This last point, of course, became true with the publication of Lasdun’s book, which contains dozens of Nasreen’s email messages. Lasdun, however, sees it only as a “superficial irony or paradox”: “I feel because I am justified in telling the story, I am justified in using the emails.”)

Nasreen went public with these and other complaints in the comments section of his book pages on Amazon.com and Goodreads. She also wrote a lengthy email to his boss at a college near Woodstock, enumerating her many grievances.



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