What’s the truth about Eliza Bleu — and does it matter?
The anti-trafficking advocate's life story doesn't quite add up
Meet Eliza Bleu, née Morthland: the first fallen #girlboss of 2023. The internet personality/anti-trafficking advocate burst onto the Twitter scene around the time of Elon Musk’s takeover. She was obviously a big fan of the bird app’s new CEO, and he seemed to trust her. Bleu tweets about censorship (she’s opposed) and child sexual abuse material, which she suggested was rampant on Twitter under the previous regime.
On multiple occasions, she implied that she was working closely with Twitter’s new Trust and Safety team to ban popular hashtags used for trading this appalling content. The extent of her role, though, has recently been called into question, because her narrative as a survivor is completely falling apart.
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Bleu publicly shared her story for the first time on a podcast in September of 2020, where she recounted a sheltered upbringing on an Illinois farm, before a rebellious phase when she met a photographer who lured her to Los Angeles with promises of stardom. On the trip, the 17-year-old was drugged, assaulted, and groomed before being sold to a “much older gentleman” for $500. The strange tale that follows includes a stint in a band, an abusive marriage, and multiple escapes from, and then returns to, “the life,” when she’d fall in with “new crowds of traffickers”. According to the podcast, she finally got out in 2014, after watching survivors tell their stories online. The details of events are vague and circumspect, and Bleu is wholly unable to place them on a timeline, which she explains is the result of the effects of trauma on the brain.
The hazy nature of the story, and the existence of several different aliases, raised questions about Bleu’s past. Last week, a YouTuber named Brittany Venti apparently found a rap video featuring a scantily clad Bleu, and asked if she’d ever discussed the performance in the context of her story. She tweeted a photo still from the video, which had been publicly available on YouTube since 2016. For a trafficking survivor to perform in a sexualised video shortly after breaking away from their captors is confounding, but so is the path toward recovery, and perhaps Bleu didn’t want to be judged.
But when Venti’s account was suspended for sharing the image, fans called out the erstwhile free speech advocate’s hypocrisy as well as the apparent abuse of her connections to higher-ups at Twitter, who issued bizarre justifications for the suspensions. Later that day, Bleu announced that the video included private images that were taken without her consent, broadly implying that she had been coerced into performing in the video as a victim of sex trafficking.
The definition of “trafficking” has expanded as we learn more about the psychology of abuse. Many factors prevent victims from leaving abusive situations. Over time a person’s social ties are severed, and they lose their sense of autonomy and often develop an overwhelming fear of retaliation. But it’s hard to reconcile that with Eliza Morthland, the beloved daughter of a wealthy Illinois politician, or Eliza Cuts, the popular hairstylist in Chicago’s rock scene, or Eliza Knows, the rap video “vixen” who taped herself gloating to her mother about starring in one. The profile doesn’t even fit comfortably with Eliza Bleu, the anti-trafficking advocate who lashes out at podcast hosts with basic questions about the story that informs all her work.
Few people ask any questions at all, of course, because another thing we’ve learned about sexual trauma is that victims are often blamed, shamed, and denied their experience. We know how important it is to be believed. So we don’t question people who come forward with a harrowing tale of sexual abuse.
During a chilling exchange on TimCast a year ago, Bleu herself raises the possibility that her story is all a fabrication, and asks why it would even matter. She wasn’t abusing people, she wasn’t asking anyone for money, and she managed to raise national awareness about human trafficking, particularly on Big Tech.
In a sense, she’s right. Bleu has won awards for her activism; her brash personality and tireless promotion have certainly brought her cause to the fore. Does it matter if her work was driven by vanity, or built on lies? Unlike in cases of false rape allegations, which can destroy the lives of the accused, it is less obvious who the real victims would be in this story.
But there would be real victims: all the people who believed Eliza and believed in her — as well as all the real survivors who see their plight used so instrumentally to feed a narcissist. Ultimately it does us all a disservice when we blindly believe, especially in a culture where victimhood is a status symbol.
Should I worry that I never heard of any of the people mentioned, except Musk?
you should wear that as an intellectual badge
The “excellent filters” badge.
The definition of “trafficking” has expanded as we learn more about the psychology of abuse. Many factors prevent victims from leaving abusive situations. Over time a person’s social ties are severed, and they lose their sense of autonomy and often develop an overwhelming fear of retaliation.
This is true, but isn’t there a danger that we remove all agency and responsibility from an individual as soon as it has been established they were in an ‘abusive’ situation? People voluntarily put themselves in dangerous situations with bad people all the time for a host of reasons.
Also, the definition of trafficking is likely to expand to an absurd length if you include people who voluntarily enter arrangements they later regret, for example. Especially as the definition of ‘abuse’ is not well-defined.
Yes. Virginia Giuffre springs to mind.
True. I see this happen with battered women when people claim they “always” want to leave and “only” stay out of fear. Many of these women are just as evil as the men who batter them. Why do I say that? Because they often sacrifice the lives & mental health of their own children to hang on to these abusers. Many battered women are addicted to their abusers & will allow these men to rape, beat, and even kill their children. You see this in the news all the time when “mothers” protect their male partners and help to cover up the crimes they committed. Many battered women are as morally depraved as their batterers.
Because they’ve been brought up in a social milieu where not to have a recognized partner (sexual) partner condemns you to social stigma and contempt. Oh yes. In this age of equality it can be at a pinch a same sex partner (even in housing estate life) but NO “other” and they’re coming to get you or more likely totally excluding you. That’s why these brain dead females stick with the blokes. My own niece sadly has found herself an unemployed loser who lives off the money she works hard for,contributes nothing as far as I can see and goes out drinking with his mates. He claims to be Autistic indeed has a diagnosis from when he was a kid but I just think he’s a lazy parasitic b*****d. But he isn’t abusive except one day when it breaks up I reckon his nasty side will come out.
This article barely scratches the surface of who Eliza actually is and her history to be honest. She’s went through many different names on the internet over the years going all the way back to the early 2000s and the My Chemical Romance Fan scene, where she was a hairdresser who supposedly stalked one of the band members and claimed to be in a relationship with him.
This history makes it clear that there is little distinction between fantasy and fact in her mind, and thus whilst she should be pitied for her obvious psychological issues, she shouldn’t be absolved of responsibility for this behaviour, because she obviously has some awareness of her issues.
Used to ber called a ‘little makey-uppey’, back in the days when journalism was journalism. Now it’s called ‘My Truth’
“..the 17-year-old was drugged, assaulted, and groomed before being sold to a “much older gentleman” for $500.”
$500? That’s a bit insulting isn’t it? You would expect to pay more for a cockerpoo. In fact to me it screams “Don’t believe a word of this tale”
If Elon Musk were truly a great benefactor of mankind, he would shut down Twitter and sow its fields with salt.
I would agree, but Musk has actually transformed Twitter into an abbatoir of “progressivism”, in which the woke scum are being torn limb from limb by the enraged majority, which is a good thing.
Glad to hear it.
I would agree, but Musk has actually transformed Twitter into an abbatoir of “progressivism”, in which the woke scvm are regularly torn limb from limb by an enraged and no longer silenced majority, which is a good thing
Personally – and I have not heard this, but I have suspected from the start Musk is 100% owning Twitter to make himself more powerful.
When I saw him doing it I wondered why – and thinking on it I saw how he could take that platform and turn it into the marketplace off all – a Omni-source of all expenditures. A way to conquer the world Alexander the Great could only dream of….
Add ChatGPT – say you want boat insurance, ask Twitter for some boat insurance in a chat you open – it will ask you a couple questions – then search you, get your address, credit history, past insurance claims, alcohol/drug past, job history, boat size and power and its history of legal claims, your planned use of it, your children’s age, their drug habits, your ‘Partner’ whole life history, your education. boat storage facilities near you, your IQ and medications, who AI thinks you will have on it and what you all will do wile on it, your boating history from all social media you – and every one you know, posts on – facial recognition of every picture of every boat you have been near, and a million details – crunch it is a millisecond and farm it out to every insurer on the globe, issue you with a boat ‘Social Credit Score’ and give you a price you can say yes to and Twitter will deduct the payment from your wallet – 2 minutes max.
Every insurer is out of business. Now make this true of every last economic endeavor. Add in ‘Internet Dating’ sex for hire, pet grooming, school tutors, auto loans, Mortgages, collectables, medical online, legal services, and even cremations and pizzas delivered….
This is Musk and Twitter – he wants to take over the world with one Omni-App, and all this hype of Trump and Covid is just to get the game rolling – –
I’m rather baffled that you suggest insurance for a boat needs so much information!
Whatever, sorry Elon, but Zuckerberg is way ahead of you! And he’s actually making money – still (I note other techies are losing hand over fist).
You get an upvote for the fun of reading it whether I agree or not.
Is ‘Baby’ John Holland on Twitter do you happen to know?
Then – like a hydra – new heads would pop up where only one was before. Probably better to keep it alive as a impediment to others.
Does it matter?
Well, for this instance perhaps not because Eliza’s ‘truth’ reflects the reality of others. So she is doing more good than harm by publicising the issue.
BUT…. what happens when someone does this and their ‘truth’ is not anchored to reality?
I remember the Satanic Ritual Abuse scandal of the 1980s and 90s. Lives were devastated when people were falsely accused and convicted. Look at the harm caused by Carl Beech’s allegations.
The truth has to matter.
And tragically, people caught lying about abuse will always be weaponized against REAL victims of abuse. Raped children are still paying the price for the Satanic Panic of the 80’s, because people are afraid to believe them now.
Look at the increase in comments (my observation from here, in The Times and The Telegraph) about women making false accusations of abuse and sexual assault after Amber Heard was revealed to have lied.
Bad actors (in every sense re Heard) can cause real harm.
No harm caused to the Witchfinder General Tom Watson..jumping on that grotesque Carl Beech’s bandwagon got him the ermine cloak.
Or some bloke called Starmer at the DPP, he was an advocate of ‘Believe the Victim’ ,which is the negation of ‘Innocent until proven Guilty’.
I wonder where he is now?
The cause may be worthy – but using ‘any means’ to achieve it sometimes destroys the worth by association with unacceptable actions along the way.
So yes, a fabricated earlier life (and I don’t know if it applies here) does matter.
She could run for congress. She’d win easy.
Most activists are narcissists – I don’t trust anyone who puts their face or name to a “cause” (except for Malala Yousafzi, who took a bullet to the head for girls’ education, then went back out and continued her fight). Still, if they are good at promoting a cause, why not give them the spotlight?
Journalists need to start asking people what they believe a word to mean before interviewing them. She claimed people using her image and name on fake Twitter accounts were “trafficking” her. I’m really curious to know exactly what else she considers trafficking.
I think the ultimate take of this article is that it should matter but the author only comes up with one good reason in the end. Surely any reasonable person would applaud the promotion of anti-trafficking messages and consider it a heavy weight when opposed to the “hurt feelings” of real survivors. That the author is focussed in on the negatives of this woman’s story rather than the good she has (presumably) done to promote a worthy cause is a bit worrying. Just like the media obsesses over Epstein/Maxwell without investigating all the people they were associated with (basically anyone who is anyone in American high society). I hope that there are proper investigative journalists working on the stories and they are just waiting to release them as they have standards but it has been a long time now.
There is awareness-raising and there is self-promotion. There is courageous honesty and there is gratuitous, fictitious grandiosity.
Personally I think we are seeing far too much of the latter two characteristics.
It is not the case that all publicity is good publicity and it might be a very good thing if a lot of people said and wrote a great deal less and thought rather more.
We just need to keep using that concept we used to call common-sense.
In common-sense you never trust a liar because you never know when they’ll lie about something important.
This woman looks like a serial liar.
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