Who is @Sciencing_Bi?

Weird occurrences on social media.

There’s an advocacy person called BethAnn McLaughlin who founded MeTooSTEM.

MeTooSTEM has accomplished much since it was founded in 2018 to fight sexual harassment in academic science. Since November alone, according to the group’s accounting, it has engaged with more than 750 individuals requesting assistance, filed hundreds of open-records requests about harassment cases and made dozens of complaints to funding agencies regarding researchers’ conduct.

The group has visited some 20 campuses to discuss federal laws governing gender-based discrimination and sexual misconduct in education, put on webinars and awarded $12,000 to advocates for women in science. Its founder BethAnn McLaughlin, also received the Disobedience Award from Massachusetts Institute of Techonolgy’s Media Lab last year, alongside Me Too movement found Tarana Burke and consultant and activist Sherry Marts.

But there have been complaints and criticisms. The Inside Higher Ed piece goes into some of them.

Then a new thing happened.

bethann mclaughlin

That sounds sad; tell us more about Sciencing_Bi.

For several years, academics and activists around the country interacted with the Twitter account @Sciencing_Bi, which was supposedly run by an LGBTQ Native American Anthropology professor at Arizona State University. They reacted with tributes and grief when a controversial former professor and anti-sexual harassment #metoo crusader named BethAnn McLaughlin announced on Twitter that @Sciencing_Bi had died of COVID-19, blaming the university where @Sciencing_Bi supposedly worked for making people teach on campus during the pandemic.

But there were some snags, one of them being that ASU said what? No professors have died here. Professors at ASU said what???? Why weren’t we told? Professors in Anthropology at ASU asked around and found all their colleagues not dead.

However, what unfolded next is a complex and bizarre tale of accusations and confusion, as academics and others on social media are now accusing McLaughlin herself of possibly being @Sciencing_Bi and masquerading as a fake Native American professor online, ASU is saying it can’t come up with a death of any professor from COVID-19 recently, and Twitter has suspended both the accounts of McLaughlin and the now mysterious @Sciencing_Bi (as of the early morning hours of August 3).

People who had been friendly with @Sciencing_Bi (Twitter friendly) were upset about the tragic news and are now upset in a different way.

“Sad to report @Sciencing_Bi died from COVID this evening,” McLaughlin wrote on July 31, 2020. “She was a fierce protector of people. She let me take my shoulders away from my ears knowing she was meaner and more loving than everyone else. No one has ever had my back like that. I don’t know what I’m going to do.” In a eulogy on Twitter, she spun an elaborate narrative, saying that @Sciencing_Bi wanted them to get matching tattoos in an indigenous language and texted her daily. “Please read her timeline. She was forced by her university to teach in person until April,” McLaughlin tweeted. “Campus closed and she was in the hospital a week later. Be mad about COVID but be more mad that BIPOC community is most vulnerable and underrepresented on campus. We are killing them.”

@Sciencing_Bi wrote about her supposed battle with COVID-19 in dramatic terms. “ASU kept teachers, staff and students on campus until April. That’s well after we knew this was a killer disease. Many got covid. Including me,” read a May 23 tweet by @Sciencing_Bi, whose name on Twitter was given as only “Alepo” next to a rainbow flag.

It’s just weird.

It reminds me of Wally Smith all those years ago.

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