30 Years After The Scandal - Tell All, Or Keep Mum?

Almost 30 years ago, there was a bit of a political scandal that hit the media and was fairly big news for about two weeks.
I was indirectly involved, in the sense that I knew what really happened, first hand.
However, those involved asked me and many others to avoid talking to the press, and we did. There were reporters snooping around and trying to get info, but those in the know did an admirable job of not talking.

First of all, this was more of a personal issue - yes, it had to do with sex - and it didn’t really have anything “political” about it, other than there was someone in politics involved and it helped sell newspapers. It had nothing to do with espionage or personal financial gain, etc. Just a sex scandal.

That person was a pretty good friend, and the real story had more to do with love scorned and an attempt at blackmail that backfired - the love scorned leaked a wildly inaccurate story to the press in retaliation when they didn’t get paid off.

I happened to run across a Wikipedia entry regarding this person, and the scandal, and realized that they were still implying the story is true. Although there was the smallest grain of truth to the story, the rest was pure fabrication and lies.

That friend in politics died quite some time ago, as have all of the close friends who asked that the story remain secret. To be honest, until I stumbled across the entry, I had almost forgotten about it.

A part of me would like to go onto Wikipedia and set the record straight - and tell what really happened.
However, another part of me thinks that it was that person’s wish that the story simply fade away; the problem is, it hasn’t faded away and is still being referenced as if it were true.

Is 30 years later enough time to ignore those wishes and come clean with the real story - or should I just forget about it and let the proverbial sleeping dog lie?

I’m not seeing a down side to setting the record straight.

How exactly would you establish your credentials on Wikipedia anyway? Otherwise, I’m foreseeing a revert in your future.

Original research – which is what your statement would amout to – is not allowed on Wikipedia. If you can cite a previously published article which questions this man’s veracity, go for it. Otherwise, don’t bother.

(Naturally, you realize that we’re all dying to know which scandal you’re talking about…)

Exactly. The only way for you to get things fixed on Wikipedia is to be featured in an interview in a publication of some kind and then use that as a source to change the article. Even then, your side of the story wouldn’t be presented as fact in the article- it’d be just that, your side of the story.

Fair enough - it is this.
I lived in Berlin.
Allan was staying at my apartment during that infamous Easter Week.

I presume your complaint is this bit:

Did he accept the story was true or not? If so, what is there to say? If not, delete that bit on the basis no cite is given. Plus you could change “revealed” to “alleged”.

That is probably a better approach.

He accepted only that he was injured in Berlin and required hospital treatment (a grand total of two stitches, and in and out of the hospital in less than an hour).

However, the Wikipedia story implies that the rest of the story was also true - and that Allan admitted it as well - which is not true. The implication in the article is that the entire story is true.

Then again, does the truth really matter 30 years later to anyone but me? Perhaps I just answered my own question.

It’s 30 years past, and the people involved are dead. There is nothing to be gained by fighting on Wiki about this. You’ll just be treated as all random people on Wiki are that can’t provide written proof.

So change “revealed” to “alleged” which is unarguably a valid edit, and then change “accepted the story was true” to “admitted he had been injured in Berlin and required minor hospital treatment”. You have no cite but neither does the existing sentence, and you’ve removed the implication that concerns you.

‘treated and released’ might indicate how minor the injury really was.

Agree with Princhester. The approach isn’t to add your version(which is undocumented), it’s to challenge the current version. If there was never any solid proof, it should be withdrawn from an encyclopedia anyway.


I don’t see how setting the record straight detracts from the world. Allowing a falsehood to stand lends it legitimacy that it doesn’t deserve. It sounds like the person writing the article in Wikipedia was going by what was reported at the time, which was not the whole truth. You actually have knowledge of the whole truth. I understand your desire to respect your friend’s wishes, but as you say, the story hasn’t completely faded, and it is in danger of remaining on the permanent record in its untrue state, which doesn’t do your friend justice. I think the edits suggested are fair.