Journalist outs transgender con man while investigating story - Unethical or not?

In this byzantine story a purported scientist and inventor promoting an innovative golf club design that actually (apparently) works better than the competition, however when the scenario is investigated by a journalist wanting to do a story on the interesting origin and evolution of the device the scientist turns out to be a transgender auto fleet mechanic and (it appears) a probable con man.

During the course of the story the journalist effectively outs the transgender status of the person to al least one person, an investor in the project to bring the club to market. The transgender scientist/mechanic killed themselves some months after they stopped talking to the journalist. Many people criticized the journalist for doing this as they felt even if the person was a con man they were entitled to gender privacy.

As a journalist is it germane and ethical or non-german and unethical when discussing a person who is criminally misrepresenting themselves academically, professionally and accomplishment-wise to discuss or reveal their transgender status with people whom you are interviewing for the the article?

“The pitch of her voice was strange, too — deeper than expected. She said it was the result of a collapsed larynx she had suffered in a car crash.”"
Her deceit touched on the topic. she opened the door to it.

Since Dr. V lied about everything else I’m not willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he was actually even transgendered. The “pretty woman walking toward me in a miniskirt,’ might just have been part of the con.

“The goddamn Germans ain’t got nothin’ to do with it!” – Unnamed Louisiana Sheriff

I read the whole thing, but you might have prepared us for the length.

(S)he was a con. The reporter only reported the truth. Not much wrong with that.

Was the gender status part of the con? Did the con-artist somehow “trade on” gender as part of what she / he was doing?

If it’s not relevant, it shouldn’t have been revealed. If it forms part of the con, then it should have.

I find it telling that the journalist appeared utterly unconcerned at the suicide of the subject of his article. It was reported like a curious epilogue, like “gosh, she killed herself, who’d have thunk it.” He didn’t even seem to try to talk to anyone in her life after that. Just a shrug. Considering that the suicide was what got the article published in the first place, he could have tried to treat her with a little more human dignity after her death.

Unnecessary and intrusive, and the comments here help show why.

But then, as seen from the recent Katie Couric / Carmen Carerra and Laverne Cox interview, people aren’t concerned with things like good taste, respect, or basic decency if they can get a cheap thrill out of othering others.

Well, I have no idea about Katie Couric / Carmen Carerra and Laverne Cox.

I am curious about “othering others” though.

Anyway, although not germane to the putter invention, it does indeed provide insight into the overall story. I still think it’s perfectly OK.

The incredibly complicated con was that an amazing golf club was invented by a female engineer who had worked on top secret government projects and was a descendant of Cornelius Vanderbilt, but who didn’t actually play golf herself. It’s difficult to tell from the story how much Dr. V was trading on sexuality since it’s wrapped up in everything else.

Whether or not Dr. V was a male playing the role of a woman or an actual transsexual it’s pretty clear the person was batshit crazy.

Ah yes, the people who steadfastly refused to talk to him when he was trying to learn about and vet this person. You seriously think any of them would have given him the time of day? Come on.

I tried, unsuccessfully, to find a link on Twitter that I followed the other day. Someone had written a blog post to show that all of the fraud could have been shown equally well with the omission of “Dr V”'s outing. She posted the article with her edits clearly marked and annotated, and it read almost exactly the same, except for the salacious bits about how Dr V was, gasp, born a dude.

What mattered was the fraud regarding academic qualifications and the club’s design. The author himself clearly includes statements from Dr V that show she was afraid of being outed, that she didn’t want the article to be about her but instead the club and the science behind it. He completely ignored that, and made it personal. There was no professional reason to do so. Her fraud would have been equally apparent and convincingly reported without reference to her transgender status.

Tricky question. Whilst the journalist was simply reporting a fact, the fact was not relevant to the article. I think that I am more on the side of finding the action unethical. However I feel that I am open to persuasion at this point in time.

There was quite the negative response after this article had time to leak out beyond the Grantland (which is an ESPN project) audience. In addition to a long apology from Bill Simmons, the editor-in-chief of Grantland. This piece was published by ESPN baseball writer Christina Kahrl, who is herself transgender.

To be honest, I’m pretty surprised at the amount of misgendering of Dr. V in this thread, including its title.

Also, I thought this response by Tom Scocca captured things perfectly. The overall piece by Hannan was a story that ultimately went nowhere and unnecessarily led to the death of a woman. Her death was treated as more or less an odd footnote to the story.

You mean this, I assume?

I read the entire article.

I thought it was an okay article but felt it was more like reading a treatment for a book or something: it seemed like a rough draft of what was obviously going to be a much longer, more in-depth piece. It was definitely interesting, in the way that any investigation that results in more questions than answers can be.

I’m unsure as to exact timeline here tho. It seems that the article was just published a week or so ago; is that correct?

If it is correct, and this “Dr. V” killed herself before the publication of the article, I cannot understand what anyone thinks that Hannen did wrong.

If that is incorrect, and “Dr. V” killed herself after publication, I might be able to understand the viewpoint that Hannen did something wrong, but I don’t think I’d share it.

No good piece of shit talent-less stupid petty dog cock sucking hack “journalist” harasses sort of screwed up transgendered person until they commit suicide. Piece of shit talent-less no good for anything hack tabloid “writer” publishes hoping to make a few cents, which I dearly hope that piece of shit no good talent-less dog’s spooge hole never makes.

May Caleb the dog’s dick sucker rot in hell, if there is one.

Just MHO.

Don’t hold back, dude. Tell us how you really feel.

You can’t out what’s blatantly obvious to anyone with a pair of eyes. The reporter just said what everyone was already thinking anyhow. If someone wants to change their pronoun, have surgery, and dress the part that’s great. But they rarely fool anyone for very long. Just being honest. I really have no dog in this fight. I could care less what someone else does with their life.