New York Magazine Fights to Get Cosby Story out Despite Hacking

Publication Uses Social Media to Avert Unexpected Snag

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New York Magazine: 'Cosby: The Women' Cover
New York Magazine: 'Cosby: The Women' Cover

New York Magazine made a bold statement by putting 35 of the women who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault on its cover this week. Now, it's fighting to get the story out after a huge snag.

Within hours of New York debuting the story online on Sunday night, its website crashed, due to an an alleged DDoS attack from an "anti-NYC" hacker named ThreatKing. The site relaunched Monday afternoon. The hacker told The Daily Dot he hates New York and intends to do more damage to other New York institutions' online platforms.

A self-described hacker called ThreatKing, who says he hates New York City, claims he has successfully overwhelmed the site with a distributed denial-of-service attack, overloading its servers with traffic.

While ThreatKing said he took no issue with the cover story, some, including Wired Magazine's Emily Dreyfuss, believe that the hacking follows a tradition of "victim silencing" long faced by sexual assault survivors:

... it reeks of victim silencing. For 35 women to come out and accuse one of the entertainment industry's most powerful men of repeated sexual abuse is an act of defiance against a history of systemic silencing. Whether the alleged DDoS attacker knew it, by taking the story offline he is following in a grand tradition of keeping women's stories from being heard -- a tradition the story itself is trying to break.

New York used social media to counteract the site's crash, promoting the story by posting excerpts from the audio recordings of the interviews with the women to Instagram. In addition, it's published the entire piece on Tumblr.

Work on the feature began six months ago, and profiles 35 of the 46 women who have accused Bill Cosby of rape. The group consists of women ranging from celebrities and models to journalists. On the bottom right hand side of the cover photo also sits an empty chair, spurring on a debate about victim blaming and other issues sexual assault survivors face via the hashtag #TheEmptyChair.

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