Let me get directly to the point of this post: Sol Orwell, founder and former owner of Examine.com, is a liar and today I’m going to show you why. Before I do that, let me say that I think Examine is a great resource. I refer to it frequently and refer others to it. This post has nothing to do with Examine (which Sol sold anyhow). It has only to do with Sol Orwell and a lie he told publicly about me.
The Start of Sol Orwell’s Lie
On October 26th, 2016, Sol Orwell made a post that started with a rambling bit about politics before turning somehow to racism within the fitness industry and using this as a springboard into claiming I am a racist.
He continues in his first comment on the post to not so subtly accuse me of using an unforgivable racial slur.
Along with a screencap that includes my Facebook profile picture, he states:
“This is the person who called me a sand n*****r”
So let me examine the entirety of this story in some detail.
Sol Orwell’s Claimed Racial Epithet
Without dwelling on it, I want to look at the supposed racial epithet Sol Orwell says I used towards him. The term has always been one that is used against Middle Easterners (you know, brown skinned people who live in the sand, etc.). I’m well aware of this fact as I am half Middle Eastern on my mother’s side (my last name throws off everyone). I’ve never had it used against me but most people never assume I’m Middle Eastern in the first place.
Now, Sol Orwell is of Pakistani descent (which borders India) so this specific racial epithet wouldn’t be appropriate to use towards him in the first place. Some of the things I said in the PM screenshot he posted below, sure. But “sand n*****r” is not applied to folks from Pakistan, who are culturally considered South Asian – not Middle Eastern.
I’d note, and anybody who knows me or has ever met me will attest to the fact that I do NOT use the n-word. I don’t say it, I won’t write it, I won’t sing it if it’s in music on the radio and I don’t particularly like to hear it. I grew up in the south, and there’s a lot of baggage around the word. I’m not even comfortable with typing it with *s and a screenshot I’ll put up later in this piece makes me vastly uncomfortable.
So basically not only did Sol Orwell lie, he told a really stupid lie by claiming I called him something that wouldn’t be appropriate to use towards him in the first place along with being a word I simply won’t use. You can search my entire Internet history of posting for the 20+ years I’ve been around. You’ll never find a single incidence of me using that word. Not one. Talk to people who have met me personally; they will attest to my dislike of this word.
So either my attitude towards this word changed recently or Sol Orwell is a liar.
It’s the latter.
Sol Orwell’s Post
This is the full text of Sol’s original post:
As the political season comes to an end in the US, I think it’s important to take a step back and remember what matters and what doesn’t.
Just because someone doesn’t agree with you politically doesn’t mean they are wrong. It DEFINITELY does not mean you can go and talk shit on their wall.
For example, I don’t necessarily agree with Layne Norton’s politics. But you know what? That’s OK. We definitely don’t go talking shit on each other’s wall. We definitely DO respect what each is learning and putting out there.
If you disagree with someone, think about how you would want to hear it. As a screech on your wall? As a public post by someone else calling you an idiot? As a verbal diarrhea of shit talk? Of course not! Reach out to them privately, and explain why you disagree. And not as a jackass, but as a real honest human.
If you think nutrition research can be contextual and nuanced, let me tell you… sociology/political research is 10x more of a headache.
Be the same online as you are offline
With that, there is one side that is *NOT* okay in any way. And I think because the political season is coming to an end, it’s really starting to rear it’s head… racism.
I’ve been in a lot of industries, and I gotta be honest – nothing is worse than fitness. I tend to laugh at the comments (like “go fly away on a magic carpet”… as always, I wish!), but some of the comments can be out there.
I’ve even had someone well known in the fitness industry call me a “sand nigger”…
Yet far more disheartening is the very people who coddle them. Especially people who say they are for “evidence” but blindly turn an eye to this kind of explicit evidence.
If fitness is ever to be taken seriously (beyond the nitpicking of the tiniest details so that anyone who understands what people want as a “marketer”), it HAS to shed itself of these individuals. This is shit that CANNOT be tolerated.
Following that post, his first comment included the following along with the screenshot I described above.
Since the above is of poor resolution, I have provided the link to the original post below:
Sol Orwell’s lie can be found here if he hasn’t deleted it already (as of November 17th, 2016, it is still up).
Sol Orwell’s Screenshot
In the screenshot, the conversation is between someone named Rohin and, well, that’s odd, the name of the other person has been blacked out/redacted. But it’s obviously me since I’ve been using the monkey with the big banana in his lap for years as my avatar. I wouldn’t claim it wasn’t me and everybody would instantly know it was me. Sol knew this.
Now first things first, I did say things in that private message that were completely inappropriate, unacceptable and out of line. I won’t begin to say otherwise. I looked at my PM records and this occurred in September of 2014 when I was in the most hypomanic phase I’ve ever been in (oh the stories I could tell). It would be that December that I got treatment, got medicated and shortly thereafter released an Open Apology to the Internet for my previous actions. Make no mistake, I am in no way trying to excuse my actions based on my bipolar disorder. I took full responsibility then and I still take full responsibility. I was out of control, got help, sucked it up, and apologized (along with making efforts to change my behavior online which is still a work in progress).
Note: When I mentioned my apology to Sol, he first claimed that he wasn’t aware of it which I have trouble believing since it blew up the Internet. Then he apparently claimed that I called him a sand n*****r after I made the apology. There is simply nothing consistent in his lies.
Anyhow, let me ask a few questions about Sol’s screenshot:
Why is my name redacted but the other person’s isn’t?
Telling a defamatory lie about someone in writing is libel. Sol may be a liar but he’s not stupid. I suspect he figures that by never saying publicly that “Lyle McDonald called me a sand n*****r” and only implying it, he thinks he’s free from repercussions.
This hasn’t stopped him from sending PM’s to people claiming that I said it. But that’s not a public statement, now is it? So it’s not technically libel. But why would he say it directly in PM but not publicly? The above is the answer: if he outright says “Lyle McDonald called me…..” and that statement is a lie which defames my reputation (which it does), it’s libel.
Consider the fact that, in all of Sol’s ranting about me, he ignores that the other person was making violent physical threats against me. I guess Sol is the type who considered hurting someone’s feeling to be worse than intimidating them with actual violence. Given that I have taken full responsibility for my actions, why is the other person exempt from judgment?
Here’s the most important question: if Sol has a screenshot of a PM from 2014 that he can post, why doesn’t have have a screenshot of the supposed conversation in which I allegedly called him a sand n*****r? Why is the only “evidence” that this happened him asserting that it did?
I’ve never met Sol Orwell in person, we’ve never emailed that I am aware of, and any interaction would have been via Facebook which keeps permanent logs of all PM conversations.
If I had truly called him what he claims, he’d have shown proof because he would have saved that proof for eternity. If it could have been screenshot, it would have been and he would have posted that instead of the other screenshot. If it had been in email, he’d have saved it and would have posted the content of the email.
He has done neither and won’t ever do either because no proof exists.
He hasn’t provided an ounce of evidence that I actually said what he claims. He has no way to back up his assertion, which should be very easy to prove if it had actually happened.
More on Sol Orwell’s Post
Before I was made aware of Sol’s post, a number of people apparently attempted to respond to his allegations in defense of me. All of these comments were deleted, the people making the comments were often blocked or unfriended. In contrast, all negative comments against me were allowed to remain. He can only uphold this narrative through blatant censorship.
My Post to Sol Orwell’s Wall
Although I made a few shorter posts calling him out, I sat down and wrote a rather long, calm post to share on his wall. It was deleted almost instantly and it was after this that he denied knowing about my apology to the Internet.
The text is pasted below and it ended with a link to my apology. I’ve cleaned up some typos for clarity but none of the content was changed.
So Sol, first off good on you for deleting each and every positive comment towards me. Gotta keep up your narrative and perhaps your readers will wonder what you deleted and why.
So you also posted the screenshot of the thing I wrote about East Indians. That was during a particularly nasty flamewar during one my hypomanic phases. I regret saying it, I have apologized publicly for it. At the time I was undiagnosed and unmedicated for Bipolar II.
This does not excuse those actions (recall my apology, the link to which you conveniently deleted to maintain your narrative), but I am diagnosed and medicated, now. Inasmuch as you are rightly railing against racism, why are you discriminating against undiagnosed mental illness? Discrimination is discrimination, my little hypocritical friend.
So a few questions
1. If someone truly called you a sand-n word, why have you not produced a screenshot of that conversation?
2. If I am the one you are suggesting said it, why have you not produced a screenshot of the conversation and me saying it to you?
3. Why can you only post a screenshot of something else that I said?
Hint: because what you are claiming was said was never said. Or you would provide PROOF that it was said. You haven’t because you can’t. It’s that simple. Assertions require proof. You have provided none.
4. Inasmuch as the SINGLE screenshot you provided of me being ‘racist’ has been addressed above, a final question: have you ever known a TRULY racist person to make a singular horrible comment and never again? No, racists are full-time racists. I said one thing in the fit of mania and have never made a comment of that sort ever again. Ever.
Perhaps you should consider talking to someone about your issues.
Hopefully a few people will see this before your delete it and see who you really are. Or perhaps not.
My life goes on either way but you need to get over the severe emotional trauma of me being mean to you and blocking you. Bro, it’s just Facebook.
Oh yeah, for those who didn’t see it before Sol deleted it:
Sol Orwell Defames me to Colleagues
But it doesn’t stop there. Apparently Sol Orwell has such an issue with me that he PM’ed many others in the industry and told them that they are bad people for being friends with me (usually when they shared one of my articles or posts).
Here is a screenshot of a PM he sent someone in the industry after they shared one of my articles. This is the one that makes me uncomfortable but I’m not redacting a line so you can see him explicitly lie about me and claim I said something I never I did.
Note that he uses my name clearly above.
Clearly Sol Orwell is more than happy to explicitly say “Lyle McDonald called me….” in private as evidenced by the above screen shot. So why did he only infer it in his original post? Why the inconsistency in his actions?
Once again, if he publicly writes something that is both untrue and defamatory it is considered libel. Which means that there is only one reason he would use my name privately but not publicly:
He knows it’s a lie.
Am I Racist?
I want to hammer home a point I made in the post I made to Sol’s wall that he deleted.
Sol is claiming I’m a racist based on a single exchange I had during a singularly bad hypomanic phase (again, I’m not defending my actions, simply providing context for them). Yet he can’t provide an iota of evidence of any other racist comments of mine. Not one, and certainly not the one he says I made. He has exactly one inappropriate PM I sent to exactly one person 2 years ago.
Does anybody reading this know racists who aren’t racist 24/7? No, you do not. True racists spew racist epithets all the time. And I don’t. You check my entire Internet posting history and at most you’ll find some very off-color jokes.
As someone put it, my language is colorful but a racist I am not. As well, I adhere to the George Carlin school of thought, which states that disliking someone on the basis of their skin color or sex is absurd… get to really know someone and you can find real reasons to dislike them!
Calling Sol Orwell Defenders and Apologists
Just as people defended Alwyn Cosgrove when he plagiarized me outright (the best being a guy who said that since I was an asshole it was okay for Alwyn to steal from me), I expect people to continue to defend and act as an apologist for Sol Orwell on this issue. It is what it is and facts won’t sway those who believe what he says despite his complete lack of proof.
I’ve already been told that I should address this with Sol privately to resolve this. Let me get this straight: he tells defamatory lies about me publicly and I’m supposed to talk to him privately?
As if it would matter anyway. First, Sol is claiming a slur to him that I never made in the first place. How am I supposed to resolve something that is completely fabricated? Am I supposed to apologize for something I never did in the first place?
Second, his actions of deleting every post on his wall, blocking and/or unfriending people for disagreeing demonstrates that he’s not open to a dialogue about this.
I suspect at this point that he even believes his lie. Nevermind that he has no proof, nevermind reality, it’s part of his internal narrative now. And even if he knows he’s lying, he’s too deep in to ever admit it. So what would discussing anything with him accomplish?
Nothing, that’s what.
I expect that the majority of apologism for Sol Orwell will be nothing but criticisms of me, implying that I somehow deserve the consequences of his lie. They will say that Lyle is an asshole, that Lyle said one shitty thing in 2014 and therefore that Lyle must have said something that there is zero evidence for. People will use whatever mental gymnastics required to ignore the truth about this and that’s fine.
I can’t make people listen but I can set the record straight.
Which is why I wrote this. Sol can control the flow of information on his own wall but he sure as hell can’t control what I put up to let everyone know what he’s doing and who he really is.
And that’s what I’ve done.
- Sol Orwell claims I called him a “Sand n*****r” (a racial epithet that doesn’t refer to individuals of Pakistani descent in the first place, so the lie itself makes zero sense).
- As evidence, he posted a screenshot from a private exchange I had in 2014 where he carefully blacked out my name. Knowing that publicly defaming someone is libel, Sol has been careful never to directly say “Lyle McDonald called me….” except in PM to people in the industry that he has said should unfriend me.
- Despite having the screenshot of my exchange with another person, Sol has yet to provide an iota of evidence that I said what he claims. If he had the above screenshot saved, why wouldn’t he have saved the one where I supposedly used a racial slur against him?
And all of this adds up to one simple conclusion: Sol Orwell is lying through his teeth.