Canadian pundit, Wikipedia founder in messy breakup
Rachel Marsden, the right-wing pundit better known in Canada for a series of scandals in her personal life, has apparently had a messy breakup with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
The Vancouver, B.C., native posted photos of herself on eBay on Sunday to accompany items she says were left behind in her New York City apartment by Wales, the Wikipedia creator who has confirmed he was briefly involved with her.
Wikipedia, a popular online encyclopedia, has an entry on Marsden that has itself been the subject of controversy.
"Hi, my name is Rachel and my [now ex-] boyfriend, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, just broke up with me via an announcement on Wikipedia," Marsden says in her eBay posting.
"It was such a classy move that I was inspired to do something equally classy myself, so I'm selling a couple of items of clothing he left behind, here in my NYC apartment, on eBay. Jimbo was supposed to come visit me in a couple of weeks and pick up some of his stuff, but obviously that won't be happening now."
In an e-mail exchange with The Canadian Press on Sunday, Marsden, 33, had this to say:
"It didn't really help matters that Jimmy chose to announce the breakup to the entire world via Wikipedia (which apparently now is an online encyclopedia that doubles as a personal soapbox?) rather than to me directly (which he did much later, in an instant message discussion)."
A quick scan of Marsden's Wikipedia page reveals that a battle of epic proportions has been playing out for years between Marsden and her supporters and various Wikipedia editors concerning references to her past legal troubles.
Marsden was given a conditional discharge in 2004 with one year's probation for criminally harassing a Vancouver radio host following their breakup.
She first came to the attention of Canadians in the late 1990s, when she accused a swim coach at Simon Fraser University of sexual harassment. But the swim coach, who was fired and later reinstated, claimed that she had stalked him, although his allegations were never proven.
Wales himself once waded into the battle about Marsden's Wikipedia page after Marsden contacted him to complain. He ruled that the article didn't meet Wikipedia standards.
That left him in an apparently uncomfortable spot when it was recently revealed by the tech blog Valleywag that he had embarked upon a personal relationship with Marsden. The story, complete with supposed transcripts of their instant message exchanges, set the blogosphere on fire.
Wales posted a statement on Wikipedia on Saturday to explain himself and to say the relationship was over.
"First, while I find it hard to imagine that anyone really cares about my sex life, the facts are: I am separated from my wife. I considered myself single at the time of my one meeting with Rachel Marsden on Feb. 9, 2008," he wrote.
"I am no longer involved with Rachel Marsden. Gossipy stories suggesting that I have been in a relationship with her 'since last fall' are completely false … I care deeply about the integrity of Wikipedia, and take very seriously my responsibilities as a member of the board and as a member of the Wikipedia community. I would never knowingly do anything to compromise that trust."
Fired by Fox
Marsden, a onetime pundit for Fox News Channel, was fired from the show Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld last year. She also had her weekly column for the Sun chain of newspapers discontinued.
Most recently, Marsden accused a former boyfriend, a counterterrorism officer for the Ontario Provincial Police, of leaking secret anti-terrorism documents to her.
The allegations, which were published on her blog last September, resulted in an investigation into the officer's conduct. He then laid charges of harassment against Marsden, but those charges were dropped.
On her eBay posting, Marsden assures potential buyers that both of the items she's selling are in tip-top condition and apologizes for her appearance.
"Sorry my hair is such a mess — I'm in breakup mode right now and really couldn't be bothered," she says.
In the e-mail exchange, Marsden said she was unconcerned about what might happen to her Wikipedia page in the aftermath of her breakup with Wales. Wikipedia is an open-concept online encyclopedia that anyone can contribute to.
"I don't really pay much attention to it anymore. It's pretty ridiculous. I view it as a giant graffiti board for people with axes to grind — or for guys named Jimbo Wales who want to dump their girlfriends."