First, a preamble: We would like, if we can, to keep the Grimes-ishness of this particular Newswire to a minimum. Which is tricky, since it’s about Grimes, but even so: Please take as read any jokes you might need to see in this space about Elon Musk, secret babies, the hair curses of Azealia Banks, etc.
This story, instead, is about an anecdote that Grimes told to Vanity Fair very recently, as part of a larger profile of the musician ahead of her upcoming album, Book 1. As part of its “10 moments” series, the publication showed Grimes a picture of her kissing an unnamed woman, and got a casual confession of apparent actual cybercrime back in response.
Specifically, Grimes recounts how that particular photo (from 2012) got “leaked,” causing her to get “canceled” “before the woke era.” Which is to say that it ended up on Hipster Runoff, a blog firmly situated in that earlier era of the internet when a talent for brutal and nasty comedy, a dab hand at memecraft, and absolutely no worries about choosing targets could launch an anonymous, one-person outfit to success.
Grimes did not enjoy Hipster Runoff creator Carles’ take on the photo, or what it supposedly said about her career—or several other stories he’d penned about her in the early days of same—so she turned to an unnamed friend at a video game company to help out. Said friend proceeded, in Grimes’ words, to “DDOS” Hipster Runoff—that is, run a dedicated denial of service attack on the site, rendering it inoperable. (An interview from Carles at that time, by VICE—which we found through this piece by Jackie Singh—reveals that the attack was actually quite a bit more damaging than that description makes it sound, reportedly destroying back-ups of most of the site’s posts in the process.) Grimes then, in language we’re guessing no lawyer okayed, “basically blackmailed” Carles into taking the article about her down.
The wildest thing about this—and this is where, tragically, an inevitable patina of Grimes-ishness can’t be kept off the furnishings—is the matter-of-fact pride Grimes exhibits about her “coolest hacker moment.” This is clearly not, in the telling, an admission of wrongdoing—although it is, by even a pretty loose reading of various U.S. cybercrimes laws, probably a crime; it’s a story about Grimes using cleverness (and connections to someone at a video game company) to beat a bully at his own game. Acceptance of that narrative is going to hinge, obviously, on how Grimesaphilic you might already be. (And on your attitude toward the “indiscriminate, blistering meanness” style of pop culture satire Hipster Runoff once represented.) In any case: Hipster Runoff is dead, and Grimes is still here. (Grimes’ secret baby is also still here.)