Feminists are sounding alarms online about the return to cyberspace of a male blogger who sexually assaulted a fellow college student in early 2007.

Kyle Payne, a self-described male feminist and anti-pornography activist, was an undergraduate at Iowa’s Buena Vista University, working as a resident advisor in BVU’s dorms, when he undressed and videotaped an unconscious, intoxicated student under his care. 

Months after the assault, while his crime was still unknown, Payne began blogging on pornography, sexual violence, and other issues from a pro-feminist perspective. He continued to do so, without acknowledging his wrongdoing, even after he was arrested for, and pled guilty to, the assault. It was not until he was on the brink of incarceration that publicity forced him to admit his crime on his blog.

Both the fact of Payne’s crime and the manner in which he chose to discuss it generated tremendous outrage among feminist bloggers, and that outrage was revived and intensified last month when Payne, released from a six-month jail term, began blogging again.

Payne’s earliest post-incarceration posts made no mention of his crime or his punishment, although they did include reprints of pro-feminist essays he had written before the scandal broke — including several relating specifically to campus rape prevention. In response to subsequent criticism, he added a disclaimer referring to the sexual assault to his earlier pro-feminist and anti-rape posts, though no mention of his crime appears on the front page of his blog or in his new posts. (He discloses it at the very end of his “Blogger Bio” page, in a one-sentence statement that refers to the assault as a “non-violent sexual offense.”)

For a sampling of response to Payne’s return to blogging, see Renegade EvolutionNatalia Antonova, and Hugo Schwyzer.