When Sarah Figalora of ABC News and 20/20 contacted me asking for an interview about the “manosphere,” I accepted, assuming that she and her producer Steven Schnee were genuinely interested in hearing my ideas. Instead, the two of them pulled a bait-and-switch and attempted to exploit me for their own agenda.
It began several months ago when I got this email:
Name: Sarah Figalora
Comment: Hi Matt,
I hope that this is the most convenient way to contact you, I couldn’t find a number or email address so hopefully you’ll get this message. I’m from ABC News 20/20 and we’re doing a story on the “Manosphere” and I would love to talk with you further about maybe helping us out. If you could send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your number or a way to contact you directly that would be great, I unfortunately don’t have a permanent direct line (I tend to shift desks a lot) but my producer, Steve, is at (***) ***-**** if you’d rather just give him a call.
Thank you, and I really hope you consider working with us!
(Also, as a side note, please answer this privately)
Time: July 11, 2013 at 1:32 pm
IP Address: ***.***.**.*
Contact Form URL: http://mattforney.com/contact/
Sent by an unverified visitor to your site.
I replied thusly:
I’d be happy to help you out. My number is ***-***-****; I’ll be available Tues.-Fri. of next week from 3pm-9pm EST if you want to schedule an interview.
I arranged a “pre-interview” over the phone for the next day. During the phone call, both Figalora and her producer were consistently insulting to me, alternately attempting to butter me up and tear me down: at one point, Schnee called me a “pussy.” The kicker came midway through the call. I had just gotten explaining my views on single mothers when Schnee and Figalora revealed their intentions to me.
“Hmmm.” Schnee said. “Where did you go to college?”
“Uh… the University at Albany. Why do you ask?”
“It’s just that we thought you were gonna be angry, but you’re very articulate and well-spoken, and you back up your views with a lot of statistics.”
“We’re looking for angry and passionate guys and you kinda surprised us with how well you’ve thought your views out,” Sarah interjected.
It was then that it hit me: Figalora and her producer wanted to interview me solely because they thought I would flip out on camera and make myself look like an idiot. The fact that I was eloquent and had thought my views out carefully stymied them.
It’s clear from her and her producer’s behavior that Sarah Figalora has engaged in, if not outright fraud, unethical and dishonest reporting. As a journalist, Figalora has an obligation to report the truth to the best of her ability. She chose to abdicate this duty in favor of smear artistry instead. It’s an absolute embarrassment that a major news organization allows someone this ethically compromised to work for them. I’m publishing my story to ensure that no one else is harmed or tricked by this woman.
For the complete story about my interview with Sarah Figalora and ABC, click here: “When ABC Met the Manosphere… and Me.” Additionally, my friend Jack Donovan was also pre-interviewed by Figalora and Schnee, and you can read about his experience here: “He Said, She Said, They Said: 20/20, The Daily Caller, Salon, the KKK and Media Shenanigans.”
For more about how ABC and 20/20 lied about the manosphere in their reporting, check out these articles: