This is a fact-free smear job, and Rantt Editorial Board / Jossif Ezekilov should feel bad about it. Your “proof” that I am a “propagandist for Russian interests” arises from what was very clearly and obviously a joke that I made on a Reddit AMA back when people like you were accusing anti-establishment lefties like me of being fake news and Russian propaganda, which you were 100 percent aware of if you read the thread. To back your claim that I have “written for Russia propaganda sites before” you cite two articles which a site called Russia Insider reprinted from blogs that I wrote for the Melbourne site Newslogue. Russia Insider makes this extremely clear in the beginning of the articles they re-printed with large “originally appeared at” hyperlinks to the original articles. And if you’re interested in facts, then you will be glad to know that I was never approached by them to republish either piece; they did that of their own volition. This is common practice, many sites do just this, and I’m suspiciously surprised that you didn’t consider this a possibility.

You are either extremely bad journalists, liars, or both. When you say that I am a “troll” who has been “hired” to spread alternative facts, you are either knowingly promulgating falsehoods or not doing the very bare minimum amount of research one needs to make before leveling such inflammatory accusations.

And yes, I have written a book on astrology, once many years ago as one of the many, many jobs I took to feed my children while I was struggling to support myself through university. I also wrote a book on how to play the harmonica. I was commissioned to do these in my capacity as a writer; they were not pitched by me, the company asked me to write them. In the four years it took me to complete my journalism degree, I had two pregnancies, two babies and wrote multiple books for this gift book company, often writing well into the night, breastfeeding at the same time. Damn anyone who makes that a bad thing. Like many young moms, I was superhuman in my efforts to support my babies and I refuse to be shamed for my achievements, such as they are. Those books are well written. I might not be an astrologer or a harmonica player or whatever but I did the subject justice and produced good work.

You’re welcome to have opinions about my writing but you are not welcome to publish falsehoods about me. I am not a Russian propagandist, I am a Melbourne mother and a reader-supported journalist who graduated with distinction from the most esteemed journalism program in Australia. I am a flawed human being, and I’m sure you can pick holes in that, but you’ll have to limit yourselves to flaws that actually exist. I demand a retraction with this letter included therein in full. I will not allow you to defame my character with so little research and such an insulting attitude towards the truth. It’s an insult to me but it’s an insult to the craft of journalism too. Your fake news is abhorrent to me. Do better.

— Caitlin Johnstone

I write about the end of illusions.

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