Netflix Revealed Lesbian Mom’s L Word Habit, Lawsuit Claims

THE INCREDIBLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF A CLOSETED LESBIAN MOM: A closeted lesbian Mom is suing Netflix for privacy invasion, “alleging the movie rental company made it possible for her to be outed when it disclosed insufficiently anonymous information about nearly half-a-million customers as part of its $1 million contest to improve its recommendation system.”

We thought this would be a good time to unearth this L Word Season 4 Recap graphic. DO IT! DO IT!

We thought this would be a good time to unearth this L Word Season 4 Recap graphic. DO IT! DO IT!

We had to read the article a few times to get it, but it seems Netflix created a contest for really smart people to develop a new algorithm to predict what customers would like to watch, and thusly gave out customer data “with fanfare” to competitors with no regard for their customer’s privacy and without sufficient protection of the customer’s identity [customers’ names were not given out, they were identified by random digits, which the Mom claims was enough to deduce her identity. That’s true, but if she ever comments on a board or blog anywhere, we can track her down via IP address anyhow, so … well anyhow]. It’s an interesting case w/r/t public vs. private info on the internet, but we also had to ask how badly does this Franklin County, Ohio-dwelling lesbian Mom really want to be anonymous and closeted if she’s launching a multi-million dollar lawsuit against a major corporation in a new area of privacy protection law?

The suit known as Doe v. Netflix (pdf) has a few humdingers!:

Jane Doe, a lesbian, who does not want her sexuality nor interests in gay and lesbian themed films broadcast to the world, seeks anonymity in this action.

To some, renting a movie such as “Brokeback Mountain” or even “The Passion of the Christ” can be a personal issue that they would not want published to the world.

The Brokeback Mountain Factor is described thusly: Our secrets, great or small, can now without our knowledge hurtle around the globe at the speed of light, preserved indefinitely for future recall in the elec- tronic limbo of computer memories. These technological and economic changes in turn have made legal barriers more essential to the preservation of our privacy.

Maybe it’s just sad that we live in a world where needing to stay in the closet is so serious that you’d actually sue a video rental company over it. We understand the principle behind it — she’s right, and it has grave implications. But surely a customer complaint would’ve been a better starting point. Maybe she just doesn’t want her girlfriend to know she liked Go Fish.

WOMAN GO TAKE YOUR PILLS: Samantha Bee investigates the White House’s initiative to ship balls around to schoolchildren and get them decorated for the White House “holiday” spirit. It’s amazing. Watch it:

FACEBOOK: So, ya know how when you logged into Facebook last week you were greeted with fancy new privacy settings? Turns out many privacy settings were also completely removed, making some information involuntarily public.  (@gawker)

Relatedly, an examination of dating in a world where we tend to text, G-chat and worst of all, Facebook friend our dates before getting to know them: “It dawned on me recently on a particularly silent first date, while chewing a mouthful of appetizer, that I’d already been on a first date with this girl. Not literally, of course — just without the rubbery calamari. She and I had emailed about a half dozen times, swapped multiple texts and, in a moment of weakness, exchanged a minor flurry of G-chats. It’s not that I had nothing left to say to her — just nothing within the realm of easy, first-date rapport. Have you ever done this? Just blazed through all the simple biographical stuff before your first meeting, only to be left on your first date staring holes into a breadbasket?” (@lemondrop)

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Several years ago in my college Soc of Gender class we saw the film “Defending Our Lives.” I think our teacher was out so they’d just given the substitute a film to show and we expected something as ambivalently affecting as it was ambivalently presented. But this movie, which told the stories of four women imprisoned for defending themselves following years of being beaten, raped and tortured by their husbands or boyfriends, opened my eyes to the severity of a situation I didn’t know much about — as in, I wasn’t aware that women who killed their abusive husbands in self-defense were incarcirated so swiftly without proper legal representation. Even with evidence of severe assault at the hands of their abusers, battered women who claim self defense are only acquitted 25 percent of the time and those sentenced serve an average of 15 years (the average for men who kill their wives is 2-6 years). Somewhere between 2,000-4,000 women are currently in jail for defending themselves against abusers.

I thought of that movie when I saw this story on Jezebel today about a new HBO documentary. I’ll warn you that it’s a lot to handle, but if you can, you should really take five minutes to look at it: “In 2005, Wendy Maldonado smashed in her husband’s skull with a hammer, while her 16-year-old son assisted with a hatchet. The documentary Every F—-ing Day of My Life explores what led the Maldonados to commit such gruesome acts.” (Sidenote: for more information about domestic violence in same-sex relationships, visit the LGBTQ Anti-Violence Project website.)

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3200 articles for us.


  1. Just wanted to say I totally understand about the being on a first date and realising that you’d already effectively been dating for a while.

    It was one of the reasons I kinda gave up online dating, because by the time came to have the first date, you couldn’t really have a first date of getting to know one another, with all the boundaries and appropriateness of a first date. Namely, because, all the first-date stuff had already been talked about before you actually met.

    I just felt that something was missing in the dating process to be honest, so I stopped doing it. Meant I got way fewer dates out of things, but I got way more meaningful ones …

  2. The Netflix thing is absurd for the sole notion that there is no anonymity online. The minute a person starts signs up for e-mail, leaves a comment on a blog or forum or signs up for a newsletter, they are giving up their right for privacy.

    If she wanted to watch lesbian-themed content and remain anonymous, she should’ve looked for alternate options.

  3. Also, when they say “closeted lesbian mom”, what does that mean? That she has a husband and kids? That she has a wife and kids? ‘Cause I think she’s giving it all away herself if she has a husband and is actually a lesbian.

  4. I am extremely upset with the new Facebook settings. People are poking me and adding me as friends.. UGH! Just leave me alone. If I wanted to be your friend I would have found you years ago when i fist got facebook.

  5. I get that there are privacy issues in the Netflix case. I do. I also don’t judge people who remain closeted. That said, the lawsuit is over the top. Liking Brokeback Mountain doesn’t mean you’re queer, it means that you are queer friendly. If she wants to be closeted (and I don’t judge that part), then she shouldn’t rate queer movies online and then shouldn’t file a big newsy lawsuit about being outed. Seriously. If I could make a lol cat right now, it would say: CLOSETED? UR DOIN IT WRONG

    The Sam Bee video was hilarious and those girls were awesome.

    • Yeah it’s weird to me that she wants to participate in online networking as a lesbian, but remain closeted in real life, and expects that dichotomy to be endorsed & protected by Netflix of all people.

      I realize that she’ll probably win the case, because our video watching habits are specifically quite protected under the law. But like if she wants to stay closeted — she can’t have her cake and eat it too! Yeah, what the LOLCat said! I just think this kind of thing isn’t necessarily the best PR for lesbians, I wish someone else was suing. La la la. I don’t know why I think this way.

  6. The social media first date stuff is painfully true. Then again, it’s my own fault. My dates generally know not only my basic biographical information, but also what packer I ordered that particular week. One could argue I overshare on Twitter just a tiny bit…

  7. Cause suing is gonna help you stay in the closet. I just wanna pull her into a closet like Aster did Vivian and show her what her life looks like.

    Lmao “woman, go take your pills” was definitely the funniest part of that video.

    Omg… the domestic violence documentary. The clip… When he kicked the deer in the head was disturbing enough… The rest I can’t even bare to speak on.

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