Not everyone felt inspired to improve the world after watching Emma Sulkowicz finish her senior art project Tuesday, when she carried her mattress across the stage during a Columbia University graduation event. On Wednesday morning, posters went up all over Manhattan's Upper West Side before the day's ceremony with Sulkowicz's picture emblazoned with the words "Pretty Little Liar" and "#RapeHoax."
The rape apologists behind the prank also put up posters with Lena Dunham's picture, but so far there are only two rape survivors who have been targeted by the stunt. The posters are getting a publicity boost from @Fakerape, a brand-new Twitter account that appears to be dedicated to posting photos of the posters around town and whining when disgusted passersby take them down.
Sulkowicz spent the past year carrying a mattress for her senior project, which was a performance piece about her school's response to sexual assault. Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight) attracted international attention and helped to make rape culture and sexual assault on college campuses one of the most discussed issues of the school year. The man who allegedly raped her is suing Columbia for violating his rights.
According to new research, the #fakerape harassment campaign doesn't have data or reality supporting its claims: A study published Wednesday by the Journal of Adolescent Health found that 18.6 percent of women at one school reported being the victim of a rape or attempted rape between the beginning of their freshman year and the end of their first summer break, according to Bloomberg News.
Unfortunately, it wasn't just faceless misogynist trolls who responded badly to Sulkowicz; Columbia's president and grown adult person Lee Bollinger refused to shake Sulkowicz's hand at Tuesday's Class Day ceremony. Sulkowicz told The New York Times that Tuesday marked the end of her project, and that she would attend the Wednesday graduation ceremony without the weight of the mattress.