Grimes apparently admitted to a cybersecurity crime, and she did so with a smile on her face. As first reported by tech and security expert Jackie Singh, Grimes bragged about hacking, blackmailing and extorting music blog Hipster Runoff in a new interview with Vanity Fair.
The relevant admission was not in the printed article, but rather in a supplement video uploaded to YouTube. During the interview, Grimes was shown a series of photographs and asked to explain the stories behind them. One image, from 2012, showed her kissing a woman with long blonde hair.
“Oh yeah, ok, so this one is funny, I always wanted to tell the story of this one,” Grimes said. “Back then, before the ‘woke’ era, I got canceled for that, which is so crazy. I was just at a party with my friends, someone took this picture and she leaked on this website called Hipster Runoff. And it ran this story. I was trying to be totally honest, and you know, start my career, and it was like ‘Grimes Gone Wild’ or something and it was just this super mean story, and it was this meme that was going all over the internet.”
Hipster Runoff (aka HRO) was a well-known – some would say infamous – blog run by pseudonymous writer Carles from 2007 to 2013. The site had an undeniable impact on music writing. He is credited with coining the term ‘chillwave’, and at a time when so-called ‘indie’ music had been commodified by major music labels, Carles took a skeptical look at the scene and what he had. often called the “Corrupt Indie Machine.”
Carles was notoriously pugnacious and Grimes appears to have been a frequent target. Some HRO headlines included, “Grimes acts like a crazy woman in new video. Does she look HOT, KRAZIE or BOTH?”, “TJ Lane, a teenage boy who shoots at a school in Ohio, listened to Grimes. Has fringe indie become the sound of teenage angst? »
According to Grimes, the photo of the gay kiss pushed her over the edge. In response, she tricked a tech-savvy friend into orchestrating a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, which overwhelms a system with superfluous requests so that legitimate requests – like a reader trying to access the website – cannot not be satisfied.
Grimes explained, “My friend who worked for – I won’t say which video game – had access to – okay, I don’t want to get him in trouble. But anyway, we actually managed to DDoS Hipster Runoff and blackmail them. We thought, ‘We won’t let you get your site back online until you delete the story.’ And he, in fact, withdrew the story. It was my coolest hacking moment.
Carles gave an interview about the cyberattack to Motherboard in March 2012 shortly after the attack. “My server’s disk crashed and remote backups were sabotaged,” he said. As for the culprit, “I have my suspicions, but I can’t confirm anything at this stage… I can’t really name any names, but I know my site is frowned upon in the indie community. All the other sites hate me, and many artists and labels don’t support my site. I pay a price for not being part of the Corrupt Indie Machine. He also hinted at the massive problem facing HRO: “The site will most likely be back, but at this point I don’t know if the old posts will still exist.”
The Grimes cyberattack may have been the beginning of the end for Hipster Runoff. Most of the old content could not be recovered, and as Brooklyn Vegan noted, Carles stopped publishing in 2013 before selling the site for around $20,000 in 2015.
None of this can be blamed on Grimes; HRO had started to lose some of its audience by then. Audiences had begun to view indie rock as a genre rather than a descriptor of label or contract status, while hip-hop began to drive the mainstream conversation, even as the tone of internet writing changed to be less sarcastic and more supportive. HRO was a mainstay of a bygone era, and today many of those old titles would be more likely to elicit a grimace than a laugh. Nonetheless, the timing is quite suggestive and Carles could probably argue in court that Grimes caused the site to go down.
He may have the opportunity to do so. Singh, who worked for President Biden’s campaign as a cybersecurity adviser, notes that there is no statute of limitations for cybercrime in Grimes’ native Canada, although if the attack originated in the states States, it is unclear how the law can proceed. Check out the interview below, with the relevant section starting around 2:16.
As part of this same vanity lounge profile, Grimes also admitted that she and her former partner Elon Musk secretly had a second child named Y. Since then, Grimes has been romantically involved with Chelsea Manning, which may have prompted Musk to share a transphobic meme. . His next album, Book 1is expected later this year.