CPJ Has Retracted the False Accusations Made Against Matthew VanDyke
On July 22, 2015 Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) retracted the false accusations he made against Matthew VanDyke in 2011
Matthew VanDyke has now been cleared of false accusations made against him nearly four years ago
Joel Simon, Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), has retracted the false allegations he made against Matthew VanDyke in 2011. Matthew VanDyke's reputation has been fully restored. He never claimed or pretended to be a journalist in Libya and was not responsible for putting any journalists in danger as a combatant in the Libyan Revolution. These were false allegations and finally, after four years, Joel Simon has retracted his statements regarding Mr. VanDyke's service in Libya.
These false allegations have caused Mr. VanDyke considerable pain and professional damage over the years. They were used as false justification for expelling him from the Vulture Club, a forum for those who work in conflict zones. He was later banned from appearing on one of the US television cable news networks and from writing opinion pieces for a major UK publication because of these false accusations. When his film, Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution, was nominated for a One World Media award, journalists from the same major UK publication called the judges trying to pressure them to not give him the award (the judges, however, made their decision based on the merits of the film and presented him with the award). Mr. VanDyke's reputation was repeatedly attacked behind his back on the Vulture Club (without any opportunity to defend himself due to his expulsion), and in conversations between journalists. At first Mr. VanDyke had tried to ignore the false allegations, but as they were repeated and parroted by others and the concrete consequences became increasingly clear, it became difficult to disregard.
For nearly four years Mr. VanDyke has borne these injustices, lost professional opportunities, and undergone immense personal harm as a result of Joel Simon’s false allegations. It was extremely painful for him to know that many people believed these accusations, since Mr. Simon's voice carries such weight, and that his hard-earned reputation as an honest person was tarnished for so long.
To return from war and face egregious and unsubstantiated allegations about his character and professionalism was devastating. But finally, Mr. VanDyke's name has been cleared. A few people, willing to admit to their own mistakes, have even contacted him to apologize for repeating and perpetuating these false claims.
Mr. VanDyke wishes to extend his thanks to all those who believed in his innocence and supported him over the years.