Is this bachelor who’s suing FIFTY women for calling him a lousy date a victim of trolling or a narcissistic creep? Read his story and decide for yourself

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Written By Maya Cantina

Stewart Lucas Murrey only wanted to find love. His girlfriend had died of cancer in 2018 and, at the age of 43, he found himself unexpectedly alone. Handsome and trim with short, dark hair, a close-cropped salt-and-pepper beard and a PhD in philosophy from Yale University, he had written books on ancient poets and Nietzsche, and might seem like a catch for many women.

So in his search for romance, Murrey dived headlong into the maelstrom of online dating apps and social media.

But last week he found himself at the centre of a cultural clash that is dividing opinion on both sides of the Atlantic, after his efforts ended in disaster and ugly recriminations.

Murrey claims he was attacked and defamed by 50 women – many of whom he has never met – on a Facebook group called Are We Dating The Same Guy?

Women have accused him of murder, extortion, stalking, lying and abusive behaviour, and branded him a ‘legitimate danger’ to other women. He had been arrested for domestic violence and even involved in his wife’s death, some women alleged.

In his search for romance, Murrey (pictured) dived headlong into the maelstrom of online dating apps and social media

Murrey went to the Los Angeles home of Kelly Gibbons at 10.45pm and returned again days later at 8.45pm

 Murrey went to the Los Angeles home of Kelly Gibbons at 10.45pm and returned again days later at 8.45pm

Stewart Lucas Murrey at Gibbons' home with a friend. He has branded two of his accusers as 'creeps'

Stewart Lucas Murrey at Gibbons’ home with a friend. He has branded two of his accusers as ‘creeps’

‘All of these statements are false,’ Murrey insists in documents submitted to a Los Angeles court as part of his extraordinary lawsuit against the 50 women.

‘I have never been charged, much less convicted, of any crime in my entire life… The suggestion that I was involved in the murder of someone I loved, and for whom I cared, is despicable.’

How harmful is online gossip?

‘Name and shame’ websites exposing cheaters have exploded in the MeToo era.

But popular sites such as The Dirty and She’s A Homewrecker have been driven underground, with some being ousted by their internet server when threatened with litigation, while others are blackballed by search engines that refuse to include them in search results. But other platforms spring up to take their place, with groups proliferating on Facebook in particular.

Sociologist Professor Juliet Williams, of the University of California, Los Angeles, said: ‘People talking about other people is nothing new, whether in the ladies’ room, around the water cooler, or some virtual platform.

‘Sometimes this talk amounts to idle gossip, in other cases, it can do real damage to a person wrongly maligned. Online accusations, even groundless ones, can have real life consequences.

‘There are a million reasons why online gossip sites, just like real-life gossip, is toxic.

‘But the question isn’t whether these sites are problematic, it is whether having these sites is better than nothing. In an ideal world they wouldn’t exist, but in an ideal world women wouldn’t distrust men.’

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Now, speaking for the first time, Murrey doesn’t hold back with The Mail on Sunday, branding two of his accusers as ‘creeps and rejects that are unsuccessful in their dating lives’.

‘These are not light battles,’ he adds, adamantly, ‘but I care about this cause. It affects us all and is not going away. And I should not be the only person fighting for this movement.’

But Murrey, now 49, admits he is not God’s gift to women. ‘I’m not a perfect person,’ he says. ‘Like anyone else, I have my flaws. However, this is not a crime.’

Shocked by the vehemence of the ‘hate-filled and unrelenting’ attacks, he is suing the 50 women for sexism and gender bias by encouraging anti-male discussions, and is seeking £2 million in damages.

Murrey could be viewed as a victim of social media run amok, a cautionary tale for all men and, he claims, a warning how MeToo-era online protections for women can be abused to harm men and even destroy their reputations. ‘Citing freedom of speech, these women put their needs, insecurities and amusement over the privacy and rights of others,’ he says, claiming that he is ‘shining a light on these cyberbullies who type in the shadows’. But court files seen by The Mail on Sunday, and the women who have spoken to the paper, suggest that Murrey may not be the poster boy for maligned masculinity that he appears.

This is not the first time he has sued women for comments they have made about him online, and the websites that host their critiques. In November 2017 he filed a suit against his ex-girlfriend Shannyn Poer for libel and slander for allegedly defamatory online postings and emails about him.

She complained in court documents that this followed ‘a long line of harassing activities and frivolous legal actions by Murrey against her as well as other ex-girlfriends and family members of ex-girlfriends’.

Poer complained the following year that Murrey ‘is a domestic abuser’ and was suing her to ‘extort payment’.

The case was ultimately dismissed, but Poer, now 37, was irreparably harmed, her mother, Katherine Poer-Anthony, told The Mail on Sunday, adding. ‘They dated for six or nine months, but it was not good. She apparently said something on the internet that he wasn’t a very good person, nothing really slanderous, and he sued.

‘He stalked her, followed her and would show up at the house. It was very scary. It’s actually scared her so much, she says that she’ll never get married.’

Poer-Anthony adds: ‘How many women are never going to date again? How many will never trust again? How many will be affected like my daughter?’

It was five months later that Murrey’s girlfriend Sherrie Martinez died from cancer, on March 10, 2018. By his own account he was arrested – despite his recent protestations that he had never been arrested or accused of murder – for allegedly forging her will, and was investigated for complicity in her death.

In court papers filed by Murrey on October 31, 2018, as part of a civil rights lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Police Department, he revealed that police had indeed suspected him of murder.

He alleged that the LAPD and District Attorney had him ‘falsely arrested for forgery of her will… while treating him falsely as a murder suspect,’ and conspired to create ‘false accusations of murder and forgery’. His case was dismissed by the court in May 2020, receiving no damages. Yet his lawsuits kept coming.

The Mail on Sunday spoke to one of Murrey’s former girlfriends who also claimed to have experienced a nightmare ordeal after breaking up with him.

Murrey insists that he was the victim throughout. In July 2020, he filed a suit in California District Court against BrandYourself.com

Murrey insists that he was the victim throughout. In July 2020, he filed a suit in California District Court against BrandYourself.com

‘This man attempted to destroy my life and my family,’ said the woman, who asked not to be identified publicly.

She dated him for a year and after the break-up, she sought to warn other women about him in an online forum. She added: ‘He dragged me to court for two years after dating and slapped me with at least 12 separate lawsuits which were settled before trial.

‘I am in no way shocked that he continues to sue women. I wish I had looked up his court records before swiping right on Tinder.’

In July 2020, Murrey filed a suit in California District Court against BrandYourself.com, a website that claims to improve users’ online reputation and protect their privacy. The case was dismissed.

A similar suit followed against CheaterReport.com, a website that encouraged users to report a cheating wife, husband, boyfriend or girlfriend. The case was dismissed two months later when the Los Angeles Superior Court ruled that it lacked jurisdiction.

In his latest legal action, the judge has already thrown out all 11 counts against one of his 50 defendants, Vanessa Valdes, who had filed an anti-SLAPP motion against Murrey.

Anti-SLAPP laws provide defendants a way to quickly dismiss meritless lawsuits known as SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) filed against them for exercising their right to free speech.

Judge Gregory Keosian ruled that social media posts by Valdes about Murrey ‘involved a matter of public interest: women’s security against male violence and harassment’. Legal experts believe the other women in his lawsuit are likely to meet with similar success in having his claims dismissed.

One of the 50, Elly Shariat, says she matched with Murrey on Tinder two years ago. She says he demanded that they meet that night even though she told him she was busy with a business meeting, and declined.

Murrey allegedly found her Instagram page and tracked her down in a Beverly Hills hotel bar where he disrupted her meeting, grabbing her wrist.

Murrey brands this is ‘a fabricated story’ and insists: ‘I do not know who Elly Shariat is.’

Licensed as an estate agent in California, Murrey’s ‘charm’ is evident in online exchanges with some of the women he has sued.

After matching with Valdes in 2019 he realised that they had been matched before, and claims that ‘she previously acted erratic and aggressive’.

He opened his latest dialogue with Valdes by writing: ‘I’m amused by how you’ll mess it up. Wait you already did,’ and said it was ‘fun watching you burn’.

Valdes warned Murrey: ‘You’re f***ing with the wrong woman. I’m reporting your ass. Stay away from women and get help.’

Intriguingly, Murrey is not the only man currently in the cross-hairs of angry women on the Facebook group Are We Dating The Same Guy?

British chef Charles Withers, who appeared on American television cooking show Chopped in 2022, was also featured on the website last week, accused of walking out on his wife and two young children. Ashley McGuire, living in the family home in Massachusetts, posted: ‘Last year, when I was pregnant with our youngest baby he decided being a husband and a dad wasn’t the lifestyle he wanted any more and he ghosted, like gone, without a trace. He has one baby he hasn’t seen in over a year, and one he’s never met.’

She asked anyone reading the site if they knew where Withers had gone, as she wanted him to sign divorce papers ‘so I can finally close this chapter and move on with my life’.

Her plea was also posted on TikTok, where it attracted more than five million views.

Proving the power of the internet, word reached Withers, who contacted McGuire, apparently from his new home in Texas.

But she also urged social media users: ‘Please do not make threats, spread hate or try to go out and locate him.’

Murrey, meanwhile, declined to be interviewed, but responded to questions in a series of emails.

Sociologist Professor Juliet Williams (pictured), of the University of California, Los Angeles, said: 'People talking about other people is nothing new, whether in the ladies' room, around the water cooler, or some virtual platform'

Sociologist Professor Juliet Williams (pictured), of the University of California, Los Angeles, said: ‘People talking about other people is nothing new, whether in the ladies’ room, around the water cooler, or some virtual platform’

Olivia Berger, left, and Vanessa Valdes, right, speak at a press conference on behalf of women being sued by Stewart Lucas Murrey

Olivia Berger, left, and Vanessa Valdes, right, speak at a press conference on behalf of women being sued by Stewart Lucas Murrey

He said the attacks on him were ‘infuriating, shocking, and distressing’. Despite his painful experience of online dating, he insists: ‘I have met an abundance of interesting women, some with whom I am still very close.’

But he has harsh words for two women in particular he sued in his latest lawsuit.

‘These two women are uneducated, lack class, lack sophistication, look unhealthy and simply do not compete in a city like Los Angeles,’ he said, calling them ‘creeps and rejects’.

Murrey admits to shunning one of them on a dating app because she evaded answering whether she was ‘cute or fit’.

He says: ‘I felt my time was being wasted and I blocked her.’

Defending his lawsuit against the 50, he says: ‘As someone who has also been subjected to sex- discrimination, harassment and even unwanted sexual assault, I identify with the need to protect all human beings. We have a duty, though, to vet the proper accusations against retaliation and see the truth in each situation.’

He also cautions men about the dangers of internet dating sites such as Facebook, Tinder, Bumble and Hinge.

‘Right now, people seem to think they can screenshot your dating profile and post it all over the internet and troll you at a whim,’ he said. ‘Better yet, just get offline and develop skills to meet singles in person.’

But Murrey insists: ‘I do not put physical attributes over intelligence, class and charm. I do not expect the perfect package. And I value, along with intelligence, when someone is nice and sweet.’

He laments that: ‘People also take me too seriously. Perhaps my attempts to be comical are not as successful as I would like,’ and complains of women having ‘unfair expectations’ of him.

According to Murrey, women have illegally cyberstalked him, and one ‘proceeded to form a hate group about me, literally called the Lucas Murrey Support Group’.

While he is not one to back down from a fight, litigation doesn’t come cheap, especially when he is representing himself. To that end, he made one request: ‘I would be thankful if you could mention my GoFundMe webpage.’

He is seeking to raise $60,000, but as of Friday had received only $5,557 in donations.

And Murrey appears unrepentant. ‘These women exploited the concept of a safe space to gossip, defame and cyberbully anyone at whim,’ he proclaims on his GoFundMe page.

His accusers might say the same of him.

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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