If you're not over Serial yet, I can commiserate. From the very beginning, I was already a de facto fan of the podcast since I believe Ira Glass is King Midas and everything he touches turns to gold (not to stan or anything). As Serial progressed through its 12 episodes, though, more and more questions and qualms surfaced about the legitimacy of Sarah Koenig's reporting and her reliability as a narrator. Since Serial ended, approximately a million think-pieces and parodies have popped up about the podcast, including Cecily Strong's spot-on impression of Koenig trying to solve the mystery of Chris Kringle on Saturday Night Live. And on Thursday, Gawker reported that a possible new development arose: a man claiming to be Jay posted on Facebook under the name "Slim Wilds" saying that he was ready to talk, and his post was all but a condemnation of the podcast.
Though he's since deleted the post, there's always screenshots because anything you do on the internet comes with receipts. The message reads in full:
For the followers of the serial podcast produced by Sarah Koenig: I will make my self available for one interview: 1st, to answer the question of the people who I hope are concerned with the death of Hae Min Lee (the person who's paid the ultimate price for Entertainment). 2nd, to out this so called reporter for who she truly is.
Listeners will remember that the eighth episode of Serial, "The Deal with Jay," dealt with confronting Jay personally and dealing with his involvement in the case, not just as a key witness but as someone who is still living in Maryland and dealing with the repercussions of Adnan Syed's conviction for the murder of Hae Min Lee. In the episode, Koenig and her producer Dana literally stake out Jay's house, and eventually speak to him briefly about the case, though he refused to be recorded. And who could blame him? After the interview when Sarah and Dana are discussing it in the car, they both agree that he sounded tired.
So if "Slim Wilds" really is Jay, why did he delete the post? Maybe he was getting a lot of unwarranted and perhaps hateful responses to it. I can't imagine the real Jay's life has been easy throughout the airing of Serial. Slim Wilds does bring up some salient points, though: being caught up in Serial did not for many necessarily mean being invested in the murder of Lee in a humanitarian sense, but rather as avid listeners addicted to the mystery. According to Gawker, Kelly Oxford first tweeted the Facebook post, as shown below.
Slim Wilds also raises a question that fans might be grappling with as uncomfortable but important: how much can we trust Koenig's reporting? Koenig has said time and again, including recently in an interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, that she worried about the podcast being interpreted and received as entertainment, not reporting:
There's this Internet world, which can get ... out of control and just throwing stuff around and interacting with this material that's incredibly serious to all of us. ... We need to treat [it] with the utmost professionalism and care. ... They're interacting with it as entertainment.
Koenig concedes that she obviously could not control how listeners would interpret the podcast, as a reported investigation or as a piece of entertainment, but I don't know if I buy that she couldn't have anticipated the involvement of the internet, as the podcast itself was released online. She's savvy, obviously, to the media and the proliferation of information on the internet, so there's a part of me that thinks she knew at some level the podcast would be seen as entertainment.
It's unclear whether or not "Slim Wilds" is actually Jay, or if whoever the poster is will actually talk, but if he does, it could be a potential unraveling of the first season of Serial's 12-episode run.
Image: Elise Bergerson