This morning, the brilliant Helen DeWitt, author of The Last Samurai, Lightning Rods, and Some Trick, posted a devastating Twitter thread to which many, many people in America can, unfortunately, probably relate: DeWitt had a medical emergency in December which resulted in a bill of over $6,000.
DeWitt went on to say that she withdrew from a teaching position because she had to care for her mother (another all-too-relatable situation in this country), and that her sister’s boyfriend had given DeWitt a check for the cost of her medical care. “Lost for words,” she wrote “Grateful, shamefaced.”
Catherine Lacey and Lauren Groff both replied to the thread to offer support, and suggested that many of DeWitt’s readers would certainly like to offer financial assistance. This is where things get incredibly fucked up: an account that had used DeWitt’s image and bio with the handle @HeIenDeWitt (with a capital I instead of an L) jumped into the thread with an email linked to a PayPal account (the handle has since been changed and the account locked).
Lit Hub’s Emily Temple noticed the low follower count on the fake account and we alerted Groff to the scam, but not before at least a few DeWitt supporters sent money.
So, a hearty “fuck you” to this person! Scamming money from people trying to help someone with the ruinously high cost of healthcare is a pretty extreme level of despicable. We just hope that the real Helen DeWitt—and, honestly, every person—is able to get the care she needs without having to turn to America’s largest health insurer, GoFundMe.
UPDATE: If you’d like to help the true Helen DeWitt out, you can do so here:
Her real paypal is: email@example.com (HD said it was ok to share.)
— Catherine Lacey (@_catherinelacey) April 7, 2021