“Tanya Selvaratnam got the news around 7 p.m. on May 7, 2018, while at a dinner party. It came in the form of a text message from David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, saying: The story is up. Selvaratnam immediately turned to her friend Julia Chaplin. “I think I need to leave,” she said.
Selvaratnam — a 47-year-old author, film producer and actor — knew the story was coming, but she wasn’t sure exactly when. She’d been bracing herself for days. She’d taken her name off her mailbox, packed her things and left her large, stately apartment building on the Lower East Side, relocating temporarily to the loft of Catherine Gund, a friend and collaborator. She’d scrubbed her social media accounts, put an auto away message on her email and purchased a burner phone. She’d bought a ticket to London; getting out of the country, she figured, might be the best thing to do. All day, Selvaratnam had been wondering whether she should go to the dinner party that night — a benefit for Yaddo, an artist’s retreat in Upstate New York — at a private Chelsea social club surrounded by her professional peers. Chaplin had convinced her not to let the possibility of the story’s publication upend her plans.
Selvaratnam’s phone buzzed again and again — and then seemed to explode with alerts and notifications. At any moment, she felt sure, other people at the party would see the news. She had decided to share something intimate, and incredibly painful, with the world — and, with that decision, risked the chance that the people around her might never look at her the same way again. Now that it was online, she needed to get out of there, back to Gund’s house, where she felt safer.”
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