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  • Logan Pratt

Student Gaslight: No, Sweetheart, That’s Not What Happened


In an era of misinformation and “fact-checking” it can be hard to know what the truth is, and when someone is lying to you. This is exactly what one student at the University of Iowa felt he was experiencing. Winston Smithburg, a sophomore at the University studying psychology, said that he was a victim of what many are calling “gaslighting.”

“Gaslighting is a term that means to manipulate someone by psychological means into questioning their own sanity,” Smithburg said. “I have personally been the victim of gaslighting on multiple occasions. And the only reason I know that is because I’m a psychology student and so I know how to spot these sorts of things.”

Smithburg claims that his group of former acquaintances gaslit him into paying for various expenses including meals, groceries, and their shared cocaine habit. These expenses were typically incurred by the group, but Smithburg found himself paying for all of them due to being convinced that it was “his turn,” but Smithburg remembers things differently.

“They would say things like, ‘Oh Winston it’s your turn to buy dinner’ but I would like distinctly remember buying dinner the previous night and stuff. We always tried to share expenses in the group, but it felt like I was paying more than my fair share of things.”

We attempted to catch up with multiple people from Winston’s friend group, but each one of them told us that we had already interviewed them. We looked for our notes on these interviews but couldn’t locate them anywhere in the Doily headquarters. But we’ll keep looking though, because now that they mention it, we do kind of remember interviewing them… sort of.

“They’re all masters of manipulation. I wouldn’t trust any of them,” said Smithburg. “What really bothers me is them scamming me out of all that money. Am I David Koch’s nephew? Yes. Does that mean I still don’t want to save a few bucks now and then? Of course not!”

Smithburg also claims that some of the women in the group tended to use their sexual prowess to manipulate Winston into paying for multiple trips to Monte Carlo.

“They would have me take them on multiple trips and stuff. And then they would tell me that we hadn’t even gone on the trip. I was like ‘but we made sweet, passionate love all night. I got chlamydia from you two!’ and they would be like ‘No, sweetie, you’re misremembering things. You always had chlamydia’ and I would believe them because I mean… who wouldn’t?”

We attempted to catch up with some of these seductresses of Smithburg. One of them, Kacey Andrews, had a different recollection of events.

“We literally don’t even know that dude,” Andrews said. “I think we saw him in a club one time and he like asked if we wanted to go to Monte Carlo, but we told him no. He kept asking though so we eventually gave in. But we never gaslit him, ok? It’s not our fault he’s just gullible.”

Honestly, we’re more than a little confused. We don’t really know who’s right in this situation, and honestly, we feel like we’re being gaslit too. But good on Gerald for standing up for what he believes in and sticking it to those gaslighters.


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