Sorority Sues Ex-Member Who Leaked Secret Handshake

Online post detailed Phi Sigma Sigma's private rituals
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2015 6:27 AM CDT
Sorority Sues Ex-Member Who Leaked Secret Handshake
This Feb. 19, 2014, file photo shows the Facebook app icon on an iPhone in New York.    (AP Photo/Karly Domb Sadof, File)

To the sisters of the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority, the group's secret handshake and knock are "sacred"—so sacred, it seems, that to reveal them is to risk a lawsuit. That's what happened to a former member of the sorority who listed that information, as well as details of the group's secret name, robe colors, an oath, and more, on a Seattle-based website. Neither the woman nor the site have been identified, but comments on the Penny Arcade web comic's site from 2011 appear to fit the bill, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. The lawsuit seeks to prevent the ex-member from publishing secrets and calls for an unspecified amount of money due to harm the comments allegedly caused.

"The defendant admitted in her posting that the confidential information she disclosed is never written down or recorded and that that the organization and its members consider the information 'sacred,'" the suit notes, per the Post-Intelligencer. The Penny Arcade posting was in response to a discussion on the site about the availability of fraternity and sorority secrets online. Total Sorority Move notes that it's unclear whether the former member is an alumna or whether she left for other reasons. Either way, the site makes its views clear: "We’ll talk publicly about almost anything else, but even if we are (expletive) drunk, we still won’t spill the secrets of what happened at our initiation to outsiders." (Last year, we learned the alarming costs of sorority membership.)

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