Sunday, 16 December 2018
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BREAKING NEWS

Master Dylan and his pups shared numerous images on social media of their engorged scrotums, dramatically increased in size due to liquid silicone injections. Levi Hastings

On October 15, 2018, a 28-year-old Australian-born Seattle resident named Jack Chapman, also known as Pup Tank, died. According to an October 16 Facebook post written by Chuck Osborn, Tank died “due to a previously undiagnosed lung ailment.”

Osborn wrote: “He seemed fine, doing the things he loved—working out, caring for clients as part of Lifelong AIDS Alliance, and spending time with his family—until a week ago when he had trouble breathing and was admitted to the hospital with what we figured was a routine infection. It turned out to be much more. He fought very hard, seeming to get a tiny bit better day by day, until the terrible moment that we were told nothing more could be done.”

Osborn, also known as Pup Alpha, wrote that Tank “entrusted me to be the executor of his estate, a duty that I thought I would never have to fulfill.”

Both Chapman and Osborn were romantically linked to Dylan Ray Hafertepen, a well-known member of the Dom/sub pup play communities in San Francisco and, later, Seattle. To his pups, including Pup Tank and Pup Alpha, he’s called Master Dylan, but on Instagram and Tumblr, he’s widely known as Noodles and Beef.

Online, Master Dylan shared pictures and details of his polyamorous, self-made family, which also included Hafertepen’s husband (Big Pup), someone named Pup Biff, and someone named Pup Angus. Judging from the pictures, these men are hairy and muscular—”muscle bears” in gay parlance—and physically resemble Hafertepen. They wear padlocked chains around their necks, a symbol of Hafertepen’s ownership over them, and some of them have matching tattoos of Hafertepen’s astrological sign, the Taurus zodiac symbol (a circle with horns). In photos, Tank, Alpha, Angus, and Biff appear to have additional tattoos on their backs that read “Property of Master Dylan.”

A Dom/sub relationship is a BDSM power dynamic in which the dominant person and their submissive partner both derive pleasure from controlling and being controlled, respectively. There are many varieties of Dom/sub relationships, including “master” and “slave” as well as “handler” and “pup,” in which the submissive acts as an obedient puppy, longing for the master’s attention, affection, and discipline.

Hafertepen and his pups have shared numerous images on social media of them shirtless, in jockstraps and harnesses, enjoying Folsom Street Fair (San Francisco’s annual leather fair) and other gay gatherings. There are shots of them working out at the gym, traveling, swimming at nude beaches, and cuddling naked together. The pictures of Hafertepen’s wedding to Big Pup look like a circuit party: Everyone’s buff and wearing skimpy outfits and leather gear, while a drag nun named Sister Roma officiates. One almost can’t help but envy them and their lives together. They look like one big, burly, beaming family.

It’s no wonder that Hafertepen’s Instagram amassed 60,400 followers, that his weekly newsletter had more than 200,000 subscribers, or that his personal blog, NoodlesAndBeef.com, had 2.2 million readers. In the days following Tank’s death, the Instagram account and the newsletter were deactivated, and the content at NoodlesAndBeef.com was taken down and replaced with a single page saying goodbye to Tank.

“Tank left a very detailed will I’m determined to fulfill,” Hafertepen wrote in the goodbye. “Then I’m gone. Starting with my online presence.”

The reason may involve his scrotum. Hafertepen didn’t respond to The Stranger‘s repeated attempts to contact him by e-mail (The Stranger verified we had his correct e-mail address from someone who knows him), and his phone number is not receiving incoming calls. But his Tumblr (as well as the Tumblr accounts of several of his pups) contained numerous images of their engorged scrotums, dramatically increased in size due to liquid silicone injections. In one picture, Tank’s testicles dangle outside of his basketball shorts, his nuts roughly the size of two dodgeballs.

It may sound weird, but such injections are a fetishized form of erotic body modification. Some men fetishize enlarged scrotums as a sign of potency, much like the bronzed huevos dangling from the Wall Street bull. Some guys like to nuzzle gigantic silicone-enhanced ball sacks while giving head, or they enjoy feeling them slap pendulously against their asses while bottoming.

Since World War II, cosmetic surgeons and back-alley “pumpers” have offered liquid silicone injections as a quick and dirty form of plastic surgery. When injected, the body surrounds liquid silicone with collagen, permanently providing a rounder and fuller appearance, smoothing wrinkles and reshaping sagging butts and breasts.

But such injections aren’t approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for cosmetic procedures because of adverse reactions. Sometimes they harden into painful masses that appear like wormy tumors under the skin. Sometimes the surrounding tissue gets infected, rotting nearby tissue from the inside out. Other times, stray bits can travel through the bloodstream, causing embolisms (blocked arteries) and even death. These reactions can occur immediately or they can occur 25 years later, according to medical professionals.

Numerous articles have discussed trans women who end up disfigured or dead because of silicone injections by unlicensed pumpers. But few mention the pumpers who offer silicone injections for gay men.

Shortly after October 15, Tank’s death certificate leaked online. At the top of the document, his full legal name is written out as Tank Heathcliff Hafertepen. But many of his friends refer to him as Jack Chapman, the name he went by before pledging himself to Master Dylan.

On October 29, The Stranger obtained an updated copy of the death certificate, which has a bit more information than the document that first circulated online. It shows that Tank died from “silicone embolism syndrome” as a result of a “subcutaneous injection of silicone,” and that the silicone embolism precipitated the issues in Tank’s lungs. As King County Medical Examiner’s Office lead investigator James Sosik Jr. explained to The Stranger in an interview, Tank’s “silicone embolism syndrome” led to “pneumonitis” (a viral inflammation of lung tissue), which led to “acute respiratory distress syndrome” (a condition that prevents sufficient oxygen from reaching the lungs), which led to “diffuse alveolar hemorrhage” (bleeding in the lungs), and eventually Tank’s death.

It’s a bit counterintuitive to read the document this way because all four are listed under “cause of death,” itemized as A, B, C, and D, and “silicone embolism syndrome” is D. “The best way to think about that is to read it backward,” Sosik said. “The bottom line is usually how it reads so you’ll understand the cause of death better: A is due to B, B is due to C, and C is due to D.”

Tank had said on his Tumblr that he’d gotten his silicone injections done by “a guy in Sacramento who is a champ.” But he had refused to share any more details about where the silicone came from or how it was put into his body, explaining, “I will not refer any readers to any resources detailing this information. If you seek to pursue it, you’re doing so at your own risk.”

Though his master, Dylan Hafertepen, didn’t respond to The Stranger‘s attempts to contact him, Hafertepen’s previous media appearances describe a longtime fascination with body transformation.

In a 2011 blog entry, Hafertepen briefly discussed his body dysmorphia, stating that he saw himself as “skinny, underdeveloped, small, yet fat in places, completely undesirable.” He added, “It probably sounds silly, but I’ve had breakdowns over how small I feel… sometimes it gets the best of me.” In a post two weeks before that, Hafertepen said he was five feet eight and 225 pounds.

A 2015 Instagram post showed Hafertepen’s dramatic bodily transformation from 2006 onward, with a picture of him in a singlet for each year. Gradually, his pecs, arms, and cheeks increased in girth, bringing him to his full-fledged, tattooed, muscle bear form.

In 2016, ABC News ran a story called “Bigorexia: When the Obsessive Desire for Muscles Is a Dangerous Medical Condition for Some Men.” Hafertepen is one of the men ABC News interviewed for the story. Hafertepen “doubled his size” in seven years, according to the report, with “intense workouts, drinking six protein shakes a day, and spending half of his paycheck on supplements.”

Hafertepen is quoted in the story saying, “I would get very upset about how small my arms seemed in proportion to my waist… my shoulders to my neck… I would focus on all these things that made me very upset.” He added, “You don’t see any average-looking superheroes. Everyone was this hypermasculine or superior male.”

ABC News reported, “Ultimately, Hafertepen’s infatuation with getting huge landed him in the hospital. He had gotten so big that his blood pressure became so high, he had to have his heart shocked back to normal.” As Hafertepen himself explained to ABC News, “I had negotiated with myself that it would have been okay to succumb to death at an early age by pushing myself beyond what my body was capable of.”

In a 2013 Slate piece republished from Quora, Hafertepen answered questions about everyday life as a bodybuilder with huge muscles. He said he had three simultaneous gym memberships, spent nearly $200 for two weeks’ worth of whey protein supplements, and had to get his clothes custom made since XXL shirts were not quite big enough. He also said he had trouble squeezing his massively muscular shoulders and thighs into airline seats and non-disabled bathroom stalls.

Let’s stop here for a moment and point out that there’s nothing wrong with bodybuilding, body modifications, polyamory, Dom/sub relationships, pup play, or the social media fame that Hafertepen indulged in, even if it seems out of the mainstream. Many gay men use these methods to reclaim their own bodies or to play with masculinity, sexuality, and power. However, Tank’s desire to perpetually serve Master Dylan, and to alter his body to his master’s whims, could plausibly have been what caused his death.

Long before he became Pup Tank, the man born as Jack Chapman lived in Melbourne, Australia, and regularly read Hafertepen’s blog for workout tips. In an interview with InternationalPuppyPlay.com, Tank said that he and Hafertepen met on OkCupid and carried on a virtual relationship for a year before meeting.

Then Tank travelled to San Francisco to take a five-day Valentine’s vacation with Hafertepen. During the visit, “I asked if I could try on his collar,” Tank said in the interview. “I was very uninitiated in the world of pups and slaves and masters.” He said it made his dick “very hard. Very leaking.”

The interviewer asked what about it turned him on, and Tank responded, “I don’t think that on a conscious level I really did understand what it meant. I think that he was acting quite dominant and forceful towards me but the collar itself sort of represented a sense of ownership, or being owned in my particular instance… It was kind of like the sexual awakening of Tank Hafertepen.”

After Tank returned to Australia, he said he and Hafertepen “started to write out a contract for the two of us,” and Hafertepen sent him a “training collar” in the mail. Later, they created a revised contract and Hafertepen gave him a “full collar.”

On December 20, 2012, Tank shared his contract with his Tumblr followers. It mentions the “Property of Master Dylan” tattoo and says, “A pup will identify as any name that his Master bestows upon him. If the name sticks, the pup will be encouraged to change the name legally.” It also says the “pup may never feel worthy of his Master’s love,” adding, “Master’s word is law and must be trusted and obeyed. In an ideal mindset/subspace, Master’s word should overwrite a pup’s internal reality and be accepted as absolute truth.”

The contract forbids Tank from using deodorant, masturbating, watching TV, or speaking unless spoken to by Master. It requires that he grovel, cry, and kiss Master’s feet whenever they meet, “until the pup has permission to rise to his feet once again.” It demands the pup “relinquish his salary to his Master” and maintain complete financial transparency at all times. It prohibits socializing with anyone without Master’s express permission, stipulating, “It is expected that social connections outside of one’s Master fall away until the pup is completely socially and emotionally dependent upon his Master, finding contact with other people pointless, unfruitful, and unfulfilling.”

The contract also says, “A pup has no sense of value or identity outside of that which is given to him by his Master. When a pup does wrong or finds fault in himself, he is to internalize his flaws, dwell upon them, and then take all corrective actions he can to improve himself for his Master.”

And it says, “Master has explicit body goals for his pup regarding their weight, their muscle mass, their measurements, and their proportions. The pup will make all efforts possible to ensure these goals are realized and should never feel satisfied until his Master is satisfied. There is always additional room for a pup to push their physical limits.”

When Chuck Osborn, aka Pup Alpha, wrote on Facebook that Tank had died from a “previously undiagnosed lung ailment,” he may not have known about the silicone embolism mentioned on Tank’s death certificate. (The Stranger reached out to Osborn, but received no reply.)

When Tank’s death certificate surfaced online, some members of the gay kink community recalled Peter Dovak, a 30-year-old man who died on November 15, 2017, from a pulmonary embolism. His surviving partner says the embolism was actually a silicone-related embolism that Dovak suffered after being directed to a pumper, allegedly at Hafertepen’s suggestion.

Dovak was a self-described “graphic designer and professional transit nerd” living near Washington, DC. He was the 12-year boyfriend of Robert Waltman, a current resident of Arlington, Virginia, who talked to The Stranger on the record.

Waltman met Dovak online, after seeing some of his drawings on the website Deviant Art. Following a year of long-distance dating, Waltman moved from Colorado to Lexington, Kentucky, so they could room together while attending the University of Kentucky. After college, the couple eventually moved to Arlington.

As a slender 140-pound young man with a high metabolism, Dovak hated his skinny body. Waltman says Dovak had body dysmorphia, the chronic idea that his body was flawed. Over time, the two began lifting together and eventually started using steroids. “We took them together,” Waltman admits. “It was kind of romantic: We’d both inject each other when it came time for our dose.”

Dovak was open about his steroid use on Tumblr, saying they were necessary for “size-hungry people who dream of looking like superhero action figures.”

Dovak’s Tumblr photos show his gradual transformation into a 270-pound muscle bear. Posing in jockstraps, he recorded videos of himself scarfing down a bowl of pudding by the fistful and eating a cake on the floor while hunched on all fours like a dog.

Part of Dovak’s obsession about his size included a desire to have silicone injected into his genitals. In January 2017, Dovak wrote on Tumblr, “To me, it’s not enough to be fat. I dream of being on the cusp of immobility; forced to take slow, plodding, and thunderous steps wherever I go… It’s not enough to have a big dick. I dream of a package so big I could barely walk; with a shaft as thick as a can of paint, and balls so big and pendulous they hang down to my knees like beach balls.”

“The rationale behind it is pretty much exactly what you’d expect,” Waltman says. “If you’re insecure about the size of your dick and want to be bigger or want to give the illusion that you’re bigger….”

Since 2012, Dovak had asked Waltman for his blessing to start the injections, but Waltman had refused. Then Dovak’s father died in 2015 and he was so distraught that Waltman just wanted to help him feel better in any way, so he finally relented.

Waltman claims that Dovak knew of Hafertepen’s silicone use from his online pics. The two had spoken online since 2004, so Dovak asked Hafertepen where to get injected, Waltman says, and Hafertepen allegedly directed him to Joe Quader, a facilities manager for the Orange County Municipal Services Department who had no medical credentials but did have a black-market hookup for medical-grade silicone.

In January 2017, Dovak cut a $1,200 check to Quader for a 100 cc injection of liquid silicone into the shaft of his penis and 200 ccs into his balls. Two months later, Dovak went back for a second injection, Waltman says. Two months after that, he went back for a third. At his zenith, Dovak had spent $3,600 to get 1,250 ccs injected into his genitals—well over a liter.

“You might’ve noticed, most of these guys who have silicone injected into their junk will show pictures of their big bulges but not much of the actual flesh,” Waltman says. “[That’s] because it’s really knobby and gnarled and looks really horrifying, honestly. And that’s pretty much how Peter’s ended up, and pretty much how every silicone guy’s cock ends up, because it doesn’t distribute evenly and it creates this weird thing where the shaft begins to creep up and swallow over the head. And he got it over his balls as well, and it felt like someone had surgically implanted a cantaloupe into his balls. There was no elasticity or anything, it was just this big solid cold mass in his sack.”

In November 2017, Waltman says, Dovak went to Quader for a fourth treatment, but Quader accidentally nicked Dovak’s vein with the syringe and ended up pumping liquid silicone into Dovak’s bloodstream. The silicone traveled into his lungs and became an embolism that would kill him four days later.

The night of that fourth injection, Waltman learned that Dovak had been sedated and placed on a ventilator in an Orange County hospital. By the time Waltman landed in Orange County on Sunday afternoon, Dovak had been moved to Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Hollywood to receive more sophisticated care. On Monday, doctors told Waltman that Dovak seemed to be recovering, and Waltman told Dovak’s mother she probably didn’t need to visit.

But then, on Tuesday, doctors informed Waltman that Dovak’s oxygen levels had dropped to a point that could cause permanent brain damage. By Wednesday morning, they asked Waltman whether he wanted to pull the plug. Waltman and Dovak’s mother agreed it’d be best to let him die. As a courtesy to her Catholicism, Waltman found a hospital chaplain to administer Dovak’s last rites while she listened in over the phone. By that evening, Dovak was dead.

The very next day, Waltman called the Orange City police department (located in Orange County), offering them Quader’s name, his address, and copies of the checks Dovak had written. Later, the detective handling the case, Orange County Police detective Dave Pasino, told Waltman that five other men had stepped forward since Dovak’s death with stories of Quader’s injections landing them in the hospital. Waltman went to SilikoneBeat.com, a silicone forum Dovak frequented, to “put them on blast” about Pasino’s investigation, but he found that the website (and others like it) had been shut down.

“The whole silicone community is so insular and incestuous, and they’re all so paranoid of being caught,” Waltman says. “Like all these forums were instantly killed after Peter died because they were afraid looky-loos from the police department would come looking.” These days, Waltman says, silicone enthusiasts communicate via private Facebook groups that are invite only.

In the summer of 2018, Detective Pasino told Waltman that Dovak’s case had been forwarded to the district attorney, who was interested in prosecuting. After a long silence, Waltman got a call from Pasino on September 27, who informed him that Quader had killed himself, one day before he was to be arrested for manslaughter.

The Stranger independently confirmed these details with the Orange City Police Department.

Silicone injections had now killed two men: Dovak directly and Quader indirectly. Within a year, another silicone injection would kill Tank. All three dead men had something in common: an alleged connection to Hafertepen.

After losing Dovak, his partner of 12 years, Waltman now calls himself “a husk of a human being.” He has a psychiatrist and a therapist, but, he says, “turns out there’s no magic combination of words and pills that can un-destroy your life. Pretty much every day is a struggle to not jump off my balcony. The only thing keeping me alive right now is the knowledge of how devastated my family would be.”

The day Dovak died, Hafertepen sent out a newsletter to his fans talking about his own silicone injections. One section read, “Free silicone is a very dangerous thing to have in your body. The risk is extremely high and a misplaced injection almost always results in death” (emphasis his).

Hafertepen stated that he’d no longer share information about silicone injections because “I have had acquaintances and friends die in pursuit of this fetish… I can’t give that information in good conscious [sic] knowing the harm it can bring.”

Then he apparently referenced Dovak, saying, “This week, one of my oldest friends had a mistake with his procedure. He went to a clandestine lab with a high success rate, and ended up in the hospital. ‘Critical, but stable’ was the latest report. I am tremendously hopeful.”

The day after Dovak died, Hafertepen posted an image of himself sitting with Dovak, calling them “incredibly close” internet friends since their teenage years. Hafertepen said he’d helped Dovak pick his screen name (StupidGit) and added, “I’m sorry I never got to take you to a circuit party. You probably wouldn’t have cared for the crowds, but like our relationship, I would’ve taken you to challenge you just as you’ve pushed me out of my comfort zone… Thank you for having me in your life, you will be deeply missed in mine.”

After Waltman heard about Tank’s death, coming a year after Dovak’s death, he posted a now widely circulated statement that read: “I have zero sympathy for all parties involved. If my partner’s death wasn’t enough to warn them, they got what was coming to them. If there were any justice in the world, Dylan would be headed for prison.”

Dom/sub is a role-play fetish. Partners sometimes speak in extremes to help them get into their respective roles, demanding total submission at all times, when in reality they merely expect it within certain erotic, sexual, and social contexts.

For example, in a Tumblr post published April 16, 2015, Tank wrote that he “gleefully” embraced his master as his “absolute authority” and “the final word on all matters.” But in a post dated a week later, he described his submission more pragmatically, explaining, “submission for me is about love… Submission is not an all-or-nothing affair, it exists on a spectrum… it requires fundamental things like trust, love, empathy, understanding, common interests, emotional security… You need to be flexible.”

And yet, Tank would go on to publicly excoriate himself whenever he disappointed his master. In a Tumblr post that’s been widely circulated since his death, Tank posted a pic of his tear-stained face, writing, “I am shit. I am a shit person. I do horrible and inexcusable things. I am dishonest. I am deceitful. I am a coward. I am stupid. I hurt my Master. I don’t deserve love. I don’t deserve forgiveness. I only deserve to suffer.”

His crime? Fibbing to Hafertepen about getting into a hot tub with a platonic longtime friend without Hafertepen’s express permission. While many re-shared the post, telling Tank not to feel so bad for such a minor offense, Hafertepen himself publicly commented on the post, chastising Tank for making him look like he was hurt over nothing.

Christopher Cragg, a Tumblr user known as BlibBlobBlib, followed Hafertepen and Tank on social media for nearly a decade, eventually becoming a friendly online acquaintance of both men. Cragg says Tank’s posted contract and his very public displays of submission turned him and many members of the Dom/sub community against Hafertepen. They saw the contract as abusive and worried that Hafertepen’s massive social following would give outsiders an incorrect view of healthy Dom/sub relationships.

On December 7, 2016, Tank sent a Facebook message to Kyle Kingsbury—a friend of his known as Aphyr, who had briefly dated Hafertepen in the past—stating, “Keep it to yourself, but for my own sake, I need to develop an exit strategy for myself. It’s a little scary because I don’t have a lot of savings or know too many people.”

After all, he’d moved to the United States specifically to be Hafertepen’s pup. Tank told Kingsbury he was scared of Hafertepen and knew that once he left, he’d no longer be able to talk to his fellow familial pups.

But Tank worked up the nerve to leave anyway. Around 11 p.m. on a night in early March 2017, while Hafertepen was on a trip to Japan, Tank called his friend Arman Ellis, who was living in Renton, 30 minutes away. Ellis and his husband drove into Seattle to find Tank—whom Ellis prefers to refer to as Jack Chapman, using his prior name—standing alone, outside in the Chinatown-International District, carrying the few clothes he owned.

For the next few months, Tank lived with Ellis and his husband in Renton. They regularly took Tank dancing and on nature outings to show him there was more to life than Master Dylan.

Ellis had been friends and travel buddies with Hafertepen since 2012. He said in an interview with The Stranger that Tank was more social than Hafertepen’s other pups. Yet, in Hafertepen’s presence, Tank always seemed sad, regularly mentioning being “in trouble” with his master. Ellis recalled that once when he and Tank waited at a bar for an open lane at a nearby bowling alley, Tank got in trouble because he’d only gotten Hafertepen’s permission to go bowling, not to visit a bar.

The week Tank moved out, Hafertepen’s Noodles and Beef newsletter included a photo for each year he and Tank had been together and the message, “Thank you for everything, Tank. I hope only for your happiness and success.”

The next week, Ellis got sick of seeing the padlocked chain around his friend’s neck and pulled him into a Home Depot to help him remove it with a pair of bolt cutters. They recorded its removal in a Facebook video: The chain falls into Tank’s hands, and both he and Ellis happily look into the camera with ecstatic smiles.

That same week, Hafertepen introduced his newsletter readers to his new pup, Pup Angus, a bearded ginger muscle cub who could’ve passed for Tank’s cousin. Hafertepen included a picture of Angus’s enlarged cock, a puncture mark bleeding through a piece of medical tape on its shaft, possibly from a silicone injection. (The Stranger has attempted to contact Angus via direct messages on Tumblr and Facebook, but have received no reply.)

About a month later, on April 26, 2017, Tank’s friend Tanner Gittens messaged him on Facebook asking what had happened between him and Hafertepen. Tank wrote, “I reached the limit of what I could take. He was being emotionally abusive, making me feel awful constantly… There wasn’t enough room for me to have my own friends, my own interests, my own ambitions in the relationship.”

When Gittens mentioned not hearing their breakup mentioned in Hafertepen’s newsletters, Tank responded, “That’s the way he wanted it. He’s extremely self-conscious about his image.” He added that Hafertepen had threatened to sue him in small claims court if Tank ever publicly mentioned their relationship troubles.

According to Tank’s statements in a July 2017 Facebook chat with Kingsbury, Hafertepen had freely offered to cover Tank’s rent for the first few months after he moved from Australia to live with him “as a gift.” At the time, Tank had no job and Hafertepen supported him while he found one. But after Tank left, Hafertepen claimed Tank owed him back rent. In Hafertepen’s newsletter, he told his subscribers, “While I was in Japan, I caught Tank lying about meeting up with some men (again). He moved out before I could return home, leaving me with a tremendous amount of his debt and unpaid bills. Well, fuck you too. I returned home to my loving, supportive pups, who had removed any photos or signs of Tank’s presence.”

Tank told Kingsbury that he was homeless and had only $3,000 in savings, but that Hafertepen “earns about $200,000 each year + bonus stock options of equal value based on performance.” So Hafertepen suing Tank for back rent wasn’t about money, in Tank’s view.

That same month, while hanging out with Ellis and some friends at a lake in Snoqualmie, Tank was gazing at his phone when his mood darkened. According to a screenshot Tank sent to a friend of his who later posted it on Facebook, Hafertepen had sent Tank a picture of a small claims court filing along with the message, “Have a good Folsom! Stay tuned for part 2.”

In Hafertepen’s newsletter, he told subscribers: “Tank ignored my olive branch, so I decided to collect rent he owed me.”

According to public records, Hafertepen filed a small claims lawsuit against Tank in King County District Court on July 21, 2017, alleging Tank owed him $4,787 in “unpaid rent between July 2016 and March 2017.” Tank was told to appear in court on September 14, 2017.

Hafertepen would later tell his subscribers, “Tank responded to my court summons with the money he owed me, and asked to try therapy and reconnecting. I accepted.” A week or two later, Tank left Ellis’s house to resume his relationship with Hafertepen. The court case was dismissed over Hafertepen’s failure to appear in court and a lack of proof that the court summons had been served to Tank in person.

At this point, Tank’s friends—including Cragg, Ellis, and a close friend from Australia named Kevin Reader—found themselves unfriended or blocked from all of Tank’s social media accounts. A Facebook post written by Aaron Cluka, a self-described friend of Chapman’s, says that some of Tank’s friends were re-added onto his social media accounts after “a massive pushback.”

But during the lockout, Tank had changed. On November 11, 2017, Tank wrote to Gittens, apologizing for everything he had told Gittens earlier about his relationship troubles with Hafertepen, saying, “Everything that I said was more than just spite. They were malicious lies with the intention of damaging both him and his reputation. Master Dylan has not done anything wrong except making the mistake of trusting me, and for that I am sorry to both you and him.”

When Gittens responded, saying things were good between he and Tank, Tank answered, “It’s not okay, what I did was a horrible thing.”

Meanwhile, in Hafertepen’s newsletter, he told readers that he and Tank were in couple’s therapy, and that Tank had “spent much of the breakup spreading hurtful gossip about me,” adding, “I’m fearful he’s still doing it.” In his November 15 newsletter, Hafertepen used 10-point scales to assign point values to how much he trusted Tank, as well as how secure and valued he felt by him. On all three scales, Tank receive no rating higher than a 3.

Many people use social media as a way to vent about their relationship issues, but Hafertepen was sharing these details with more than 200,000 readers across the world, including people in the already small gay kink community. Far from mere venting, it seemed to Tank’s friends that this was a way to humiliate Tank and influence how others saw him.

Following Tank’s death, Kingsbury (who again prefers to refer to his old friend as Jack Chapman) wrote on Tumblr, “Jack was deeply submissive, and found joy, love, and belonging in his relationship with Dylan Hafertepen. He eroticized an uncommon level of physical and emotional domination. It was difficult for me to tell whether Jack’s relationship—involving behavioral restrictions, physical changes, reverence towards his master, and deep shame at disappointing him—were hallmarks of abuse, or a part of a healthy Master/slave relationship.”