The Legal Kerfuffle After a Sorority’s Secret Handshake Was Revealed Online

Shhh. Secrets are important.

This is not the handshake.
This is not the handshake. Brandi Redd/CC BY-ND 2.0

In November 2011 someone called “stepscloser” wrote a comment on the website Penny Arcade that, apparently, revealed some inside information about the sorority Phi Sigma Sigma—including their secret handshake.

The sorority was upset, and lawyers representing it demanded in letters that the comment be taken down. Penny Arcade, a popular webcomic focused on video game culture, refused. So the sorority, which has 108 chapters nationwide, sued the commenter, whose identity has never been revealed, and, according to Techdirt, recently won by default, after no one showed up to defend the anonymous post.

The sorority now is using that win to pressure other websites that have reposted the details of the secret handshake to take them down, Techdirt reports.

Why are you reading this? It’s because you want to know what the secret handshake is. But it’s Friday and my life is complicated enough as it is and I don’t want to invite undue scrutiny from the legal team of a sorority to this good website and I’m going on vacation very soon so I will not be sharing the secret in this post. What I will say is that Phi Sigma Sigma has not been entirely successful in getting it scrubbed from the internet. It’s still out there, though it might take a little poking around to find.