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Online Harassers Prove My Point Yet Again


This post and the video within contains NSFW language and discussion of online harassment and rape and death threats. Because of course it does!

Can you even believe it? I know, I know, we should be skeptical of outrageous claims but it’s TOTALLY true. We STILL GET VICIOUS HATE MAIL ABOUT COFFEE AND ELEVATORS. STILL. TODAY.


I brought up the fact that we still get misogynistic hate mail that references the “Dear Muslima…” comment written by Richard Dawkins and directed at Rebecca from almost four years ago in a talk I gave at SkeptiCon 7. That talk was about how online harassment became art and what we learned in the process of making that art. And the video of that talk was just posted by the fabulous people of SK7 yesterday, and so I figured I would just throw a link up here in case anyone felt the need to hear the sound of my voice. As I was logging in to write this post I ran across this bright, golden gem of an email that was JUST sent in to our contact link today. The email proves my point yet again. Here it is in all its glory and wisdom:

11:48 AM

Name: Rebecca, want to get a coffee?

Email: [email protected]


Comment: Hey you whiny bitch, Do you want to drink some coffee in an elevator?

Plz shave or wash ur snatch first so as to eliminate the offending odor. Thx.

Hope you can add this email to your repertoire of perceived oppression and pat yourself to it until your soaking wet.

P.S: The oppressed women of Somalia, India, Pakistan, Yemen, etc. look up to you… just kidding they never heard of you before, after all your just a cowardly, hateful profiteering cunt.

Have fun playing with your vagina. I love you. You should visit me and sit on my face one day.

Time: December 1, 2014 at 2:48 pm

IP Address:

Isn’t it amazing? There are actually men out there spending their time writing emails and a never ending stream of comments just like this. There are people out there being encouraged to target women online with bigoted hate speech and threats of death. This is now considered a normal and expected part of being an even somewhat public woman online today.

I think I will print out that email and fold it into an origami toad or maybe a pansy.

Speaking of paper crafts and better things to do with your time, here is the talk I gave about how I became the target of online harassment and what I did about it, that I gave at SkeptiCon 7. The comment section on Youtube is already flooded with ant-feminist, anti-women rhetoric.

What a shock.

To make you feel better about the world, here is a photo of my dog Rocket when he was a puppy.

rocket puppy2 sm

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  1. Every single time this topic comes up I am just INCREDIBLY BAFFLED at this behavior. What prompts someone to sit down and write such things to a stranger? It’s so crude and stupid and, ya know, I can actually believe that men like that are proudly chuckling to themselves about the things they say., but I still don’t get it.

    I would like to ask them just one question: Is this the kind of person you want to be? Seriously?

    Oh and Hi! Rocket. He’s a cutey.

  2. One of the myriad of reasons that the harassment persists is probably that people like Jaclyn Glenn *still* make videos that claim that Rebecca Watson lied (or perhaps misunderstood?) when she said that she was propositioned in the elevator – about three and a half years ago. The last one I know about was posted on Aug 30, ‘14, “Avoiding Awkward & Sticky Situations!“ Untruthful antifeminist videos are going to be made. I don’t expect anyone to try to stop that. What gives the MRA-talking-points videos more power to harm is that organizations like American Atheists promote Glenn’s work, thus ensuring that people who hate feminists, and spread misinformation about us, know they are welcome by a large and influential atheist organization. Of course, Dawkins’ foundation enthusiastically supports Jaclyn Glenn, but that was completely unsurprising. Danielle Muscato’s support of Glenn’s antifeminist work shocked and depressed me greatly. I think that if, sometime in the future, American Atheists stops endorsing the work of people who spread harmful lies, then the harassment of atheist/skeptical women will be reduced.

  3. Wow, they’re still attacking Rebecca for, um, telling men there’s an unfortunate implication when they hit on a captive audience at four in the morning? I don’t even think the guy who made that faux pas was this offended by Rebecca’s helpful hint so as not to come off like a total skeez. But then, MRAs can never MYOB, no?

    But young carnivora make everything better.

  4. Do a lot of people at this point in time not understand how twitter and commenting work? Is that why these lies are so easily spread? Because that tweet doesn’t even have anything to do with the “amazing” atheist.

    Should I do a social media 101 tutorial to explain how harassers use social media and hashtags to target people? Is that needed?

      • Thanks for letting me know but I worry that this speaks to the larger problem of people making false assumptions about us or others without fact checking and then taking that information as truth and spreading it.

    • Amy, it is certainly not your job to explain to us twitter ignoramuses how it works and what all the various cartoon swear words (“@#&!”) mean and how to figure out who said what to who and whether they are repeating a bit of hate or just reporting or outing a slimoid. That said, I generally find excerpted Twitter conversations impossible to follow. (The Tweet in the picture was easy enough to understand, though.)

      Googling “twitter newbie guide”, I quickly found this, which seems to provide the basic set of definitions. (Not sure about the definition of Direct Messaging, it seems to contradict itself and the later fuller explanation in section 4. This could be a sign the whole page is suspect or poorly edited.)

      To answer your questions, though, I think yes, a lot of people don’t understand how twitter works, but I think the lies are being spread by people who understand twitter and know exactly what they are doing. I do think there are a lot of us bystanders who just see “oh, another twitter storm”, and ignore it. Maybe a few people who try to engage but don’t understand what’s going on. I hope my link (or Google; there’s lots more) helps them. In a just world, you shouldn’t have to do that. Unless you want to do an Ask Surly Amy: “People keep speaking Twitterese around me and I don’t understand. Should I be concerned?”

      P.S. I could try to compress this to 140 characters: “#Notyourjob, but some/many/a lot of us could use some help here”.

    • I don’t know about anyone else around here, but I seem to be the cliched “babe in the wilderness” about how social media work. Twitter, for example, drives me to distraction — I’m often confused about where threads begin or end, and who’s saying what to whom.

      So perhaps a Social Media 101 tutorial is a good idea. It’ll help some of us who just dabble on the edges of social media understand how the harassers abuse systems to get away with their crimes.

    • “It is crazy what people do when their sexual frustration turns to fear and hate.”

      It’s not sexual frustration. That much is clear. If you’re starving, it might lead you to steal stuff from a food vendor or break into a grocery store, but it wouldn’t make you write hate mail to the editor of a foodie magazine.

      I don’t see him saying, “why won’t you put out for me?” What he’s complaining about is that “women” dare to think or act in ways that don’t fit in with what he wants. Note the mix of love and hate in the text.

      You might call it “narcissistic frustration”.

  5. Oh sweet holy suffering saints ‘n’ martyrs, David Osorio over at the whiny oppressed Libertarian skeptic site, whose URL I won’t justify with posting, had a piece on ElevatorGate and Dear Muslima just last week. He’s sad sad sad that people take issue with Richard Dawkins (hello, not-understanding-Twitter!!!), and don’t worship every sexist and imperialist thing the great man tweets. But mostly he dwells on Elevators, and how bad feminists are for not enjoying really inappropriate propositions. Almost four years after the fact, he can’t let it go, and accept the fact that a man was a total jerk and a woman mentioned it. Sometimes the mind reels.

  6. Well done. It’s a shame I didn’t have the chance to be in the audience.

    I knew the harassment problem was bad. I’m rather chagrined that I didn’t know just how bad the situation is. Honestly, I’m somewhat stunned. I can’t imagine how I’d deal with that sewage pit of hatred.

    Putting this talk together must have been difficult and distressing, and I thank you for taking on such a distasteful task. True, “distasteful” doesn’t cover it, but I’m out of words.

  7. There was a truther who changed his mind on a BBC roadtrip that took five conspiracy theorists around places involved in the 911 attacks. His name was Charlie Veitch.

    He said in an interview with Miles Power that he got death threats. People attacked him, attacked his family, tried to hack him…he didn’t get rape threats or gendered slurs of course, having just turned on a movement that held him up as the golden child and not a woman on the internet with an opinion or anything horrible like that, but he said the threats lasted a whole year. Now, he says things are back to normal and 96% of his responses are positive. Unlike women caught in the crosshairs of misogynists. That hatred never seems to end.

  8. Any one willing to make a petition demanding the Gov. do something about sexual harassment online? Unless something is done (this point is probably redundant anyways, because people have made it before), there will be no changes regarding policies that both protect against sexual harassment online as well as not infringing on our Constitutional rights.

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