This has been a topic that has been on my mind for some time.
You might assume the topic of death threats is fresh thanks in part to the media storm that was Elevatorgate. But actually, we, all of us here at Skepchick that post regularly, have been receiving hate mail and death threats for years now. This is just one small example. Many of the threats we receive come in via our personal websites or from the contact links with fake return emails. The truly vicious messages tend to be anonymous. We usually ignore the hate mail because hey, some people are jerks and really hate to see successful people. So f-ing what. Amirite? But today, I read a post on itty.biz.com by By Naomi Dunford sent in by Elyse and I think it’s high time we discussed this.
My first question: What the fuck is wrong with people?
From Naomi’s blog post 8/29/11:
They decided I had to die.
I got a death threat.
I got another death threat.
And then I got one telling me that if I went to a popular blogger’s conference in November, they would find me, they would kill me, and they would kill everyone around me.
I then found out that the website owner had sent me a harassing email a few days earlier, ending it with “I guess I’ll see you around”.
As a reasonably prominent female face on the internet, I always knew the day would come when it would get very, very ugly.
I guess that day is here.
And, everyone take note: Naomi blogs about business. Nothing crazy. No heathen-baby-eating posts or hardcore feminism or even mundane advice on how not to pick up women. Nope. She blogs about marketing and business strategies.
From her post:
I have devoted my life to making sure you can bring your kids to Disney World and send them to college and pay for their overpriced weddings, and hell if I’m going to stop now.
Because this isn’t about me. I have the resources to protect myself. I have the support of a strong community with loud voices and far reaches. I have a contact list full of experienced friends who can give me crash course media training at 11 o’clock on a Sunday night.
This is about innocent women bloggers getting attacked for trying to make a go of it online. This is about all the people who are petrified when they get hate mail and don’t know who to ask for help. This is about smaller bloggers, and newbies, and women just finding their voice.
They don’t have what I have. They don’t have YOU. And they need you today.
I thought we had so much hate directed at us here at Skepchick because of the whole atheist-skeptic thing but it turns out that, gosh-golly-gee maybe we are indeed just hated for having lady-bits. Seems to be happening all over this here internet.
Show your support and read Naomi’s post in it’s entirety here.
• EDIT: August 30th 4:45pm For the sake of clarity here, I have not personally verified any of Naomi’s claims specifically and can only speak from our experiences here at Skepchick and as as public skeptics and online writers and activists. The story seems reasonable based on our experiences with hate mail and threats but Naomi’s story has not been verified by me.
Now my final questions: Why are prominent women online being targeted and threatened for speaking out or simply being successful and what can we do about it? Should we ignore? Should we shut-up and deal with it as I have been told by some to do? Should we hide as some recommend? Should we speak louder and then deal with more inevitable abuse? Should we form flash mobs complete with a robot armies to destroy the hate hidden in the shadows of each of our valleys and cities?