August 30, 2018

He threatened to kill me

By Kendall Brown

The first time a man threatened to kill me online, I was 17.

I don’t remember what I said that he found so objectionable, and honestly, nothing I said would justify his abuse. But while my own words are long forgotten, I’ll never forget his specific, graphic threats or the way they made me feel. To this day, as I sit here writing this — a 31-year-old, successful, professional woman — I can still feel how small I felt in that moment. When I think about it, my chest still tightens with fear.

Since then, I couldn’t tell you how many times, how many men, how many faceless threats I’ve received. They all start to blend together eventually, when you’re a woman who makes a living writing (and having an opinion) online. Online harassment has become something of a right of passage for many people, especially for those from marginalized groups.

Screenshot of message that says, Remember theses you stupid CUNT!! Your Tshirt is fitting you are nasty woman. And I hope your in the next nightclub that gets shot up.This message, which I received following the Pulse nightclub shooting, is just one of the thousands of messages I’ve received online from complete strangers.

That’s why I feel so passionately about my work producing Ctrl Alt-Right Delete alongside Melissa and the HOPE not hate research team. The far right figures that we’re fighting back against — the Milo Yiannopoulos and Alex Jones of the world — aren’t just “trolls” or “provocateurs” as they would have you believe. The things they do online have real-world effect and the things they say hurt people.

That’s where Ctrl Alt-Right Delete comes in. Each week, we empower more than 15,000 Americans with the tools they need to fight back — and we need your help to keep it up. Will you chip in now to help us fund Ctrl Alt-Right Delete through the end of 2019?

Let’s be absolutely clear: online harassment is no longer “just trolling” and it no longer stays “just” online. Leonard and Veronique Pozner, whose six-year-old son, Noah, was the youngest victim at Sandy Hook, have had to move repeatedly and are unable to visit their son’s grave, because of the harassment they receive from online conspiracy theorists. Studies have linked domestic violence to online trolling and multiple cases of real-world stalking and violence have been revealed to have started online.

Screenshot of message that says, Apparently your not open to others opinions. why talk openly about shit and get fucking childishly pissed when s1 doesn't think the way you do. Insyead of having a 1 sided opinion . Thats whats wrong wth ppl like you. You see shit one way and fuck any one elses opinion. Personally I hope you end up mangled somewhere. You can block me now fucking child.When I reported this message, in which the sender says he hopes that I “end up mangled somewhere”, I was told it did not violate Facebook’s terms of service. As far as social media platforms are concerned, saying “I hope” means it isn’t a direct threat.

But here’s the good news: Since Melissa started Ctrl Alt-Right Delete a year ago, we’ve seen a lot of success in the fight against the alt-right. We’ve systematically chipped away at extremists’ online real estate, progressively taking away their ability to organize and fundraise online. Those are huge victories.

It was because of online activists like you that Facebook banned Alex Jones and Infowars, Twitter banned Milo Yiannopoulos and nearly every platform imaginable banned Richard Spencer. You did that. We did that. But we aren’t finished yet. We’re going to keep fighting until far right extremists don’t have a single iota of space to hurt people, whether online or off.

Help us keep fighting — chip in now to help fund Ctrl Alt-Right Delete through the end of 2019.