Gregory Alan Elliott used to be a royal pain in the ass. Elliott was a prolific user of Twitter who was notorious for his snarkiness and persistence. Some of Elliott’s tweets were funny, some exposed the hypocrisy of our politicians, but there were tweets that a few thought crossed the line. Now he’s been banned from using the Internet and in the process of being tried for criminal harassment. The court has already determined that no threats were made.
Stephanie Guthrie (@AmIRightFolks) is a Toronto feminist who (according to the Toronto Star) has taken on a “war against the trolls”. This isn’t the first time she’s taken on people she and her friends have deemed as misogynists; in a previous incident she used social media to expose and chastise someone who created a provocative game where the (distasteful) goal was to use violence against a feminist character.
Guthrie is also incredibly well connected with Toronto’s left leaning political class including a number of outspoken city councillors (we’ll get to this in a future instalment)- people whose hypocrisy Elliot gets great amusement out of exposing. Their allies in the media have been pummelling Elliott like Rocky Balboa in a meat plant. Of all the journalists who’ve covered Elliott’s story, one sticks out as having been particularly nasty- and, perhaps, vindictive…
Many readers of this site are already familiar with Toronto Star columnist Antonia Zerbisias. Your Humble Narrator’s first story about Zerbisias covered how she romanticised the FLQ as a child, and how she promoted one of the architects of the 2010 G20 violence as a courageous prison activist. Zerbisias reaction to this story was to make a vicious and unfounded attack over Twitter.
When politely asked to explain what part of the story she disagreed with, Zerbisias responded with an attack that calls one to question her journalistic ethics:
Coincidentally (or not) the story Zerbisias was referring to was about Gregory Alan Elliott. The link she used was a website created (at least in-part) by G20 ringleader Alex Hundert in an effort to discredit Your Humble Narrator’s credibility. Notice the circle with the arrows, a well-known anarchist symbol. Alex Hundert is not only a convicted criminal, but he’s also a hardcore thug. If you have any doubt of this, watch this short video of two women, a disabled man, and a trans person at Occupy Toronto:
Elliott has been highly critical of Zerbisias in the past, sending her six tweets between September 2009 and September 2010. None of them are particularly abusive, they’re the sort of stuff most journalists have to put up with- it’s part of the job. That said, they were weren’t particularly respectful:
If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that hell hath no fury like Antonia Zerbisias scorned. Her attack on Your Humble Narrator demonstrated how she has problems dealing with her anger- no sensible journalist would threaten to write a smear piece on someone on Twitter the way she did. This leads one to wonder how much anger Zerbisias had over Elliott when she wrote her story about him.
This tweet was made less than a month before she wrote her article. It’s also interesting to notice how she seems to have tried and convicted him on her own. Zerbisias threatened to include Your Humble Narrator in the story on December 12th- so, she made a concious decision to write a story about Elliott within no more than twenty days after making this tweet.
Zerbisias’ article was cleverly constructed. The first three quarters were focussed on past, horrible, incidents like the Amanda Todd case and the ugliest parts of Reddit.com (the nastiest site on the net). Then, right at the point where Zerbisias’ audience would be adequately horrified, she shifts gears discussing Guthrie’s plight against Gregory Alan Elliott. In the land of logical fallacies, this is what’s called an ad-hominem attack. (And it’s nasty)
Nowhere in her article does Zerebisias mention her connection to Elliott…
It’s impossible to guess what Zerbisias’ intentions were. Judging from her previous behaviour it’s quite possible that she’s just not smart enough to have figured out the impact of putting Elliott in a story that headlines with Amanda Todd. Either way, it’s seriously messed up- considering her tweets and her lack of objectivity, there’s no way the Star’s editors should have let her write this article.
Your Humble Narrator was in the courtroom on Thursday, and will be attending until the end of the trial- I’ll be writing more about the specifics of the case in the next few days. Things got exciting this afternoon when Elliott’s lawyer cross-examined Guthrie and got her to admit sending confusing emails to Elliott that she said contained ‘lies’.
This is an incredibly important case, one that all Twitter users should be aware of. Your Humble Narrator got copies of documents and other evidence that’s been submitted to the court. If you’d like to see what the fuss is about for yourself, click this link for access to the document archive.