Jezebel.com is a radical feminist website owned by Gawker that’s known as one of the most angry and controversial addresses on the Internet. Their articles are often visceral, intentionally provocative, and occasionally demeaning towards men. Jezebel has an unabashed agenda to promote radical feminism über alles- which is fair, we all have the privilege of free speech (at least, until Jezebel types rule the world).
One of Jezebel’s favourite issues is online harassment and “stalking”, so it’s no surprise to see them chiming in on the Gregory Alan Elliott Twitter trolling trial. Elliott has been charged with criminal harassment for sending unwanted tweets to three Toronto feminists- the type of case that gives wet dreams to your average Jezebel writer.
Lindy West jumped onto the case with so much gusto she forgot to check her facts…
West’s story is titled A Man Is Facing Jail for Harassing Women Online, and It’s a Big Deal. She’s right saying Elliott’s prosecution is a big deal, it’s a test case that could have an enormous impact on Canadian’s freedom to communicate online. Also, Elliott’s been banned from the Internet for over a year- that’s huge! To West, the big deal is that this is a rare case where law enforcement is taking an online harassment case seriously.
Unfortunately, the first sentence of her story begins with a mistruth:
“A Toronto man named Gregory Alan Elliott was arrested and charged two years ago with criminal harassment for threatening messages he allegedly sent to women via Twitter. “
Not a single one of Elliott’s tweets to his accusers was threatening. The police officer who’s been handling the case said this very clearly in court. Your Humble Narrator was in the court, but if that’s not enough evidence, check out the Toronto Star- a newspaper that’s taken an advocacy position for the alleged victim. Also notice the date on this story, it was published three days before West’s was. Many other media outlets reported the same.
Next, West decides to go all Antonia Zerbisias on us and tries to connect Elliott’s case with one that’s much worse. The Caroline Criado-Perez is a woman in the UK who was hit with a barrage of abusive tweets while running a campaign to get Jane Austen’s image on the £10 note.
A few of the tweets to Criado-Perez were threatening including one that said “I’ve only just got out of prison and would happily do more time to see you berried!”, and another saying “I will find you :)”. Though it’s likely people making tweets like this aren’t going to act on them, they definitely come across as harassment. As West points out in her story, two people have plead guilty for harassing Criado-Perez- it’s important to note that one of two convicted is a woman.
Elliott’s case is much less cut and dried. The most serious complaint against him is that he persisted tweeting three women, even after he was blocked by them, and after being asked to stop. The problem is that they asked him by Twitter, he claims to have blocked them, and there’s no way to ascertain if he saw the messages or not. This weakens the case considerably- as does the fact that the all the victims had to do was to block.
One of the tricky myths given to us by radical feminists is that women who speak out online are subjected to threats and harassment. One the one hand it’s absolutely true; women who speak out are often subjected to abuse. But equally, so are men. Your Humble Narrator knows this in a very personal way after having be subjected to death threats, messages like “go kill yourself” and slanderous character attacks- some of the most vicious came from women:
In this case, Your Humble Narrator was approached by a journalist from a Vancouver newspaper who was looking for comment on poverty in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Rachel Goodine of ACORN Canada jumped-in and made a slanderous remark that I’m a mentally ill stalker. Goodine has been stalking me online for over two years- I’ve never initiated a tweet towards her, I asked her to stop but she doesn’t. Her intercepting my communications like this presented (things have changed now) a real danger to my ability to build my career.
The test for Harassment in Canada is that the person being attacked has to fear for their safety. Elliott’s accuser, Stephanie Guthrie says she felt afraid because he ‘felt creepy’ when they met in-person- particularly how he asked her three times if she wanted a ride home. Not a single one of Elliott’s tweets to her was threatening, and she herself admitted that none of them were of a sexual nature.
Your Humble Narrator has now read through all of the tweets entered into evidence, and they’re mild in comparison to the abuse I and others experienced from people like Goodine. If the Crown (translated into American: prosecutor) chose this as a test case for online harassment then we must question the quality of their judgement. It’s an insult to anyone who’s been a victim of real harassment.
Lindy West’s article is even more of an insult. Her overzealous advocacy may help increase Jezebels page counts (and pocketbooks), but it’s a giant step backwards towards the goal of working out a real solution. West’s behaviour makes Gregory Alan Elliott look like a saint (and he’s certainly not in this case, but perhaps not criminal). Her behaviour is embarrassingly irresponsible…
[Note: Still more to come on this case, but first I need to complete Part IV of Idle No More Unmasked!]
“but it’s a giant step backwards towards the goal of working out a real solution.”
Ah but you assume that they are interested in a solution.
They are not. they want to drive salt into wounds, wether real or imaginary.
Indeed, they’re in this for the gender baiting. I hear that Jezebel does quite well financially from it…
I’m glad that you are covering this important trial and calling out people like Lindy West. I doubt that she will retract the error since there is no story without the false claim that GAE “threatened” Guthrie.
Once you realize that none of GAE’s over 100,000 tweets contained any kind of threat to Guthrie you have to wonder why was he ever arrested? Its scary to think that cops can break down your door and arrest you just because some paranoid attention whore “felt” “threatened”.
If there was any justice – Guthrie and the two other “victim’s” would be charged with public mischief. Maybe its not too late to press charges. If I was GAE’s lawyer I would be insisting on public mischief charges after this is finished as well as suing Guthrie for slander.
It is important to note that since Guthrie had blocked GAE (as he had asked her group to do) GAE was not even communicating directly with Guthrie. Hashtags are not a direct form of communication but rather a way to broadcast a message to anyone and everyone on twitter.
Look forward to reading your detailed account of the courtroom proceedings.
GAE’s lawyer stated to the judge that their defence is that he was subjected to a criminal conspiracy to attack him. If he’s successful, I imagine this avenue may be pursued.
I am looking through the disclosure documents and it appears that there was a coordinated effort to set-up GAE for arrest and to slander him.
The below exchange are tweets from one of the alleged “victims” – Heather Reilly. She is urging other members of this feminist clique to contact the lead detective. She states in one tweet that if you have not been victimized yet by GAE its because you haven’t turned down his inappropriate sexual advances. In other tweets she infers that GAE is a pedophile who “hits on 13 y/o).
It will be interesting to see what GAE lawyer does to Heather Reilly when she is on the stand. Did she really receive “inappropriate” sexual advances from GAE or did she make that up (lie about it)? Even Guthrie was clear in her testimony that there was no inappropriate sexual advances from GAE! I would ask Reilly on the stand and under oath what evidence does she have to assert – as she did – that GAE is a pedophile? Did she just make that up?
I really hope that GAE has a good lawyer because a good lawyer will destroy these witnesses based on what I have seen in these tweets.
TWEETS FROM HEATHER REILLY:
RT @ccath: If you’ve been harassed by @greg_a_elliott & would like to speak to police, there is contact info on this news release. http://t.co/m3dbZ0kD
RT @jkozuch Have you been harassed by @greg_a_elliott? If yes, please contact @TPSDetBangild to assist with their investigation: http://t.co/8vZ0IsA6
RT @TDotOpenLetter Dear Toronto women, if @greg_a_elliott was nice to you then that just means you hadn’t turned down his inappropriate sexual advances yet.
RT @TDotOpenLetter And if you have been harassed by @greg_a_elliott then I’m sure Toronto Police would appreciate knowing that he’s a serial offender.
He wonâ€™t stop RT @CromartyHeather: Creeping on the 13-yr-old’s @ replies now? Tsk tsk, dear @greg_a_elliott. Seems a little obsessive.
We can see a pattern emerging in articles by “journalists” friendly to Guthrie.
As with the article by Lindy West and Zerbisias – the Toronto Star’s Judith Timson wrote on this story and true to form she conflates the GAE story with a story that involved real threats against women.
In the Timson article she starts out recounting an American case involving writer Amanda Hess (who looks like a 10 year old boy). She had received an actual death threat from a guy on twitter who threatened to rape her and then cut her head off.
By deliberately conflating stories like this the Star is trying to slander GAE. No different from what they are doing to the Ford family (it is interesting to note that GAE seems to be a friend of Rob Ford, at least he was seen at the Ford Christmas party as an invited guest).
Do you know if Timson has a relationship with Guthrie or any other of the alleged victims?
Not that I am aware of . I am not really aware of her work. She seems to be an occasional features writer for the Star. The Star editor probably enlisted her to pile on GAE. I do know (as probably you do as well) that the Star’s Prima Donna – Robyn Doolittle is in very tight with Guthrie and her group of feminists.
Is she still going around claiming Goldsbie was her ex?
Very insecure person. Always namedropping, and in my experience, stretching the truth.
I didn’t hear any mention in the courtroom that Goldsbie was connected to her, other than a mention to an article he wrote.
It is interesting to read the letter from Twitter in response to Heather Reilly’s (@Ladysnarkalot) complaint against GAE.
In the letter Twitter advise that they cannot take action because the “offensive” tweets did not violate their terms of service (even to this day his account is not suspended!).
Indeed if you read the “offensive tweets” contained in the complaint the only thing mildly offensive is GAE makes repeated reference to Heather Reilly having a “fat ass” although he admits in one tweet that he has never met her and could care less about her ass.
For this Toronto Police laid criminal charges? This is outrageous and Toronto Police must be made to answer for their actions. If Det Bangild made the call to arrest GAE he should be fired from the force.
I wonder how Toronto Police were even certain of GAE’s identity? Did Twitter cooperate with police and provide an IP address OR did police just rely on the name given in the twitter handle? If so how could they be sure it was not a fake user? If in fact Twitter provided IP info to Police it is important for twitter users worldwide to know that twitter will not stand up for their privacy.
Another thing I would be interested in knowing about is the breach of peace bond. Was it related to his tweeting activity or completely unrelated – perhaps relating to his graffiti activity. If unrelated to his tweeting activity this would be an example of police trumping up charges as part of a malicious prosecution.
Crown prosecutor Marnie Goldenberg should be held responsible for bring this kangaroo case to trial.
In reviewing the disclosure documents I notice something that I think is very significant.
In the documents they have captured all the tweets with the #feministfascists hashtag (plural) but I don’t see any for #feministfascist (singluar).
If you search for #feministfascist (singular) tweets you get a completely different list of tweets!
From this list in the very first tweet from GAE he makes a friendly request for this feminist clique to UNFOLLOW and BLOCK his tweets!
gregory alan elliott @greg_a_elliott 24 Aug 12
A friendly request for any #FascistFeminist #creeps and #trolls to unfollow and block me. Also, #storify disrupts timelines, so, fraudulent.
I hope GAE’s lawyer is aware of this separate list and has seen this significant tweet. GAE implored the “victim’s” – his accusers to block and unfollow him. Had they done so they would not have received ANY direct communications from him. How can Toronto Police charge him with harassment based on direct communications?
Hopefully GAE’s lawyer has this information – I would email him if I had he contact details.
Is this a trial by judge or jury?
Just curious if there’s been anymore news on the trial? I’ve been trying to follow but mostly only seeing women defaming him and telling Guthrie to “stay strong.”
Due to a scheduling problem with the Judge, the trial has been adjourned until March 20th. I’ll be there to cover it, I’ll also be writing more about the case in the next week or so…
The anti-male sexism of our society is so extreme that only when women are subjected to what Elliott is subjected to will this change. The process itself is the punishment. Consequently you should stop allowing women to get away with harassing you. If you don’t subject them to the same laws to which you are subject as a man you allow the anti-male sexism of the Elliott case to continue. You should therefore report Rachel Goodine of ACORN Canada, and any other women who have harassed you, to the police and insist that if they do not take the case you will take them to the human rights tribunal for sex descrimination. Indeed, with this case in view, every man has reason to fear every woman with whom he has had a twitter disagreement and consequently every such man should report that woman for harassment. You may think this is ridiculous, but again, the injustice of the law is ignored so long as only men suffer that injustice.