Robot 6

Mark Millar, others team up to take down online bully

For quite some time, a jerk on Twitter has been harassing females int he comics community, from Kelly Sue DeConnick to Jill Pantozzi. He uses various Twitter handles like @MisterE2009 and @JonVeee to post some very vulgar, nasty, threatening, over-the-top stuff.

I should warn you that his Twitter pages are not safe for work (NSFW), both in terms of what he’s posted and the images he has displayed; if you’re curious to see some of his tweets, Bleeding Cool has rounded up a bunch of them. Sue at DC Women Kicking Ass has said she’s been harassed by this guy for a couple of years now. “He’s been harassing women for two years using male and female names. I have them all and if anyone wants the list I have it.”

There was someone who wanted that list–Kick-Ass writer Mark Millar. After being tipped off by Ron Marz and several others, Millar targeted the bully and wrote on his message board:

So I’m asking you guys a favour. I’ve managed to secure this guy’s name and address, but he’s stateside and I’m unsure what the next step should be. In the UK, he would be charged by the police under the Malicious Communications act, but we have a lot of smart cookies on here and I know there’s several US attorneys who post here regularly. If we have his details and copies of his communication, how can he be prosecuted? If any of the pros who have been attacked here would like to make a case against him I’ll personally cover the legal costs. Twitter, I would imagine, can confirm his IP address if the artists make a formal complaint to the police.

Apparently several of those he’s harassed took Millar up on the offer, as today he came back and posted:

Thank you very much, but I engaged a criminal lawyer in LA yesterday and have one of the women involved co-ordinating with the others today, hopefully. I don’t want to say much more in a public forum just now as it may prejudice the case and between the details we’ve got and the tweets we saved the police have everything they need. Even if this doesn’t go to court the guy should hopefully be publicly outed in California and the shame of this will not only stop him attacking women online, but also discourage others from trying this in future. I found out last night that this idiot had been making sexual threats to some of the women concerned for over two years now.

Again, I stress that readers shouldn’t try googling the names he’s using as innocent parties may get targeted. He’s using false names for the most part, as you might expect. His IP address is all that matters and we’ve nailed the clown. This is a police matter now.

Big props to Sue, Mark, Ron and anyone else working to take this guy down. As Branwyn Bigglestone said, “…harassment is not new, but at the moment, people are banding together to fight back on behalf of the targeted women, and it’s fucking awesome.”

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Comments

136 Comments

That’s nice.
Let’s get this coward anonymous.

I wasn’t aware of this guy until a couple days ago when he was trolling Ron Marz and a couple others. This guy was filling my home feed with some awful stuff and it was pretty heartwarming to see how many of us acted in support of those on the receiving end. Particularly in reporting this tosser.

Bravo, Mark and the rest, for taking action and taking it in a way that makes sense.

Good riddance to bad rubbish!

Having opinions is one thing, but cyber-bullying is another.

I’ve been hard on Millar — hell, calling his magazine CLiNT makes it hard to like him — but when I saw he was doing this — I apologized for that and made a point to thank him.

Next time you think Kelly or Sue is over-reacting to criticism — do you have to live with this sort of crap?

WorldbreakerGrimm

September 2, 2012 at 1:04 pm

JUSTICE~!!!! Very awesome. Congrats to everyone involved in slapping this malicious idiot around; anyone who acts like this, cyber or otherwise, deserves to be locked-up and reminded that there’s real-world consequences for being a horrible person regardless of the forum…

For once more, Internet and the digital networks are working into the right ways: to put pervert behind bars (or near).

And, once again, beware of all your chats on any digital network. You do not know who is really the person behind its avatar. Internet and digital networks are great, but they also are dangerous if you put a single piece of your life on them.

Now, you are warned. BE SAFE IN YOUR CHATS.

Mr. Millar – you, sir, truly kick ass! Bravo to you!

I’d never heard of this guy until I saw the Bleeding Cool article. Disgusting, disgusting stuff. Bravo to Millar and the others for stepping up and doing the right thing…

Awesome, a real life “justice” “league” . :-)

Yeah, just heard about this today. Normally not a fan of Millar but this was a solid move on his part.

Two Bed Two Bath

September 2, 2012 at 2:04 pm

The irony being, of course, that the Millarworld forums continue to be filled to the brim with some of the worst excuses for human beings in the entirety of comics fandom.

You know, the bully may never grow up from his elementary school way of seeking female attentions….

Um…In the tweets in that article, he never threatened anyone.
He was certainly being a dick, but is it ok to go after people legaly for being dicks?
I’m not at all comfortable with that, i was threatened with death on the internet for not voting for obama, and i never thought to try and track the people down and sue them over it.
Certainly calling Captain Marvel bad names isn’t cause for lawsuits?

The Magical Platypus

September 2, 2012 at 2:29 pm

@Alex

He might not have threatened them but I would consider this guys tweets as a form of sexual harassment.

Alex, did you miss the tweets about gang-rape?

Alex, actually my example was not accurate as it was not an actual threat in that case. Either way, suffice to say, this person is conducting himself online in an unacceptable manner–and as noted in JK’s write-up, his conduct has been apparently inlcuded “harassing women for two years”. We may not be privy to all the evidence, nor do we know how the police will respond as of yet.

All I know is if my wife, daughter or sister was being harassed in this way, I would want it to be stopped–and the anonymous person to be properly ID’d.

I’m confused because I didn’t read any direct threats to harm anyone but lots of name calling and vulgarity.

Like Alex I posted on a political site where I wrote how union pensions and benefits were bankrupting my state and I was endlessly threatened with a beating in a parking lot and, the worst posting, trying to find out where I lived so my family and I could be put in a hospital to be attended to by union nurses to see how underpaid/overworked they were.

If you want to out the guy to shame him than OK, but being a jerk isn’t a criminal offense.

Wow. That guy really went to town with the whole “Gang rape” thing, didn’t he? I mean, to like an absurd degree.

I mean, even saying it once is insane. But this guy kept at it like it was his own personal catch phrase!

It’s nice to know that we can count on the Republican to support the guy who threatens to rape women.

Now if only Millar & gang can go after the other guys that tries to shut down Anita Sarkeesian after this.

Honestly there are no threats there. Was the guy an asshole, misogynist, vulgar, douchebag? Sure. Is that a criminal offense? No chance. I’m calling it right now: with the laws protecting free speech in the states this guy isn’t going to get charged. There is no crime under U.S. law. In the UK the laws are different in regards to hate speech and there might be a case but in the jurisdiction it will be tried in? Not a snowballs chance in hell.

Wow. I don’t like Mark’s writing at all, but as a human being, WELL DONE SIR! *salutes*

William Moulton Marston, creator of Wonder Woman – and also of the lie detector would I’m sure, have liked to test the machine on this bully to see how genuine the threats were – and maybe have based the right punishment on the results. Personally, as a guy, women have been huge influences in my comic book reading – Karen Berger being the main one – so I would really, at the very least, like to see this person named and shamed. I love being able to write and comment on comics and many things on the Internet, but this was too far, and something has to be done. Thanks Mark Millar, taking a stand like you did was a great and genuine attempt to quell these unwanted remarks.

His comments do not have to be threatening to you personally as an observer. They don’t even have to say that he is coming directly to kill someone. They only have to be threatening in the opinion of the victim and to be intimidating, to put that person in a state of fear. Check your state’s stalking laws. I bet you will find that stalking doesn’t have to be an imminent threat.

Also, Collen Doran says he made comments to her under another alias, pretending to be a woman, 1stNighshade

I first became aware of this guy yesterday when some creators reposted a few and tweats and invited reporting him to twitter. Kudos to all of those that brought attention to this with the aim to end it. Regardless of what happens, the guy knows that people will stand up against him.

Secondly, I am aghast and astounding that even THIS topic and what this guy was saying is being parsed to the degree it has been in this thread and for some to conclude that because he said “me and my friends should gang rape you’ it is totes different and non-threatening than if he had said “I will gang rape you”

For those of you who have received online threats for whatever reasons, and for whatever reasons of your own chose not to pursue any action in those cases, that is fine. That is your choice. But it does not make you better than anyone who does choose to pursue action in a case when they feel threatened. I have no idea what will come of it in court, who the fuck knows if it will get to trial, or if it won’t or if it, or if he will get convicted of anything, or if he won’t. Fuck if I know. But that is honestly completely beside the point; the most important thing here is to expose this asshole’s behavior in the hopes that it will stop and to ensure that he does indeed not pose a danger to anyone.

Why IP Addresses Alone Don’t Identify Criminals
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/08/why-ip-addresses-alone-dont-identify-criminals

I hope there is more then just an IP address to go on…

@KPhilipsen

Harassment and/or threats are not protected speech under the 1st Amendment. And even if his conduct is not judged to be criminal, he could still face civil charges of intentional infliction of emotional distress if anyone he harassed chooses to file such a suit.

If anyone would kindly link me to any law that would be applicable in this case I will happily change my position. I think the guy is a huge asshole but I am unaware of any way that he could be charged under US law. Not intending to defend him just pointing out the facts. Hate speech is protected in the US:

“In the United States, hate speech is protected as a civil right (aside from usual exceptions to free speech, such as defamation, incitement to riot, and fighting words).[54] Laws prohibiting hate speech are unconstitutional in the United States; the United States federal government and state governments are forbidden by the First Amendment of the Constitution from restricting speech.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech#United_States

Do I think what he says is right? No. But you know what? He has every right to say what ever he wants in the USA. If you ask me, there’s a lot of babies out there that only complain and tattle on someone because they aren’t being nice. Whaaaaaaaa!!!!! Give me a break, grow a pair people and just ignore him. Quit being a bunch of wussies.

@traci

I’m sorry but I believe you are mistaken as to what constitutes a threat under US law. A particular state may very well have an anti-stalking law that applies in this scenario but I am unaware of any. Please provide a link backing up your statement:

“His comments do not have to be threatening to you personally as an observer. They don’t even have to say that he is coming directly to kill someone. They only have to be threatening in the opinion of the victim and to be intimidating, to put that person in a state of fear.”

The applicable US law in this case would, as far as I can tell, be Title 18 Chapter 41: Extortion and Threats

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/876

As long as he aint threatening the women with death or anything sexual…. sorry ppl he can say whatever he wants :(

Big girls know Twitter has a Block function.

My girlfriend is a political commentator, and typically get extremely vile and disgusting remarks thrown her way on a normal basis. There is one particular Twitter user who has targeted her, and obsessively responds to everything she says. Outside of alerting the FBI to his (I assume it’s a he, but could be wrong) behavior and keeping him “on watch”, we have been told by numerous agencies (including friends who work for Homeland Security) there is not much that can be done.

As Kevin said, as long as the person doesn’t make some sort of actual threat to do something to her, our hands are tied in the situation.

I would like to beat the crap out of him though. :)

Good for Mark. I hope some of the bloggers who go around spreading Millar is a misogynist are a little ashamed of themselves now. You should see what some of these people blog on tumblr. They know who they are. Mark has always been a gentleman and good guy.

Should have just hired some thugs to beat him up real good, mafia style. Comicbook Mafia!

Reading some of his tweets, I must say that he’s reflective of the way a TON of people talk online to people, even to some extent right here on CBR. Such a waste of such a amazing tool for communication …

I don’t think anyone here has defended that guy, yet. I believe they are just pointing out that legally, it may not be that clear cut. I think the issue is the word threat. Its more accurate to call this harassment, which results in the target feeling threatened, but is not a direct threat. This should be taken down, but in order to do so, it has to be the correct charge. Millar knows this which is why he is talking to attorneys.

*this guy should be taken down

Good going . No one has any right to harasss anyone. But I think there needs to be some responsibility on both sides too. For example , I have seen some horrible things posted about Mark by some of these very bloggers whose right he has stood up for. They might not have been crass and disgusting like this guy but they have been awful too and unfair to him. There are few in particular who seem to make it their mission to stir disgust and it does not stop there either. The things I have seen about other male creators make me ashamed that the ladies can behave this way. Just because we are female does not give us the right slate people as woman haters and make claims that for example Mark is full of himself etc because we don’t like a story. Mark shows who has the real class here.

Turn off your computers and go outside. This would solve all of this. Everyone is so damned wrapped up around their web life they have forgotten to have a real one. Ridiculous!

“As long as he aint threatening the women with death or anything sexual…. sorry ppl he can say whatever he wants.”

Except he’s making references to them getting gang raped or some form of sexual assault. He may not be saying that he’d do it himself. But the repeated instances of his statements (He made reference to gang rape on several occasions, a statement that is hardly appropriate even on the best of circumstances), his misogynistic attitude (he went after female creators far more than males, and even when he went after men he often showed a misogynistic attitude), and his dubious practices (posting under several usernames, even interacting with HIMSELF at one point), showed that there was a pattern of aggressive and targeted behavior regarding his actions.

This is a special circumstance, brought on by the actions of the guy himself. This isn’t just someone saying that he dislikes someone’s work. This is someone making repeated sexually charged statements towards a certain group of people, specifically females and creators. It may seem like an overreaction, but if this nips something in the bud before he actually does something truly reprehensible then it probably is for the best.

The linked tweets aren’t all the comments he’s made. Hate speech may be protected, but harassment is not. There’s a difference between a general statement or tweet of “women should be gang raped, they love it” (which is a version of something he has actually said) and telling someone directly “you need a raping” (something else he actually directly tweeted to a woman, maybe not featured in the Bleeding Cool roundup). One is gross and horrible, but the other can easily be interpreted as a threat. And perhaps this particular case will not ultimately qualify for legal sanctions because our laws still need to catch up with the technology–but that is only done by trying to pursue legal ramifications for this kind of behavior, drawing attention to it, getting the system involved. A civil suit could set a new precedent. We can’t know at this point, but it’s certainly worth pursuing.

Normally I’m for free speech but stuff like this is absurd. I guess in a lot of cases it is hard to prove unless witnessed but on twitter and online where it is saved, copied etc you can prove it. If anything it should be stopped as a form of stalking and harassment. I’ve always hated cowards that picked on people because they needed to feel better about themselves. Sadly they are/were probably bullied as well but it doesn’t make it right to go out and do it to others. To target women makes this scum even more of a coward in my eyes. I have zero respect for any guy who victimizes or targets women like this. There should be laws about hate speech because you know what? It leads to physical attacks. Nobody should have to put up with it because it is allowed. As I said I’m for free speech but the internet allows people power to be anonymous and they feel a courage that they wouldn’t often feel in person. Anyone who defends this crap would feel differently if the victim was someone close to them that they loved and cared for. Twitter needs to make it so you can block someone for attacking you and making it so they can’t see your profile and posts. I guess you could make your account private but for someone in the public like an artist or writer that adds to the harm done. Laws about stalking and harassment need a long overdue update especially where the internet is concerned.

Cyberstalking has also been addressed in recent U.S. federal law. For example, the Violence Against Women Act, passed in 2000, made cyberstalking a part of the federal interstate stalking statute. Still, there remains a lack of legislation at the federal level to specifically address cyberstalking, leaving the majority of legislative prohibitions against cyberstalking at the state level.[23]

Most stalking laws require that the perpetrator make a credible threat of violence against the victim; others include threats against the victim’s immediate family; and still others require the alleged stalker’s course of conduct constitute an implied threat. While some conduct involving annoying or menacing behavior might fall short of illegal stalking, such behavior may be a prelude to stalking and violence and should be treated seriously.[33]

Online identity stealth blurs the line on infringement of the rights of would-be victims to identify their perpetrators. There is a debate on how internet use can be traced without infringing on protected civil liberties.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberstalking

If someone says I should go F myself is that an actionable threat?

In the United States we have the freedom of speech but you dont have the right to be a asshole. You would be surprised how often the two are confused.

@ Alexa

Intentional infliction of emotional distress

Defendant acted intentionally or recklessly; and
Defendant’s conduct was extreme and outrageous; and
Defendant’s act is the cause of the distress; and
Plaintiff suffers severe emotional distress as a result of defendant’s conduct.[6]

Intentional or reckless act
The intent of the act need not be to bring about emotional distress. A reckless disregard for the likelihood of causing emotional distress is sufficient.[citation needed] For example, if a defendant refused to inform a plaintiff of the whereabouts of the plaintiff’s child for several years, though that defendant knew where the child was the entire time, the defendant could be held liable for IIED even though the defendant had no intent to cause distress to the plaintiff.

Extreme and outrageous conduct
The conduct must be heinous and beyond the standards of civilized decency or utterly intolerable in a civilized society. Whether the conduct is illegal does not determine whether it meets this standard. IIED is also known as the tort of “outrage,” due to a classic formulation of the standard: the conduct must be such that it would cause a reasonable person to exclaim “Outrageous!” in response.

Some general factors that will persuade that the conduct was extreme and outrageous (1) there was a pattern of conduct, not just an isolated incident; (2) the plaintiff was vulnerable and the defendant knew it; (3) the defendant was in a position of power; (4) racial epithets were used; and (5) the defendant owed the plaintiff a fiduciary duty.[7][8]

In public
Many jurisdictions, including Arkansas and New York, require the element that the incident complained of must have taken place in public.

This is consistent with other Dignitary Torts, which all require some public space, publicity, or publication.

Causation
The actions of the defendant must have actually caused the plaintiff’s emotional distress.[8]

Plaintiff must actually suffer emotional distress
The emotional distress suffered by the plaintiffs must be “severe.” This standard is quantified by the intensity, duration, and any physical manifestations of the distress. A lack of productivity or a mental disorder, documented by a mental health professional, is typically required here, although acquaintances’ testimony about a change in behavior could be persuasive.

An example of an act which might form the basis for a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress would be sending a letter to an individual falsely informing the person that a close family member had been killed in an accident.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intentional_infliction_of_emotional_distress

Headline: “Publisher of CUNT magazine teams up to take down misogynist.”

Where’s his medal?

@Mike
Maybe the constitution needs to be rewritten to make that the case.

If I ever met that goon, I would’ve given him the ol’ “one punch”.

Mark Millar said this guy is in California, which has passed legislation against cyber-bullying/harassment/whatever you want to call it:

653m. (a) Every person who, with intent to annoy, telephones or
makes contact by means of an electronic communication device with
another and addresses to or about the other person any obscene
language or addresses to the other person any threat to inflict
injury to the person or property of the person addressed or any
member of his or her family, is guilty of a misdemeanor. Nothing in
this subdivision shall apply to telephone calls or electronic
contacts made in good faith.
(b) Every person who, with intent to annoy or harass, makes
repeated telephone calls or makes repeated contact by means of an
electronic communication device, or makes any combination of calls or
contact, to another person is, whether or not conversation ensues
from making the telephone call or contact by means of an electronic
communication device, guilty of a misdemeanor. Nothing in this
subdivision shall apply to telephone calls or electronic contacts
made in good faith or during the ordinary course and scope of
business.
(c) Any offense committed by use of a telephone may be deemed to
have been committed when and where the telephone call or calls were
made or received. Any offense committed by use of an electronic
communication device or medium, including the Internet, may be deemed
to have been committed when and where the electronic communication
or communications were originally sent or first viewed by the
recipient.
(d) Subdivision (a) or (b) is violated when the person acting with
intent to annoy makes a telephone call or contact by means of an
electronic communication device requesting a return call and performs
the acts prohibited under subdivision (a) or (b) upon receiving the
return call.
(e) Subdivision (a) or (b) is violated when a person knowingly
permits any telephone or electronic communication under the person’s
control to be used for the purposes prohibited by those subdivisions.
(f) If probation is granted, or the execution or imposition of
sentence is suspended, for any person convicted under this section,
the court may order as a condition of probation that the person
participate in counseling.
(g) For purposes of this section, the term “electronic
communication device” includes, but is not limited to, telephones,
cellular phones, computers, video recorders, facsimile machines,
pagers, personal digital assistants, smartphones, and any other
device that transfers signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, or
data. “Electronic communication device” also includes, but is not
limited to, videophones, TTY/TDD devices, and all other devices used
to aid or assist communication to or from deaf or disabled persons.
“Electronic communication” has the same meaning as the term defined
in Subsection 12 of Section 2510 of Title 18 of the United States
Code.

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=00001-01000&file=639-653.2

“Big girls know Twitter has a Block function.”

This guy went from account to account to account so he could continue his bad behavior and get around their “blocks.” Quit trying to blame the victims.

If people didn’t react like this, this kind of behavior would quickly fade away. It is the reaction that these people desire, and it’s a reaction they get that fuels them. If someone says something that crosses the clearly established legal boundaries, he should be prosecuted. Otherwise, reacting to it just gives the attention that people like this desire in the first place.

We will soon reach the point where someone will express an opinion that someone else doesn’t agree with, which will then become “offensive”, which will then become “hate speech.” Then, the offended party will have “cause” to silence, through force of law, the offender.

It doesn’t matter how offensive what someone says is…and I personally think it was wildly offensive….but if it doesn’t rise to the level of a threat, or defamation (lie), or any of the other legal allowances for curtailing free speech, he MUST be free to say it.

Otherwise, if he is silenced, there’s absolutely nothing stopping someone else from doing the same to you.

I was frankly surprised to see someone like Mark Millar spearheading this, mostly because he does write some pretty misogynistic stuff. I’m not saying he’s alone, and I’m not saying that his whole RAPE OF WONDER WOMAN “joke” is the worst thing ever. This asshat MisterE2009 is the real problem. However, reading Millar’s creator-owned titles, it’s mostly either fantasy females like the hyper-sexual Lois Lane-esque reporter of SUPERIOR or the hyper-violent/hyper-sexual Fox of WANTED or the sociopathic yet totally self-reliant child of Hit-Girl or it’s the betrayers like Wesley Gibson’s goth girlfriend or even his ULTIMATES version of Black Widow (who is disposed of in possibly the most phallic way aside from Bullseye killing Elektra) or then you simply have the victims like Dave’s lady-love in KICK-ASS 2 getting violently raped or the mother in THE SECRET SERVICE. I don’t think that I’m being overly sensitive here either. While Millar is championing this on Twitter, he’s not helping in the comic world in his Eastwood-esque treatment of female characters. I can hope that this will mark a turning point for him and then maybe I’ll start picking up books by him again.

First off, Walter… I LOVE that. Kinda drives that point home. And Timber… come on. When someone threatens rape, it’s a little hard not to take that not just personally, but to call it out. I appreciate that most people on the internet are trolls who have nothing to offer society other than being a douchebag, but some of them are genuinely violent human beings and there’s just no way of knowing. If a kid is walking around your neighborhood killing animals, you’d probably want someone to peek into that kid’s head. The whole idea of prosecuting hate speech seems to be counter-intuitive in the age of the message board because there’s SO DAMN MUCH of it, but when someone tells you that your kids need “a good raping” and threatening sexual assault to other female comic creators… well, to me, that’s a big klaxon going off and something needs to be done, because we sure as shit can’t depend upon the social contract anymore.

“Turn off your computers and go outside. This would solve all of this. Everyone is so damned wrapped up around their web life they have forgotten to have a real one. Ridiculous!”

All of these women partially make their living working from a computer. This person actively sought them out to harass them.

What has disappointed me about many of the commenters challenging Millar & folks–or seeming sympathetic for the plight of the alleged harasser (or seemingly making *him* the victim)–in some manner clearly have not tried to consider if this was your spouse, your girlfriend or a female member of your family on the receiving end of this abuse.

KPhiipsen: What? You took my comments completely out of context. I said that this was a stalking issue, and it is. It doesn’t matter if his comment seem threatening to YOU it’s not about YOU, it’s about the victim. I didn’t say anything about his comments having to be a threat to get police action. I specifically referred to stalking law and how the threat doesn’t have to be imminent. Then you go and post something that proves my point:

“…still others require the alleged stalker’s course of conduct constitute an implied threat.”

That was my point, yes.

Here’s New York Law:

“causes material harm to the mental or emotional health of such person, where such conduct consists of following, telephoning or initiating communication or contact with such person, a member of such person’s immediate family or a third party with whom such person is acquainted, and the actor was previously clearly informed to cease that conduct; or
is likely to cause such person to reasonably fear that his or her employment, business or career is threatened, where such conduct consists of appearing, telephoning or initiating communication or contact at such person’s place of employment or business, and the actor was previously clearly informed to cease that conduct.”

“With intent to harass, annoy or alarm a specific person, intentionally engages in a course of conduct directed at such person which is likely to cause such person to reasonably fear physical injury or serious physical injury, the commission of a sex offense against, or the kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment or death of such person or a member of such person’s immediate family;”

There’s nothing in New York Law that says the guy has to tell you he’s coming to poke out your eyes and rape you on Tuesday, it can be a pattern of behavior and implied threat, not a direct threat.

It’s not up to a bunch of guys to tell any woman that having some total stranger follow you around the internet, come up with new ID’s every time you block him, and then send you one disgusting message after another, that this is not stalking. This is threatening to any woman who has been through it. Some guy who spends a lot of time on 4chan, that’s his entertainment. Some woman trying to do a webcomic, spending time on twitter with her fans, getting ugly rape comments from some stranger, that is a threat, it hurts her livelihood, it’s stalking. It’s not up to some guy this never happens to to tell a woman it isn’t. That’s the point.

@traci

First of all nobody is defending the poster. Period. I am simply pointing out where some of the assumed positions regarding the law may not be factually accurate.

Thank you for reading my postings of the applicable laws that I was able to research, I am Canadian, as American law isn’t my area of expertise.

“…still others require the alleged stalker’s course of conduct constitute an implied threat.”

Stalkers often present an implied threat to their victims. For example, repeatedly following a person is generally perceived as threatening. The threat may not be expressed but may be implicit in the context of the case. I’m not sure in this case if simply posting on Twitter would qualify.

https://www.ncjrs.gov/ovc_archives/bulletins/legalseries/bulletin1/2.html

I think that, most likely, misdemeanor harassment would be the highest charge able to be substantiated in a court of law as civil law has a lower burden of proof required than criminal.

I’m not telling any woman what is or is not stalking. In fact my last three posts have contained no commentary on the situation whatsoever and merely contained a direct copy/paste of the law as written.

“Some woman trying to do a webcomic, spending time on twitter with her fans, getting ugly rape comments from some stranger, that is a threat, it hurts her livelihood, it’s stalking. It’s not up to some guy this never happens to to tell a woman it isn’t. That’s the point.”

I apologize but I have to disagree. It isn’t up to any person male or female to tell anyone what the law is. The law is the law. Opinion and personal experience do not change the law as written. All we can do is research what the law actually says not make claims based on how the situation makes us feel.

You must be deliberately misunderstanding me because the issue is clear. The law is about WHAT THE VICTIM FEELS ABOUT THE IMPLIED OR IMMINENT THREAT. That is the point. The law says that is up to the victim to decide if they are under stress or possible harm. Not for YOU some guy on the internet.

I don’t know why this is so hard to grasp. The law states that the VICTIM and the VICTIM’s experience and feeling about the matter are entirely at issue, not some guy playing internet lawyer or running around twitter getting his feelings hurt because he thinks his free speech rights are infringed upon because he doesn’t feel he can say “I want to fuck you fifteen times in the eye with an icepick” are gone.

The law clearly and repeatedly states that the victims emotional state is entirely an issue here. No matter how much you want to pretend it isn’t.

Just because you think it’s OK to run around telling some woman how many different ways you want to see her get raped, and then you prance off and pretend it was a joke, does not mean the VICTIM does not have her own interpretation of the 147th time you said it to her as threatening and abusive.

Mr Canada the law is clear down here, and I have already been through it. I had great satisfaction when the police carted his ass off.

Absolutely the woman’s mental and emotional state is an issue but it isn’t as simple as making a claim as you imply. If you would have read the links I provided you would have seen that:

Plaintiff must actually suffer emotional distress
The emotional distress suffered by the plaintiffs must be “severe.” This standard is quantified by the intensity, duration, and any physical manifestations of the distress. A lack of productivity or a mental disorder, documented by a mental health professional, is typically required here, although acquaintances’ testimony about a change in behavior could be persuasive.

Regardless this issue is obviously much more emotional for you than it is for me. I’ll leave things here and simply say that we will need to wait and see what the California court rules. It will be interesting to watch this case unfold if it gets off the ground.

I didn’t say it was simple. I didn’t imply it was simple. I said it was not up to you how much harm this did to another person. You don’t get to make the blanket decision that based on what you see here and here alone that stalking didn’t happen.

That’s it.

And yes, it is an emotional issue, that’s the point. Any woman who has been raped, molested, or stalked before will not have a very nice reaction to two years of this kind of abuse on the internet.

That’s all I have to say.

Thanks for tryign to explain the situation to me, what i’m trying to get at though, is being a dick isn’t against the law. Sexual harrassment via tweets instead against the law either.
Now, if they want to give out his actual name and address…if that is legal, then feel free, say who the guy is, sure, make people responsible for their actions online.
But i don’t see them winning a case, hurting it further is the sheer amount of dicks online and the gigantic amount of lawsuits this would open up.

Millar deserves major props for taking this clown down. Good job Millar.

Free speech allows a person to express themselves in a public environment without persecution or censorship. It does not allow one person’s right to privacy to be jeopardized by someone else. If this guy were just ranting about these people on a blog and saying nasty things that’s one thing, but actively spamming their twitter accounts with hateful messages that *note* DO IMPLY BODILY HARM (constantly referencing gang rape) qualifies as harassment, which is not protected under free speech laws. While they might not be able to get him fined or sued, but they can at least ban him from twitter and block him from any social media cites that agree with the terms.

Nice one Mark! Can we start putting some fear into online bullies now? Criticism is one thing, but prolonged harassment is not good for any part of society- Internet or otherwise!

Huh — how many different names does this dude post under?

Because I often see posts by the likes of Hudson and DeConnick fill up with nasty comments that sound like they’re all written by the same guy.

Two years? For fuck’s sake.

I applaud Millar for doing this but I’ve dropped his titles partially because of the way he treats the female characters as noted by “James Crankyman”, I think it was in the origin of the Ultimate Red Skull where the female character was gang-raped and then watched as her infant was dropped out of the window.

I do love how whenever an issue of internet bullying comes up, and the possibility of legal action against said bully comes up, people weakly try to defend the anonymous creep doing the bullying.

Argue the legal ramifications all you want, but don’t try to convince us that what they did was okay. It isn’t and it wasn’t. And jerks like this are hoping for that sort of reaction. “Aw come on, it’s JUST WORDS.”

I’m surprised at the number of people (not just here) who can’t see that free speech ends where a rape threat begins. Patterns of harrassment and stalking aren’t any less dangerous for being online; should we really be more concerned about this creep’s voice being silenced than the possibility that he’s more than just a talker? I know it’s a well-known trope that internet jerks are emboldened by anonymity to say and threaten things they’d never dare in real life, but what about the millions of people on the internet who generally conduct themselves in the same way that they do in real life? We typically only use the ‘they’re different people when they’re online’ excuse to let trolls off the hook while assuming that civilised, professional-speaking types are exactly as they appear; but why give the worst-behaved the benefit of the doubt? ‘He hasn’t done anything, they’re just words…’ Laws against verbal intimidation and stalking exist so that we don’t have to wait until somebody gets physically hurt before taking action. I’m all broken up about this guy’s right to vent sexualised hatred at real women being curtailed.

Jesus wept this comment thread is depressing. Full of men assuming that women wouldn’t really find persistent gang-rape taunts that distressing. QUIT MAKING A FUSS WOMEN JEEZ! In what realm of your collective internet nerd consciousness does ‘free speech’ cover following somebody about and letting them know they deserve raping to death? Can I stroll about the USA racially abusing people as well ? Is that how it works ? Do half of the morons here actually interact with living human beings ? Idiots.

I agree—this is depressing. A few observations of my own:

1. I spent the first three years of my professional career copyediting law books, and if there’s one thing I learned from that, it’s that trying to interpret statute is a fool’s errand for lay people. I ran into so many cases where statutes seemed to say one thing but are applied very differently in practice. If you read the original post, Millar is working with a lawyer, so presumably this aspect is covered.

2. I also spent four years as a newspaper reporter watching our local police in action. They aren’t going to bother to try to get an arrest warrant unless they think they have a case they can take to court, and the judge isn’t going to grant them a warrant unless there is probable cause. So relax, internet lawyers! This is what we have a real legal system for.

3. There are other options besides arrest. The cops can stop by and talk to him, without an arrest or charges. That can be intimidating. The women being harassed can take civil action or send cease-and-desist letters. The harasser can be banned by his ISP, although that will probably only be a temporary inconvenience for this guy.

4. I have been sexually harassed, but never like this. This guy is horrific, and the way he is pursuing these women is intrusive. Being on the receiving end of this sort of thing is a terrible feeling, and then having it minimized by people who don’t get just how bad it is—that makes it worse.

All you guys who are standing up for this dude’s “freedom” to harass other people: Stop it. You don’t know what you are talking about, and you’re making yourselves look like jerks. Like Mark Millar says, let the police and the lawyers handle it.

I don’t understand why the victimized parties let this go on, in some cases for years, before someone like Millar heard and decided to deal with it on their “behalf”, as Ms. Bigglestone put it?

Apparently the guy works with children—our society needs to do a better job of stamping out psychopaths and psychopathic behaviour.

It looks like all this guy’s known Twitter accounts have disappeared—not clear whether he took them down or Twitter did (given that some folks reported him for abuse yesterday).

It’s amazing how brave some people are when they can hide behind a fake name.

@Squidge – Maybe the victims didn’t do anything because any time a female creator or commentator in comics tries to raise awareness of harrassment and stalking online, they get deluged by a bunch of comments telling them to get over it, stop whining for ‘special treatment’, and respect the poor downtrodden stalkers’ right to free speech. Just a hunch.

And personally, I think focusing on the action or inaction of the victims in this case is an odd choice, as if they, and not the stalking misogynist asshole, are responsible for the situation; it has more than a tinge of ‘she didn’t fight back, so her story is suspect’ victim blame.

Wow, you make a lot of assumptions and cast some aspersions there!

And I don’t think reporting abuse to twitter or the authorities has anything to do with perceptions on online forums, you have either misunderstood my question or misconstrued it purposefully to fit in line with your gender politics. If I may make one assumption myself, probably the latter.

Bridgid Alverson for the win.

Bravo to Mark Millar. Who knew he had it in him? (Um. he’s actually done quite a bit for charity. And he’s probably the “poster boy” [no pun intended] for Capital-F “Free Speech”. IN what other era would his snarky, off-hand misanthropic comics be published by major media outlets? I’ve read his work and enjoy SOME of it but really … Mark Millar’s called the cops on a stupid wee bully? GOOD FOR MARK MILLAR! [“Why’d it take so long?” and “Why did it take Mark Millar to do it?” are issues we’ll leave aside at the moment.])

I’d like to speak to those who feel a slippery slope is being broached, in terms of prosecuting this disgusting wee bully’s “right” to “Free Speech”. *ahem*

Y’know how rednecks say “FREEDOM AIN’T FREE!” Well, they’re right. (I mean, correct.) It ain’t free. Neither are you. And this has nothing to do with empty chairs or “Clint” Magazine Eastwood [see what I did there?] or Big Government or the very public bun-fight you folks call “an election”. No, this is where the rubber hits the road.

Your right to punch me stops as soon as my nose begins. Assault is a crime, I don’t care, I’m not listening to any justifications. EVERY JURISDICTION ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH (well, everyone anyone would want to spend time in, anyway) recognizes this very simple fact. Assault is a crime. That bit about sticks and stones and all that crap they told you when you were a kid? It’s lies. Oh and Santa Claus ain’t real, neither is BATMAN. (*take that BACK!*)

If you’d like a taste of abuse, I could surely give it to you. (Lord knows I’VE HAD ENOUGH abuse in my life to know how to inflict it.) Five minutes in, you’d be begging for the sticks and stones.

Look, fellas. Empathy. Put yourself in that situation. It’s only a good thing that this rotten wee twerp is getting in trouble for shooting off his pie-hole.

Okay. I’m glad we had this talk. (I was only kidding about abusing you. It’s like Bad Cop\Adorable Cop, y’know?)

Squidge, Millar put money on the table, he talked to the lawyer. He has means to do so and do so effectively, which the victims don’t. Plus, this is something that happens to them constantly from many venues, they can’t pursue everyone. They just want to live and work in peace. AED reacted this way because you sounded passive-aggressive. The money and time seem like obvious issues.

That bully has been doing it for at least 2 years – this is absolutely disgusting.

Go, Mark!!!!!

He’s definitely an asshole but I’m not sure a crime was committed.

I’m in law school currently and there is a chance for intentional infliction of emotional distress, but the victims would probably need something to prove damages. (Like they had to go to therapy, became depressed and missed work) because courts are sometimes wary of having to speculate on how much someone was hurt emotionally.

However I think you guys are missing out on what is another possible outcome of litigation. Even if the case fails and he goes free he still has to go to the time and expense of fighting it in court, and as this isn’t a frivilous lawsuit he won’t be able to avoid it by a motion to dismiss (maybe summary judgment if they don’t have anything better than an IP to identify him). Sometimes just wasting a jerks time and money may make him think twice about continuing to do that stuff.

I do wonder if perhaps a restraining order is possible? I have no knowledge of how far that sort of law extends.

Is pointing out that the applicable legal statutes may not be grounds for an arrest really defending this man? I do believe that everyone in this thread has strongly condemned the posters actions. Debating the nature of the legal case is not defending him. Some of us find law and legal cases interesting. I for one will be following this situation closely and am very interested to see how it plays out.

Millar himself has said that this is an exploratory legal action:

“Even if this doesn’t go to court should hopefully be publicly outed in California and the shame of this will not only stop him attacking women online, but also discourage others from trying this in future.”

@Timber72 “If people didn’t react like this, this kind of behavior would quickly fade away.”

No, it doesn’t quickly fade away. It went on for over 2 years before someone reacted like this. Perhaps stop concentrating on the content of the speech and look instead at its pattern, since that’s what is important here. That’s what causes it to cross the line from random jerk on the Internet and into possible harassment territory.

@ Jethro Tull

“Can I stroll about the USA racially abusing people as well ?”

Actually, yes.

“In the United States, hate speech is protected as a civil right (aside from usual exceptions to free speech, such as defamation, incitement to riot, and fighting words).[54] Laws prohibiting hate speech are unconstitutional in the United States; the United States federal government and state governments are forbidden by the First Amendment of the Constitution from restricting speech.[55][56][57][58]

The “reason why fighting words are categorically excluded from the protection of the First Amendment is not that their content communicates any particular idea, but that their content embodies a particularly intolerable (and socially unnecessary) mode of expressing whatever idea the speaker wishes to convey.”[59]

***Even in cases where speech encourages illegal violence, instances of incitement qualify as criminal only if the threat of violence is imminent.*** [60] This strict standard prevents prosecution of many cases of incitement, including prosecution of those advocating violent opposition to the government and those exhorting violence against racial, ethnic, or gender minorities.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech#United_States

The Boy With A Herve Villechaize Tattoo

September 3, 2012 at 8:07 am

All those on the internet that LOVE to repeatedly post to Rob Liefeld on how he should be dead, want him to eat a bullet, hope for hateful stuff to happen to him because THEY don’t share his opinions or like his work…remember this. It’s only a matter of time before HE feels threatened by the more than harsh vitriol that is slung at him and takes his own actions against THEM, putting HIS money to use.

By the way, this is coming from someone who is NOT A ROB LIEFELD FAN and HATES HIS IMMATURE ANTICS VIA HIS TWITTER and cannot stand his past actions of lifting art and layouts, trying to steal creators from other studios, and misappropriating funds from Image Comics for his own failed imprint Maximum Press (that partially resulted in his getting ousted from Image in the 90s).

I may not agree with some of his views (although I DO think he has a point on how top brass sticks their noses into comics by imposing stuff to editorial for editorial to impose onto the creatives) and I may make the occasional joke at his expense over the way he’s created (art and writing), but I will never make a hateful and evil comment on how he should die or someone should off him from the face of the Earth (something I’ve seen SO MANY TIMES on message boards and the like, a lot of times when he’s defended himself and people STILL make their evil comments at him).

Totally uncalled for, just as this Twitter stalker has done over the past couple of years at these women in the comic book community.

Regardless of whether or not the women are professionals in the industry of comics, making a pointed concerted effort to create multiple online accounts/posing as women under some of these pseudonyms, repeatedly posting comments accusing several of racist statements as well as repeated sick and downright obsessive comments of the gang rape variety (He was all too obsessed on the gang rape comments and his background image on his page was one of a woman wearing a Catwoman suit slumped to the floor of a tiled bathroom/shower type of area, pouring milk over her mouth in a suggestive way as to suggest she was swallowing seminal fluid), is NOT right and just reeks of the actions of a nutjob of potentially James Holmes proportions.

Remember what was said after Holmes shot up that theater in Aurora, CO in July?
His school was warned about the therapist that talked to him that he may go off the deep end and commit some kind of heinous act, then he eventually DID in that midnight premiere screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

People can copy and paste all the legalities of what the perpetrator’s rights of free speech are, all they want, but unless they have some kind of defining legal stature to back that up with, their copying and pasting legal statutes doesn’t mean piss to me. This guy on Twitter has been doing so for a couple of years now and finally something is being done to fight back. Kudos to Mark Millar on putting his money where his mouth always seemed to be in the past and showing that even if his work has elements of misogyny in them, HE IS NOT HIS CREATIONS AND THERE IS A SEPARATION THAT COMES IN THAT REGARD (speaking as a guy working on his own graphic novel, on my part here).

When I got wind of this Saturday on my Twitter feed, I agreed with Mark Millar, Ron Marz, Mark Waid, and other creators/fans that thought enough was enough. I too made a report of the perp at the behest of the creatives’ rallying cry for action. Screw this guy and his supposed rights! Eff this piece of crap stalker! Hope he gets what’s coming.

@Squidge – for clarity, the first part of my post wasn’t referring to anything you’d said here, but a general tenor of online response to female professionals and fans discussing sexual harrassment online. I’ve seen it a thousand times – if you start talking about it, you’re immediately required to defend your reaction to it and told you’re being too sensitive, thought-policing or humourless. And of course that kind of social reaction can have a bearing on whether people involve the authorities. If a ton of people online are telling you it’s not that serious, and you’re already feeling intimidated and belittled, it’s often tough to convince yourself that the authorities will see it differently. As I said, I don’t think the actions of the victims are the issue here. (And I don’t know that ‘gender politics’ here consists of anything beyond the position that people shouldn’t be sexually aggressive creeps to other people.)

props to mark miller for deciding he was not going to let his fellow artists of the opposite sex contiue to be harressed by this jerk using online media. plus also this should be consider proof do not get on marks bad side including if its a criminal act

Great job of all those who brought this guy to our attention and are working to stop the harassment. A friend posted about this on John Byrne’s website to show a positive story of the comic book industry working together. By the time I finished reading the comments here and went back. John had already deleted the thread.

So he can do good things for women in the real world, in spite of his misogynistic attitudes in his writing? Interesting.

@Bridgid Alverson

“Like Mark Millar says, let the police and the lawyers handle it.”

So, let me get this straight. Debating the legal merits of this case is off limits as we do not have the legal expertise to make an informed evaluation. Yet, supporting this case in a blanket fashion is perfectly acceptable because it shows sensitivity to the plight of the victim, regardless of the legal merits. Do I have that right? If so it seems like a rather intentional attempt to limit discussion on the topic at hand. Why even allow comments on this story in that case?

For those asking why the women themselves didn’t do anything… they did, actually. Most of them did exactly what some people are suggesting should have been done – they ignored and blocked him. And he kept coming back, again and again, over two years. All the blocking meant was they didn’t see what he was posting.

Ignoring this arsehole achieved absolutely nothing and I for one am tired of seeing people tell victims of harassment that if they don’t ignore the abuse, they’re being weak. The matter is now in the hands of law enforcement and Millar’s lawyer friend – let them decide whether there’s a crime or not. But at least _something_ is finally happening to this wankstain.

Of course Millar can do good things for women in the real world in spite of his writing. Most ppl in life are more than one thing.

I applaud you Mark Millar. Thank you for not being a wimp and hoping this would go away and actually standing up to someone like this. Complacency is far too common in today’s society and the fact that you recognized that something had to be done about this situation shows that you have a trait that not many others have, caring about other people. That includes me, would I have ever gone after this disgusting cyber bully? Sadly, no, I would like to think I would have but I would have looked at the tweets, commented to myself how disgusting they were, and moved on, not once thinking how they would have made me feel had they been directed at me. People like this guy need to be shut down, anyone who expels hate speech to the degree this guy does is a danger, and it may not be physical but emotional, which can be just as bad, if not worse. One just needs to look at the number of suicides due to bullying in today’s world. You are a good person Mark, and I will follow this, because if anything happens with this case it could set an important precedent, and make other online bullies and hate mongers take notice, and maybe stop their potentially emotionally debilitating comments towards others.

No one is limiting discussion. Do you see posts being deleted or people being banned?

No, we just think some people in this thread are misguided at best, and possibly having sympathy for the stalker, at worst. But that’s okay. You have the right to post an opinion people disagree with, just as we have the right to tell you that we think you’re completely wrong.

And whenever someone mentions “gender politics” as a perjorative, the rest of their post becomes “Blah blah blah emotional chicks getting all uptight blah blah.”

Also “supporting this case in blanket fashion?” What case? There IS NO case yet. Also, you’re parsing “legal merits,” and we’re actually pointing out that the guy probably won’t do jail time, but he does face possible civil suits, and rightfully so. He’ll probably be banned from using his ISP indefinitely. All within the law to do (I know this from having ratted someone out to his school ISP for harassing me online waaay back in the day….oddly enough, I got the same reaction from random online people who…SURPRISE!….also enjoyed harassing total strangers and thought what I did was uncalled for).

And for the record, I’m a guy. It doesn’t just happen to women, you know.

“For those asking why the women themselves didn’t do anything… they did, actually. Most of them did exactly what some people are suggesting should have been done – they ignored and blocked him. And he kept coming back, again and again, over two years. All the blocking meant was they didn’t see what he was posting.”

THIS…thank you. When you block someone and they keep coming back, when you do everything within your own rights without curtailing any of theirs, and they still find ways to be a troll and a stalker, HOW IS IT the fault of the victims? It’s not like they called his mommy and daddy and had them take away his computer. They just did what anyone would do at first…block him and hope he goes away.

From my experience, anyone that mentally and emotionally immature won’t just go away. Sometimes it DOES take a cold water shock for them to realize they’ve screwed up big time.

@Hysan

So we’re in basic agreement then? As I posted half a dozen or so posts back:

“I think that, most likely, misdemeanor harassment would be the highest charge able to be substantiated in a court of law as civil law has a lower burden of proof required than criminal.”

I’ll quote Bridgid Alverson in full:

“All you guys who are standing up for this dude’s “freedom” to harass other people: Stop it. You don’t know what you are talking about, and you’re making yourselves look like jerks. Like Mark Millar says, let the police and the lawyers handle it.”

Was telling everyone that doesn’t necessarily agree with the proposed legal ramifications to “stop it” not intended to limit discussion?

In the interest of full disclosure, I am Canadian. Under Canadian or UK law this individual would be charged and rightfully so. Under US law I am unconvinced that a criminal charge is possible.

Again, I’m not defending this guy and if he was hit by a bus crossing the street tomorrow I wouldn’t care. I am simply very interested in the law and criminal prosecutions. I have been involved in the legal system in Canada myself and find learning about different systems of law and how they are applied fascinating.

oddly enough, I got the same reaction from random online people who…SURPRISE!….also enjoyed harassing total strangers and thought what I did was uncalled for).

*Surprise* The actions you imply I enjoy are illegal in my country. I couldn’t participate in them even if I wanted to.

Oh, I didn’t mean you. I meant big surprise (not really) that the same guys who at the time defended my stalker were stalkers and harassers themselves.

And you’re right, we are in agreement. It’s too bad the laws in the US aren’t the same as in Canada or the UK (oh, I’ll catch hell for that one).

@ Hysan

My apologies for assuming that was directed at me. Part of the post seemed to directly address an earlier post of mine so I assumed the rest did as well. My mistake.

Has anybody heard any new news on this? prosecution? arrest? public apology? embarrassment in local paper? Which would insanely embarrassing!

If nothing else, hopefully the word gets out on what a scumbag he is and he never gets laid again. Or maybe he’s married and he’s doing this behind his wife’s back and she divorces him. Bad things happen to bad people… even Lex Luthor.

Still not a huge fan of Millar’s writing, but major league kudos to the guy for this.

If they do get gang raped, the body has methods to stop that. So don’t be mean to the rapists. Raping is how they express themselves and this is a free country. Or it will be after Romney becomes President.

e_e

This falls under “annoying communications,” I have found. I filed a police report on a harassing cyberstalker with the LAPD a couple of months ago (yes, it happens to both sexes). They have a special task force for cyber-bullying, cyberstalking, etc. It is also related to slander and libel laws.

Perps can be prosecuted criminally and they can be subject to civil suits.

“Your rights end where my feelings begin!!!”

That’s the vibe I am getting from all of the women and a lot of he men on here. Free speech will die due to people like you.

@OhioAnon Not at all. This isn’t posting on a message board somewhere. He is addressing these women directly on Twitter. When they block him, he sets up a new account and does it again. This is harassment. It’s like an obscene phone call, but done through the internet.

Free speech isn’t going anywhere. It’s a deeply held American value, and it shouldn’t be trivialized that way. We’re talking about straight-up harassment here, not freedom of expression. You can say what you like, but you don’t have an absolute right to call me at 3 a.m. and scream in my ear, which is effectively what this guy is doing.

A federal judge ruled on Thursday that prosecuting a man for writing harassing tweets directed at a prominent Buddhist religious leader violated the tweeter’s First Amendment rights.

“Twitter and Blogs are today’s equivalent of a bulletin board that one is free to disregard, in contrast, for example, to e-mails or phone calls directed to a victim,” Titus writes. Because Zeoli was free not to look at, or subscribe to, the messages on Cassidy’s “bulletin board,” the government’s regulation of Cassidy’s speech does not serve a compelling state interest.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011/12/judge-prosecution-of-twitter-harasser-is-unconstitutional/

P.S.

The ruling was hailed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which had filed an amicus brief in the case. “Law enforcement may have disagreed with the tone and content of Mr. Cassidy’s speech,” said EFF’s Hanni Fakhoury, “but the police hauling a Twitter user to jail for offending a public figure was the greater harm.”

@KPhilipsen Not to play armchair attorney here—oh, what the hell—the judge’s ruling was based on the belief that the complainant could simply ignore the defendant’s Twitter. This is different; my understanding is that our boy keeps coming up with new Twitter handles so he can continue to spam people who block him.

In short: It’s not the speech, it’s the stalking.

@Brigid Alverson

Totally agree. If I were to play armchair attorney I would place my bets on misdemeanor harassment. At the least I hope the spotlight shone on this situation is enough to shame this individual into backing off.

This guy seems like a total scumbag. Being critical and talking a little bit of shit is one thing but this guy is well past that point. I hope he is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the (hopefully) applicable law.

Wasn’t able to go through all the 113 (at the time I write this comment) posts but, to the folks who are claiming the slug has some sort of legal protections, bear in mind that his comments were sent through Twitter. And, per Twitter’s own “Content Boundaries and Use of Twitter” page, “there are some limitations on the type of content that can be published with Twitter. These limitations comply with legal requirements and make Twitter a better experience for all. We may need to change these rules from time to time and reserve the right to do so.”

Twitter is, at heart, a private business and “Constitutional guarantees” do NOT necessarily apply to what Twitter does. Your online provider can terminate your account if you violate the PROVIDER’S terms of service. And Twitter can do the same. For an offline comparison, you have every right to send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. But, you do NOT have a right for your letter to be printed by that paper. And, if you read the fine print, the newspaper–if it does print your letter–has a right to edit your letter. The paper is a private business. Another offline comparison would be the phone company. There are strict laws against obscene phone calls and other types of harassing phone calls. (Would you argue your right of free speech entitles you to call up an ex-girlfriend and talk about gang raping her or calling her the “c-word?” And I’ll guarantee you that if you managed to call your mayor or governor or state legislator and used vile, offensive language, including images of violence against the person, you’d be getting a visit from law enforcement.) Now, Twitter currently states “You may not publish or post direct, specific threats of violence against others.” Maybe it’s just me, but I would consider a suggestion that a woman be gang-raped constitutes a “threat of violence.” Harassment laws, after all, support the *victim* and only require that the victim feel harassed by the comments, regardless of how the speaker intended the comment.

Actually know the feeling… About a year ago I’ve been harassed in a similar way… The threats and filth that retard send was repulsive… and I’m not even a pro… or a woman (in this case they are the target) for that matter :P But at least I feel a little bit of justice seeing this happen to a different retard… Probably not the same guy… but hey… something happening… Thanks mr. Millar

Like I said on The Beat, you guys have no idea what you’re furthering. Trying to jail someone for online threats? I don’t mean to be Orwellian, but between things like this and the person who got arrested for twitter abusing that Olympian, you’re inching us closer to a very locked down Internet, and that’s counter intuitive. Don’t give idiots like this the attention, even if it is to alert the authorities. Ignore them. Move on. It’s an online threat. They aren’t at your door with a gun.

*sigh*

@JosephW: But they’re not talking about simply reporting him for a Twitter TOS violation; they’re talking to law enforcement. This is, absolutely, about the question of whether or not his speech is protected.

@Wowzers: Er, threats are already illegal, dude; there’s a pretty huge body of case law over the past couple of hundred years establishing that they are not protected speech.

It’s nothing to do with a “locked down Internet” — because, hey, guess what, what he’s doing is ALREADY a violation of Twitter’s TOS –, it’s about whether a thing that is illegal is still illegal if you do it on the Internet. (Hint: it is.) It has nothing to do with government surveillance (because, er, he did it in public and people are reporting it to law enforcement), and certainly nothing to do with the integrity of TCP/IP or any other relevant technical standards. A guy did a thing that is, quite possibly, illegal, and it’s been reported to law enforcement. That’s all this is.

@Thad: I didn’t say it wasn’t illegal or against TOS. No need to be cheeky.

So is your argument, then, that people should not be punished for breaking the law, and that if they are that is somehow a path to “locking down” the Internet?

DarthRadarOReilly

September 4, 2012 at 10:54 am

Not that anyone here will regard a voice of reason – but I think it boils down to this. The guy probably won’t be prosecuted for making threats, but he could get prosecuted for harassment – since he constantly and continually harangued these women, and used various Internet user names to do so.

@DarthRadarOReilly

Finally! A voice of reason. I’ve been saying this for what? Over a hundred and fifty posts now?

@Darth: Probably not prosecuted; more likely sued. It may not even come to that — could be he just gets a C&D or a visit from law enforcement and decides to find a new hobby.

@Thad: That jailing people for online threats is ridiculous, and yes, the increased awareness of online bullying will definitely be one of the catalysts that led to a not-so-open Internet.

Ah, okay — so a strawman and a slippery slope, then. That’s what I thought; just wanted to make sure.

Anybody doubting the level of harassment in this or thinking those in favor of stopping harassment on the Internet is a path to ruining your open Internet?

Read this:
http://dcwomenkickingass.tumblr.com/post/30910472373/troll

@Thad: You should be terrified of a reality where you can be arrested for making the most impersonal threat possible, but you’re going to continue subtly insulting me (ironic) so whatever.

@Tim O’Shea: I’m not one of the people who think this guy’s protected by freedom of speech, I’m not sure what you’re trying to say.

I applaud Mr. Millar for taking steps to give that idiot what he deserves. Way to go, Mark!

If anyone would have read the Bleeding Cool article: the dude is FIFTY ONE and MARRIED!!!!!

FIFTY ONE and MARRIED.

He doesn’t need to lose a court case to suffer: his wife and his community are going to find out and it will HUGELY impact his life. Hopefully she leaves him and isn’t being abused herself: this asshat needs some serious therapy before he is worthy of a female partner of any kind.

I also think it’s sad to see how many comic fans here are showing subtle support for the guy getting sued. No wonder so many of you can’t get laid.

@KPhillipsen I get that you’re approaching this as a kind of academic exercise, comparing legal systems – I’m a legal assistant who has worked in both Australia and Canada, I understand the concept. But what you’re forgetting is that this isn’t just some anonymous case study. There are people involved who are reading your posts and seeing only blame for them not doing more, or excuses for the wankstain involved.

It’s entirely possible he won’t actually get charged with anything, although after reading the dcwomenkickingass account (http://dcwomenkickingass.tumblr.com/post/30910472373/troll) of the situation, I’m personally seeing cyber stalking and harassment charges there. But the reason why people are reacting strongly to this is because there’s a lot of people online who deal with this sort of crap every day. Being reminded there’s fuck all they can do about it and in fact being told the abuse they suffer is just someone exercising their right to free speech, tends to make them tetchy.

And thanks @Tim O’Shea for posting the link – I tried to last night, but I was running off my phone and it wasn’t working. :P A horrifying account of what is, unfortunately, pretty standard stalker behaviour*.

(*from my personal POV of working in courts for ten years and dealing with restraining orders cases on a daily basis)

@Rossi

I am not responsible for the perceptions of random internet posters. If anyone perceives what I am doing as excusing the posters actions they would be mistaken. I have very clearly stated my feelings on the matter and have, in fact, soundly condemned his actions.

If a discussion involving the law is offensive to anyone I feel badly for how they will react when this case actually goes to court. We can drum up all the moral support in the world on a comic book message board but it won’t affect the court case in the slightest.

I only recently found out about this case. It’s been my experience having worked in the field that anyone involved in this kind of obsessive stalking will eventually escalate and as his rape threats have increased the likelihood that he will actually commit rape and do the intended harm is very high. This guy is one lame sicko who really needs some serious down time. Whether the courts are able to provide him with that — too soon to tell. Will he be cured? Unlikely. There is too much evidence that this type of deviant behaviour is incurable. In the US they have started keeping sex offenders behind bars even after they have supposedly served their time. The constitutionality of this? Uncertain. But recidivism by sex offenders is almost 100%.

What we should do with someone like this? Probably keep him behind bars without internet access so he can harm no one else.

And for those of you think it’s just an exercise of free speech? No, it’s not. He’s in the early stages of his outward manifestation. He’s one of those guys we need to seriously watch out for.

Kudos, Mr. Millar!

That scumbag needs to be taught a lesson he’ll never forget

@KPHilipsen Time and place, mate. And just as you weren’t justifying the wankstain’s behaviour, neither was I justifying anyone’s reaction to your posts, just pointing out why they might be unhappy with you. And yet you reacted defensively.

It just goes to show, we can’t control people’s reactions to someone. But we can acknowledge that yes, perhaps some people are unhappy with what we have said and take that into account.

So, I apologise for saying something that made you feel defensive, and I’ll stop the conversation here, to avoid causing further upset to you or those on this page.

@Rossi

If explanation is defensive every piece of communication between people would qualify. I think you’re reaching. No apologies necessary as the reaction you are trying to portray me as having is as rather far off the mark.

Let’s stick to the topic at hand rather than discussing each other personally shall we? Argumentum ad hominem is so very tiresome.

I’m beginning to suspect JonVeee’s deal is different from what it appeared to be at first glance.

Having participated in a couple of commercial “astroturfing” campaigns in the past (I know, I know–I’m sorry, but I really needed those paycheques), I’m more than a little paranoid about prolific haters’ motivations. The more I read about his pattern of behaviour, the more I wonder if he is neither mentally ill nor trolling for cruelty’s sake like I’d previously assumed.

The way he systematically targeted prominent female bloggers for very personal harassment via multiple personae, combined with the vulgar and inflammatory posts he made elsewhere lauding sexual violence against female comic characters, paints a picture of a more or less rational person on a one-man crusade.

His brand of nastiness lends itself well to several overlapping goals:
1. He becomes a rallying point and an example for other male chauvinists who are less bold and for bottom feeder trolls looking for fresh targets.
2. His targets, primarily outspoken female writers, are intimidated into reducing their interactions with readers and/or comics fan communities at large.
3. His and others’ public nastiness discourages incoming “casuals” from actively participating in the community: overall, he helps make discussing comics online less appealing to women in general and to feminist men specifically. Long term, feminist critics might be muzzled en masse.

If he’d had any actual success, all of the above could have added up over time to foster an environment rife with misogyny, which would handily prop up the boys’ club flavour of sexism I’d suspect of a bitter baby boomer with too much time on his hands. If Millar’s information about this guy (married and fifty-something) proves accurate, I can see this being his true, albeit deluded, motivation. After all, if veteran feminist bloggers were drummed out and like-minded newcomers put off the community altogether, he’d never have to deal with contrary females in his clubhouse again!

Maybe my theory’s a little far-fetched, but the idea that someone in full possession of his faculties would behave in such a way bothers me a lot. Of course, regardless of whether he’s truly sick, a troll, or a bigoted creep on a mission, my heart goes out to the people who had to deal with his garbage. Kudos to all of them for their tough-mindedness.

If you have the urge to defend a man who sits down in a house with his wife in the next room, cracks his knuckles, and hammers out a missive to another woman explaining that she “needs a good raping” . . . if you’re about to go to bat for that person, and that message? Even if you think your defense is just to provoke other people, and swear to yourself that you’re nothing like the person you’re defending?

First ask yourself: am I that man’s attorney?

If no:

Stop.

Stand up.

Go away from here and come back later, when you have fixed yourself. You know very well that you are malfunctioning. It is time for you to do something about it.

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