The Real World Takes Revenge Against Anonymous Trolls of the Internet
Those dark, creepy corners of the internet are places some of us would like to pretend don’t exist. The places that make you lose faith in humanity. Those that are totally anonymous and free from any repercussions.
Or are they?
Last week Gawker outed 49-year-old Texan Michael Brutsch as the man behind Reddit’s infamous Violentacrez. He admitted responsibility for the creation of about 600 subreddits, (custom-made sub-forums), including Pics of Dead Kids, Rape Jokes, Misogyny, and Jailbait, which was shut down after Anderson Cooper reported on it last year. He also moderated the recently banned CreepShots subreddit.
He appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 on October 18 and while he said he was sorry, he placed most of the blame on his audience of college kids and Reddit’s point system.
Really? They weren’t holding a gun to his head.
Yes, everyone has a right to say or post whatever they want thanks to the free speech laws in many countries, but that doesn’t mean you have to post every thought that crosses your mind. When that involves posting photos of women without their consent, or having a laugh at rape jokes, without attaching your name to these actions, is free speech still a valid excuse?
Brutsch was fired from his job after his identity was made public, and says he and his disabled wife will likely have to move to Arkansas and live with her family as it’s unlikely he’ll be able to find work.
And while that’s unfortunate, shouldn’t he have thought about potential consequences when he created and moderated those hundreds of subreddits featuring thousands of explicit photos, some of which were posted without the consent of the women or girls in the pictures? The closest he got to feeling remorseful was quite recently.
“…with the rape and pregnant Reddits, I have come around over the past few months to understand that some of the things are harmful to other people,” Brutsch said in the interview on Anderson 360.
In the past few months? Only on the rape and pregnant Reddits? How about creepshots or jailbait or the numerous other subreddits?
But at any rate, seeing someone faced with repercussions after anonymously posting thousands of photos objectifying and exploiting women is refreshing.
Canadian Justin Hutchings was also fired for something he posted online, but his name was attached to it.
Hutchings wrote “Thank God this bitch is dead” on a memorial page for Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old girl who committed suicide after years of bullying.
He told the Toronto Star that it was “more or less a social experiment” and that he did it to “stir up the pot.”
As CNN reporter Drew Griffin says, “Free speech is free speech as long as you’re saying it out loud with your name under it.”
Do you think people should have to face the consequences for things they post online, anonymously or otherwise? Is this an issue of free speech or something else? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.
Written by Aimee Harper