Thursday, January 16, 2014

Online Stalking Is Real Just Ask Jill Filipovic

Jill Filipovic of Feministe has written about how she was the target of online harassment from the online message board AutoAdmit. People on the board started making comments that they were seeing her on the NYU campus. Obviously, Filipovic felt vulnerable and spent as less time as possible on campus.

It was generally harmless, if a little creepy — stuff like “Jill F is my future wife” and “Any Jill F sightings yet?” It seemed to come primarily from one poster. So I ignored it for a while again, until someone else mentioned it to me. So I went back and read it, and saw that it was getting weirder and grosser — there were mentions of “tag teaming” me, people who said they saw me around school and I was nothing special, comments that I was a feminist bitch and assorted other names, and finally one saying that he “would hate-fuck that cunt.” That put me a little over the edge, and I skipped a day or two of school and started studying at home for about a week, just so I wouldn’t have to walk around campus. I know it sounds crazy (and I definitely felt crazy), but everywhere I went at school I felt like people were looking at me, and like they were evaluating me — like they must have been thinking, “Oh, she isn’t pretty at all” or “Those guys on the board were totally wrong” or “She’s fat” or “I’d fuck her” or, the worst, that they were the people doing the posting, and they were going to go home and write about how they saw me and I was indeed ugly, or I was fuckable, or I was a bitch. It wasn’t so much negative comments that got to me — it was the evaluation of something that I have no control over, in a space where I’m not putting myself out to be evaluated. Nothing I can do is going to change their opinion of whether or not I’m attractive, and I don’t really care all that much if they think I am or not. But I do care when I feel like I can’t walk to class without people looking at me and then anonymously posting their thoughts online, and when they aren’t taking on what I say or what I believe, but what I look like — and when I’m being put in a position where I can’t fight back. If they say, “You’re wrong about feminism,” I can say, “No I’m not” and I can explain why. But if they say, “You’re ugly,” I can’t really say, “No I’m not.” It’s a feeling of powerlessless, and it’s a position that I’m not used to being placed in.

This is the kind of comments Filipovic received in a long thread on AutoAdmit attacking her.

Date: August 9th, 2008 11:13 PM

She's in Southeast Asia, killing babies and getting fucked up the ass by rice farmers.

Anybody here know that bitch?

Filipovic wrote about the sexist comments made about her on AutoAdmit on her blog and was interviewed by the media. Filipovic and other female law students received harassing comments on AutoAdmit.

AutoAdmit webmaster blamed Anthony Ciolli blamed Filipovic for having a job offer rescinding.

My impression from the phone conversation was that this was the chronology:

1) Jill Filipovic from Feministe tells WSJ that I worked at EAP&D

2) WSJ reporter calls EAP&D, and the firm says I had my offer rescinded.

3) WSJ reporter emails me saying they’re going to run a story on it tomorrow.

Believe me, the last thing I wanted was this to be public. I just want to be left alone.

Filipovic explains that she played no part in the law firm Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge rescinded its offer to Ciolli. Unlike Ciolli, Filipovic takes responsibility for what is posted on her website.

There are many things I’ve written that I no longer agree with, and many issues that I’ve changed my mind on. There are many things I’ve posted here that I wish I hadn’t. But they’re mine, and if I’m called out on them, I’ll take responsibility for writing them — I won’t blame Lauren or Zuzu or Piny for owning the site with me, or for not taking them down.

Filipovic has a op-ed at Talking Points Memo that lists the nasty comments made about her at AutoAdmit.

"Official Jill Filipovic RAPE thread"

"I want to brutally rape that Jill slut"

"I'm 98% sure that she should be raped"

“that nose ring is fucking money, rape her immediately”

“what a useless guttertrash whore, I hope that someone uses my pink, fleshy-textured cylindrical body to violate her”

“she deserves a brutal raping”

“Legal liability from posting pic of Jill fucking?”

“she’s a normal-sized girl that I’d bang violently, maybe you’d have to kill her afterwards”

Now imagine being a young woman and wondering if one of those AutoAdmit commenters is stalking you around campus. It is no wonder Filipovic skipped a few classes. I'm not a First Amendment attorney but the AutoAdmit comments are probably protected free speech. We have Constitution in this country. That doesn't mean you have to act like an asshole online.

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