Anorak News | Twitter moralists only protect women they like: Mary Beard and Grace Dent are no Emma West

Twitter moralists only protect women they like: Mary Beard and Grace Dent are no Emma West

by | 5th, August 2013


File photo dated 28/06/13 of television classicist Mary Beard who has called for repeated "threats of violence and death" against her and other women on Twitter to be distinguished from mere abuse.

PROFESSOR of Classics at Cambridge Mary Beard says of the abuse many receive on twitter: “It is is scary and it has got to stop.” Beard was threatened with rape. In response to that, many Tweeters abandoned Twitter in a 24-hour silent protest.

Professor Beard was going to be silent but then received more abuse:

“Planned to be off twitter, but I’ve had more threats this morning (rape and worse). It IS still going on. Tried to report to Twitter, failed.”

One message was from an idiot threatening to bomb her home.

Tony Wang, the Twitter UK general manager, has responded:

“It’s not acceptable in the real world, and it’s not acceptable on Twitter.  personally apologise to the women who have experienced abuse on Twitter and for what they have gone through.”

There is clear line between debate and direct threats of rape and violence. The police do intervene. But isn’t going off twitter a form of censorship? It is an open  forum; better, perhaps, to make it more open. Trust the police to do their job. Once you regulate, you stymie free speech.

As for misogyny, is Twitter a reflection of society?

And why was this not debated when Emma West, the mentally unwell woman guilty of racist abuse, was threatened with rape and murder by the twitter pack?

Is free speech ok so long as we agree with what’s being said and who is being criticised?

Liam Stacey was another pillock who said racist things on Twitter. He was jailed. The tweeters who called for him to be physically hurt and raped were not.

When the target of abuse is someone we like, who is successful and knowing – newspaper columnists Grace Dent and Hadley Freeman have been threatened on twitter; so too has campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez – only then it is unacceptable? 

Trust the law to work. And let the nutjobs talk.


Posted: 5th, August 2013 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comment (1) | TrackBack | Permalink