Twitter rules only apply to some people

Here’s a tweet actress Leslie Jones sent instructing her followers to contact another Twitter user whitebecky1776, about a reportidly hateful tweet whitebecky1776 sent to Leslie Jones. She actually instructs her followers to “Get her!!”

By telling her followers to “Get her!!”, Leslie Jones is inciting her followers to harass whitebecky1776. This is a forbidden under Twitter’s rules:

It’s important to note that one of the reasons alluded to for banning Milo Yiannopoulos for life was that he was responsible for his followers sending Leslie Jones mean, racist tweets. There’s been no proof to substantiate this. Milo Yiannopoulos never encouraged his followers to get Leslie Jones like she did with her followers to get this whitebecky1776 person.

Milo Yiannopoulos was banned for life from Twitter while Leslie Jones is still trucking along.

Milo Yiannopoulos is a conservative blogger and a self-described provocateur. He’s also kind of a dick. He’s a hard person to defend. Leslie Jones is a very funny Saturday Night Live actress and is appearing in a major motion picture financed by Columbia Pictures. Milo Yiannopoulos wrote a scathing review of that movie and was highly critical of Leslie Jones’ performance. Leslie Jones has some powerful people in her corner. Milo Yiannopoulos has GamerGate and Breitbart. Considering these facts, I guess it should be no huge surprise that Milo Yiannopoulos was banned from Twitter, while Leslie Jones’ victimhood is being celebrated.

That doesn’t make it right.

Twitter bans Milo Yiannopoulos

Twitter has banned conservative blogger Milo Yiannopoulos from its social media service after Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones was Tweeted racist, insulting comments from Twitter users.

From CNN:

Yiannopoulos, who had more than 350,000 followers, has been a provocative and unapologetic voice on the platform. He’s been vocal in the contentious movement known as GamerGate, which claims to promote ethics in gaming journalism but has been condemned for its treatment of women. And most recently he was seen as an instigator for the hate spewed at Jones. She called him out on Twitter Monday evening and separately criticized the platform for its inability to filter hateful content.

I’m not sure how Twitter determined Milo Yiannopoulos instigated the hate spewed towards Leslie Jones. Milo Yiannopoulos had his Twitter account shutdown not for anything he did, but for the actions of others. That makes absolutely no sense to me.

This is not the first time Twitter has taken action against Milo Yiannopoulos. He’s been suspended before. He also had his blue checkmark, the indicator that he’s been verified by Twitter as the real Milo Yiannopoulos, removed because of something he supposedly said on Twitter.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of Milo Yiannopoulos. I disagree with him on almost everything he claims to believe. I used to follow him on Twitter back in the day just to read the stupid things he would say, but that turned out to be not as entertaining as I imagined it would be.

A little bit of Milo Yiannopoulos goes a long way.

That’s not to say I think he should have his Twitter account closed, especially in response to the actions of others. It’s not like he told people to tweet mean things to Leslie Jones. If Twitter has any value to society, it’s that it allows people to share their thoughts and opinions in 140 characters or less. If you don’t want to read what someone says on Twitter, you can just not read what they have to tweet. You can also block them from interacting with you. It’s really not hard.

I actually like Leslie Jones. I don’t watch Saturday Night Live anymore, but I do watch the occasional skit on YouTube. She’s by far the funniest cast member. Lately, she’s been using her personal Twitter account to promote Ghostbusters, a movie that rubs a lot of people the wrong way, either because they’re misogynists, or because the movie is a steaming pile of dog shit that is ruining the original movie’s legacy.

I always thought Ghostbusters II did that.

Leslie Jones' "personal" Twitter account.
Leslie Jones’ “personal” Twitter account.

Leslie Jones’ Twitter account looks less like a personal account and more like the official Ghostbusters Twitter account run by Columbia Pictures. Personal Twitter accounts are best used when they’re used as personal accounts, not another promotional tool for a billion dollar movie studio. I think Leslie Jones received hateful, racist comments on Twitter because she used her personal Twitter account to promote a controversial movie. She’s been on Twitter since 2009. She only became a lighting rod of bigoted hate when she started promoting Ghostbusters.

One good thing about this whole controversy is that it’s gotten a lot of press for Ghostbusters. The movie premiered last weekend and it wasn’t the top earner at the box office. Milo Yiannopoulos getting banned from Twitter and it’s relation to Ghostbusters has been front page news on all the top news websites. I wouldn’t be surprised if the movie does better this weekend. Then again, the new Star Trek movie comes out this weekend and unlike Ghostbusters, it looks pretty damn good.

Brianna Wu accused of fraud by Patreon supporter

Self proclaimed “Godzilla of Feminists” Brianna Wu is being accused of fraud by an anonymous Patreon supporter. The basis of the accusation is connected to the stated purpose of the Patreon goal. Here is what Wu posted on Patreon:

Here’s where you come in: If you appreciate what I do, please chip in so I can hire some help with the Women in Tech advocacy I do. I need someone to help me with the medial parts of dealing with my attackers so I can focus on my work, making and shipping games. I imagine we’ll also have them work on women in tech advocacy.

Wu’s Patreon supporters collectively give $2,184.70 each month. This helps with paying for the full-time employment of a person named Natalie O’Brien.

This is what the anonymous Patreon supporter wrote on Medium:

In various publications, Brianna has mentioned a woman named Natalie O’Brien. She has claimed that Natalie O’Brien is a pregnant woman who she hired as an administrator. I now believe that Natalie O’Brien may not exist and that Brianna Wu has simply pocketed the money for herself.

In my humble opinion, complaining about possible fraud on Patreon is a lot like swimming in the Atlantic Ocean and then complaining about getting wet. Fraud is always a real possibility with Patreon because there are no mechanisms in place to make sure money is actually going to the stated purpose.

Fraud becomes even more of a possibility because it’s connected to Brianna Wu. This is not be the first time Wu has been accused of not telling the truth.

My advice to anyone wanting to give to a cause and they want to make sure the money is going to that cause, stay clear of Patreon. Look instead for organizations who’ve been vetted by the IRS as bona fide non-profits. These organizations must file reports with the IRS every year that show how much money they take in and how they use the money. These reports are made available to the public.

By all means give money to people on Patreon if it makes you feel good. Just don’t expect any kind of verification or proof. That’s not what Patreon does.

Brianna Wu had blogger removed from RavenCon panel for taking her picture

RavenCon, a science fiction and fantasy convention, is taking place this weekend in Richmond, Virginia. One of the guests is Brianna Wu, iPhone game developer and vocal critic of GamerGate, the leaderless consumer revolt against unethical behavior in the video games industry. Wu claims GamerGate is a hate group and that she has received over 80 death threats from members of GamerGate.

That’s what she claims.

Brianna Wu conducted a panel Friday night at RavenCon called GamerGate 101. Before the panel officially began, she ordered event organizers to remove a prominent GamerGate blogger, Ethan Ralph of The Ralph Retort, from the panel. The reason? Because she discovered that he had taken her photo and posted it to Twitter.

She ordered convention organizers to remove him from the GamerGate 101 panel audience and to also have him removed from the convention. The organizers removed him from the panel, but not the convention. One of the organizers then announced to the remaining guests that there would be no recording or pictures taken during the GamerGate 101 panel.

I’ve never heard of photos not being allowed during a panel at a convention. I have taken photos at convention panels many times. The opportunity to take photos has always been one of the reasons I like to go to comic book and science fiction conventions.

If this no-photo rule was in place for the GamerGate 101 panel, why wasn’t it announced ahead of time?

RavenCon has no rules against taking photos. In fact, they have a rule that states they may use photos and other media recordings taken at RavenCon:



The rule seems to imply that attendees are more than welcome to take photographs at RavenCon. If the GamerGate 101 panel was under different rules, rules different from everywhere else within the confines of RavenCon, than they owed it to everyone involved to make this rule known.

I can understand that Brianna Wu doesn’t like Ethan Ralph. I totally get that. He’s been very critical of her and her positions on his blog. One might argue that he has been as critical of her as she has been about GamerGate. That doesn’t mean she should have the right to have him removed from a panel. Having someone removed from a panel because you don’t like things they have said, seems inconsistent with free speech. If I didn’t know better, I’d think Brianna Wu doesn’t believe Ethan Ralph has the right to express his views and opinions on his blog.

Instead of kicking Ethan Ralph out of the panel, imagine how much more educational the GamerGate 101 panel would have been if Brianna Wu had invited him to take part. If the goal was to educate the audience on GamerGate, something the name of the panel certainly implied, what better way than to have one of the more prominent GamerGate bloggers, someone who even lives there in Richmond, share his views and opinions too?

What a wasted opportunity.

Ethan Ralph has posted a video of the incident on YouTube.  Check it out if this is something you’d like to see.

What happened at the Calgary Comic Expo?

Last weekend the Calgary Comic Expo, an annual Canadian four-day comic book and pop culture convention, created some controversy after one of the paid exhibitors, the Honey Badger Brigade, an all-women group associated with men’s rights, was ordered to leave. Not only were they expelled from the show without receiving a refund, but the police were also later called because members of the Honey Badger Brigade assembled at a nearby public park, away from the convention grounds.

The reason they were ordered to leave the convention is still a little murky.

Jill Pantozzi of The Mary Sue accused members of the Honey Badger Brigade of gaining attendance under false pretenses, whatever that means, and being in cahoots with GamerGate.

marvel_hydra__15756.1366879093.1280.1280It’s true that they had merchandise for sale at their booth associated with GamerGate, but I’m not sure what crime that makes them guilty of. Exhibitors at comic book conventions sell things, or at least they try to. It’s what they do. Just because an exhibitor sells something at their booth doesn’t necessarily mean they’re affiliated with the subject of the merchandise. For instance, if you buy a t-shirt at a comic book convention with the Hydra symbol on it, it doesn’t mean the exhibitor is affiliated with Hydra.

Or maybe it does.

pqLAxKmThe Honey Badger Brigade paid for a booth at the convention. The name of the group appears on the map of the convention floor. That is, it did before it was removed from the website on April 20th.

And then there’s the issue of the “Women Into Comics” panel that members of the Honey Badger Brigade supposedly derailed.  Around 15 minutes into the panel, one of the members of Honey Badger Brigade stood up from her seat in the audience and asked if she could answer a question posed by one of the panel members about feminism, comics, and men’s rights.

The panelist who posed the rhetorical question replied with, “Yeah. Sure! Go for it”.

The woman from the Honey Badger Brigade then proceeded with giving an a semi-lengthy statement on why she doesn’t like the word feminism and how she is a men’s rights activist. There’s audio of the exchange available on YouTube, but the quality is bad. It didn’t sound as though the panel was being derailed, but this took place in Canada. They may have a different definition for the word.

According to Calgary Comic Expo organizers, people began to complain about the Honey Badger Brigade and their booth, saying that they were a hate group. The convention has lengthy rules against harassment, and people argued the booth’s mere presence with its GamerGate paraphernalia constituted harassment.

Not only were the members of the Honey Badger Brigade asked to leave, but each member also received a lifetime ban from attending future events.

So what got them into the most trouble? Being associated with a men’s rights group? Interrupting a panel? Selling pro-GamerGate merchandise at their booth?

My guess was a combination of all these things.

Brianna Wu looks for someone to ‘throw down’ at PAX East

If you have a very particular set of skills, skills you have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make you a nightmare for people who make fake threats on Twitter and elsewhere on the Internet, than iPhone game developer Brianna Wu has an offer for you. She’s seeking someone to attend PAX East, a giant gaming convention in Boston organized by the folks at Penny Arcade, to serve as security for her and her iPhone game design company, Giant Spacekat (CSX).

The person needs to be a gamer (why?) and willing to “throw down” if called upon. She will provide a badge.

Here’s a screen grab from her Twitter post:

There’s many, many reasons it’s hard to take anything coming from Brianna Wu very seriously. This is one of those reasons.

If she truly needed security she would privately seek out the professional services of a licensed, and more importantly, bonded, security service. She wouldn’t just go on Twitter and troll for someone willing to “throw down” if called upon. Also, that’s not the way private security works. The function of private security is to get between the client and the threat and to immediately get the client away from the threat. The goal is to put time and space between the threat and the client, it’s not to engage or “throw down” with the threat.

She’s since taken the tweet down. I don’t know if this means she realized it was a bad idea to troll Twitter for private security guards, or if it was because she was able to find people to for her private security team and she simply doesn’t need anyone else.