Please note: I have amended this blog so it no longer personally identifies the woman in question.
For the last few months I’ve been really enjoying Twitter. But Twitter, like so many corners of the internet, has its weirdos.
Yesterday seemed like quite a normal day. I was doing a poll asking my followers which newsreader they would rather sleep with, Krishnan Guru-Murthy or Gavin Esler. (previous rounds saw George Alagiah beat Huw Edwards and Dermot Murnaghan beat Jon Snow). Krishnan won.
As the contest reached its climax I tweeted:
“This is a far more fiercely contested poll than previous ones. A lot of you appear to be on the verge of orgasm,” which seemed a fairly innocuous comment.
One woman, @suzy——–, a decidedly orange housewife from Liverpool, seemed to take exception to it:
“Y’see if u insult females by assuming they would orgasm at ur tweet u just make urself look a dick!! P”
Which seemed odd, because I wasn’t suggesting my tweet would make women orgasm (if I had that effect I’d tweet even more often). I was simply saying that everyone – both male and female – was getting excited. I don’t even mention women in the tweet.
But Suzy wasn’t finished. She tweeted: “@themanwhofell what was charming is now MAN HATE.” I have no idea what MAN HATE means.
She then followed it up with “@themanwhofell time u apologised to the ladies. Or loose ur followers.” Which sounded oddly like a threat. I wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to be apologising for and I have lots of slightly off-kilter followers, so I ignored it.
She then tweeted: “I c u follow nick griffin. R u BNP?”
I do indeed follow @nickgriffinBNP, a very funny spoof of Nick Griffin in which the BNP leader flounces around with Dianne Abbott and Gok Wan. I’d assume most people would guess that I’m not a BNP follower, since I’m fairly left-wing, Jewish, half-south American and lots of my friends are black, Indian, gay and lesbian (rarely all at the same time). Anyway, anyone clicking on the Nick Griffin account can instantly see it’s a spoof.
I replied: “Sigh. It’s a spoof Nick Griffin profile. It’s quite funny.” and assumed that was the last I’d hear of it. I was wrong.
Suzy continued: “REALLY?” and then followed it with “careful when angering us women. We bite!!” Again, quite what I’m supposed to have done to anger Suzy is unclear. Apparently it all stems from my suggestion that people might be orgasming from the excitement at a poll between “sexy newsreaders” and then failing to apologise. Suzy clearly has some issues with orgasming.
And then I continued with my work/tweeting. But after a few minutes I started getting weird replies. Lots of my followers were getting tweets from Suzy telling them that I was a BNP supporter or member. They found it quite funny, but thought I should know.
So I clicked on Suzy’s page and found this:
“@peterformat Greg is BNP”
“@absurdphoenix Greg is BNP”
“@newsarse Greg themanwhofell is BNP. r u?”
“@ianvisits did u know themanwhofell is BNP?”
“@MandrewB did I know themanwhofell is a BNP supporter?”
“@EshaWilliams did u know u r following themanwhofell He is a BNP supporter check.”
“@MarkMoraghan r u aware Greg themanwhofell is BNP?”
“@hunnyjenny are u aware I r following Greg themanwhofell ? He is BNP.”
“@njhamer did u know themanwhofell is BNP?”
“@naocatbird why r u following a BNP member. Themanwhofell”
“@jondesouzaCE themanwhofell is BNP”
And many more. She had gone through my follower list and randomly tweeted people. Which is just plain weird.
So, she’s called me both a BNP supporter and member. She knows I’m not a BNP supporter (many of my tweets explicitly take the piss out of Nick Griffin. He’s an arse) but she’s decided to drag my name through the mud anyway. I now realise she is properly mental.
She’s basically admitting she doesn’t care whether I like the BNP or the SDP or the GDP, she’s just threatening me. Again, not really sure why.
At first I thought it was all a bit silly. I tweeted her:
“@suzy——–, I don’t know why but you’ve decided to spam people telling them I’m a BNP supporter. I’m not. I am Jewish. You are blocked. Xx”
She replied with this (I looked at her page): “@themanwhofell shame. Thought u were a wrighter. U give up too easy.” Again, her tone (if you’ll forgive the spelling) indicates that she doesn’t really care about the BNP, she just wants a fight. Anyway, I assumed she would stop, but she didn’t.
“@holymolydotcom such a shame themanwhofell is following BNP!”
“@cerysmatthews why r u following themanwhofell. He is following BNP”
“@CarrieFFisher u r following themanwhofell. He follows BNP.”
“@richardm56 does it bother u that u follow themanwhofell who is a BNP supporter. Careful.”
Rather wonderfully, that last tweet was sent to Richard Madeley.
At this point most of my followers are having a good laugh at the idea of me being a BNP member, although the ones that she tweeted directly are a bit confused and are trying to block her.
Quite a few of my followers tweeted her, asking her what she was doing. Rather amusingly for someone who had been randomly spamming complete strangers telling them that I was a member of the BNP, her replies were basically that it was none of their business. Clearly irony is lost on her. It should be pointed out that I can understand someone getting angry at the BNP, but Suzy was threatening me well before she saw that I followed a spoof Nick Griffin.
Things got a bit more surreal when I googled Suzy. I always feel slightly exposed on Twitter, because people know a lot about me and I don’t necessarily know anything about them. It turned out she was the ex-wife of a high-profile former England player and football pundit. And rapper. I considered whether it might be someone imitating the footballer’s ex-wife, unlikely though that might be. So I investigated. On her twitter stream, she tweets her current husband and in his twitter stream there are photos of Suzy at home. And the photos are the same woman as the Suzy in various Daily Mirror articles about her footballing ex. It’s definitely her.
My followers continued to tweet Suzy. Her responses were:
“@OJBJ @cripesonfriday glad to n so important to u but that conversation was soo over an hour ago. Get an update lad.”
“@TheRealHiggy hi. R u his lawyer ? Get an update. That was over an hou ago. It’s Twitter not the free weekly”
Her attitude seemed to be that you can accuse someone of being in the BNP and drag their name through the shit, but if you leave it an hour, everything is ok. In the meantime she unfollowed me on Twitter. I can live with that.
At first I thought I should let it go. But the more I thought about it, the angrier I got. Here I am, Jewish and harmless, and some nutter has decided to drag my name through the mud and accuse me of being a racist. My family follow me on Twitter. My friends follow me on Twitter. My work follow me on Twitter. And I’m always the guy who doesn’t make a fuss. I’m always the guy who turns the other cheek. Fuck it. So I decided to act.
I phoned the Metropolitan police. I expected them to laugh, but they took it very seriously. They advised me that Suzy’s tweets constituted harassment and that I should advise her that if she repeated any of the tweets she could be arrested. I tweeted her to tell her that. So didn’t reply.
I then asked her to apologise and to delete the offending tweets, and to reply to everyone she had tweeted earlier, telling them that I was not in any way a member of the BNP. So far no response.
I went out today and came back to find notification emails telling me that Suzy and her husband were once again following me. I’m still waiting for their apologies. Fortunately, being Jewish I know a lot of lawyers…
I shall keep you all up to date on what happens.
ps. Suzy deleted some of her more incriminating tweets. Fortunately I have screengrabs, as seen below.
Well, after posting the previous blog, Suzy’s husband decided to fight her corner.
He tweeted: “@themanwhofell how have I harrased you? I’ve sent u no pm’s! Or discredeted your profile or persona! Grow up! Numb nuts! What the f0ok!”
I explained that he hadn’t harassed me, but his wife had by tweeting repeatedly that I was a member of the BNP, when she knew this was a lie. I pointed out that I had asked my followers not to be aggressive or abusive to his wife, and that I wanted to resolve the problems as easily and quickly as possible.
He came up with an original excuse: her twitter had been hacked. The only problem with that was that just an hour before he contacted me he had sent her a message of support, saying:
“Hey babes! @suzy——–, don’t worry about the bunch of ‘knob’eads’ who sent u nasty msgs! They obviously have issues regarding the subject.”
Why would he tweet a message of support if her account had been hacked?
I pointed this out to him.
“@David—– I appreciate you defending your wife. I would do the same in your position, but I find it very unlikely her twitter was hacked.”
He responded with:
“@themanwhofell it wasn’t her she doesn’t do Twitter ! Please leave my wife out of your political arguments! Many thanx x”
“@themanwhofell I know for a fact my wife has not used twitter she can’t even remember her passwrd I don’t care if your BNP or not leave her be”
Again, this is strange. She doesn’t do Twitter? Then why are there messages to her from friends and family?
I tried to calmly state my position:
“@David—– You say your wife doesn’t do Twitter but there are messages from you and her family on her Twitter. Have you also been hacked?”
“@David—– But I’m more than happy to drop the matter once she deletes the tweets and tweets everyone involved to say she was hacked.”
“@David—– Ok. If you could logon to her Twitter, delete her BNP tweets and tweet the people involved to explain, that would be lovely.”
“@David—– Once you’ve done that, it would be my absolute pleasure to leave you both alone.”
“@David—–Something like: “This account was hacked. The hacker spread lies that @themanwho is in the BNP. In fact he is a harmless Jew”.
Because that’s how I like to think of myself: as a harmless Jew.
All this made him angry:
“@themanwhofell I have not been hacked! Why r u talking about my family? What’s your motivation? Can’t believe this shite!?!?!?”
I turned a slightly purple colour when I saw this. Having happily seen his wife spread shit about me being in the BNP, and having told me a pack of lies himself, he then had the chutzpah to ask what my motivation was.
“@David—– My motivation is that your wife or someone using her account has been spreading malicious lies about me.”
“@David—– If someone had hacked my account and spread lies about you I imagine you’d also be quite angry about it.”
“@David—– Indeed, if someone had hacked my account and spread lies about you, I would be incredibly apologetic, not aggressive.”
But by that stage he had disappeared, which was annoying. Because what I wanted is some form of closure. Something very simple: an acknowledgement of guilt, an apology and some attempt to right the wrongs done. I’m not vindictive. I hate conflict. I hate boring people on Twitter with all this shit. But I am not backing down.
I don’t actually expect an apology. I don’t think she’s the apologising type. Oh well. Looks like it’s going to be another phone call to the police station tomorrow.
Its Wednesday morning and I have now received an apology from Suzy.
“@themanwhofell please accept my sincerest apologies. I thought it was the REAL BNP. I am deleting my account now. Apologies to all.”
I replied with: “@suzy——- Apology accepted. I wish you and your husband well in the future.”
She said: “@themanwhofell thank u. Sorry again.”
I did also ask her to delete the tweets in which she says I’m a member of the BNP. She has now done so. We can all live happily ever after.
12 thoughts on “Twitter, The BNP, and the nutter”
I followed this on twitter yesterday and my main reaction was one of incredulity at the said person’s action. I admit I also found it amusing, but then I wasn’t at the receiving end of it. I imagine if I’d been accused of being BNP I’d have been more than a little peeved too. Hopefully that’ll be the end of it now and you can get back to more serious subjects like which newsreader is more sleep-worthy.
Bloody hell. Just an nutcase imo simple as that.
Plenty of them on t’internet. I’d tell the newspapers myself.
Bloody good for you. Not just harassment but defamation. Had similar experience from a ‘troll’ (clearly sad and mentally unstable). That this person is ‘real’ and identifiable is outrageous. You deserve an apology at the very least and I really really hope you get one.
I follow you and am angry this has happenened, as it could to any of us. We’re all right behind you. She’s not the brightest tool in the box, harassment’s probably all she knows. Good for you for having the guts to do something about it.
If Madeley knew about this he’d be absolutely furious. Good luck sir, I am sure your reputation is unharmed and unsullied.
Fight the good fight.
I think you definitely did the right thing reporting it. Some people seem to think you can just say whatever you like on the web, so it’s good to see someone standing up for themselves against this kind of harassment.
I was threatened online myself a few months back, via anonymous messages on a forum from someone disguising their ID/IP. They claimed to have paid for copies of my medical and phone records and were threatening to expose my secrets! Fortunately I don’t actually have any secrets, so I just called their bluff, told all my friends/followers about it myself… and they haven’t bothered me since.
While I don’t have any major secrets it did upset me that someone would go so far and send such creepy messages. Also pretty lame that they picked up on the fact that I have medical problems to attack me.
I just wish I knew who they were so I could report them.
In this case it just seems like this woman was incapable of grasping a simple tweet, and then took her aggression/confusion out on you. As horrible as it might be at least that kind of person is in the minority and the rest of us are all backing you.
I am sorry you were upset in the manner that suzy upset you – I can’t imagine you sat there feeling ok about any of it (I’m not her, I should point out, I am just one of your legions of followers). I wonder if part of her responses came from a mix of shame, frustration, anger, and just not wanting to back down and actually wishing she’d never started the whole thing in the first place. I don’t mean that to excuse her behaviour, but pride has that effect, and with it all being so publicised, I imagine most people would prefer to brush it off than acknowledge they’d made a right tit of myself publicly. I think you were right to tweet and ask people not to tweet her – it can look like a baying mob. On a lighter note, regarding whether you make your followers orgasm and the recent news that the g-spot isn’t real (say them, pah) then maybe we should call it the T-spot, where one gets a little bit frisky at the thought of news presenters. not to be confused with the t-zone, which is an altogether different experience.
It’s ridiculous that it got to this stage, but I think it was necessary. I think part of the problem is that a lot of people don’t have much connect between twitter and real life – they think twitter is just a bit of fun and they can say what they like with no consequences. What they don’t realise, as you have lucidly highlighted above, is that for many of us twitter is a complex network that includes personal and professional contacts as well as those we’ve never met and follow for a bit of fun/banter. As a result, malicious attacks of this kind can be extremely damaging. I’d like to think most of my followers (and it seems most of yours) are sensible enough to take this for what it is, but you never know who would believe it and who wouldn’t. I know I definitely wouldn’t want Richard Madeley to think I was a racist.
This is a very sad state of affairs. I do think you have done the right thing. Their behaviour shows a profound lack of understanding about how the internet works. She would have no idea who, amongst the people she messaged, were your friends, work colleagues, family, or even your potential employers. As many have said here, just because it is the internet it doesn’t mean you say simply say whatever you like, especially when it is libellous. Well done for standing up to her, I do hope you get your apology. I also hope this gets picked up by a newspaper because it is a very good cautionary tale for people who think they are impeachable because it is ‘the anonymous internet’.
Delighted to see you’ve got your apology. You absolutely did the right thing and it’s heartening to see the Met took your complaint seriously.
Now please can we get back to more important matters eg, the shagworthiness of our Newsreaders. Thankyou.
I was surprised to see you take it to heart, but I can understand why. I certainly wouldn’t like someone spreading malicious rumours about my political affiliation. I find the lies and denial towards the end are even more puzzling than the act itself. Still, it’s all over. Now you can get back to tweeting about your non-racist penis. Maybe it’s an anti-racist penis, but I don’t see how a penis could have a political leaning.