Kathy Sierra of Creating Passionate Users cancelled her appearance at the ETech conference because of rape and death threats sent to her blog and to other blogs. She is working with the police because the threats, including lynching, are serious, harmful acts -- even if the threatened actions are never carried out.
This isn't free speech not by a long shot. Those making the threats need to be stopped. This in no way is business as usual or simply the price women have to pay when they gain any level of visibility.
This isn't merely an example that "blogging can be painful" as one story put it. The threats of violence were not a result of her blogging, they were the result of a person or people making the choice to issue clear threats of violence simply because they believe they can get away with this. This is far beyond cyber-bullying.
That this sort of behavior isn't new to the Internet shouldn't excuse it or dampen the outrage. In cases like this outrage is healthy. I'm more worried about those who shrug it off. Their attitude gives backhanded support to these types of threats.
She isn't a coward for cancelling her appearances. Those making the threats are the cowards and the criminals. Frankly, making Internet death threats should be a felony because they are acts of terrorism.
Blog owners who allow comments may have liability issues if their blog's comments contain these types of threats against other people. These types of threats should be reported to the police as soon as possible along with as much identifying information as possible. Then they should be deleted.
Those willing to terrorize others don't deserve a platform.
For more information, here's her post which includes some of threats. Be warned, the threats and accompanying visuals are highly disturbing.
Kathy, my thoughts are with you and I stand with you against those who make these types of threats.Since this is a form of sexual violence everyone who wants to communicate their opposition to threats such as this are welcome to participate in the Blog Against Sexual Violence Day on April 5, 2007. To get the logo shown below to show your support, click on the link to find out more about how you can join this effort. Let's show people like this that they don't have hoards of silent supporters.
Labels: Violence Against Women