Tag Archives: vigilantism

“Justice for Daisy” goes viral: The collateral damage of online activism

Anonymous and others are responding en masse to Daisy Coleman\’s alleged assault. But will they take down innocents?

It’s already being called this year’s Steubenville. But the quest for “Justice for Daisy” is already playing out in very different ways.

When, over the weekend, journalist Dugan Arnett published the outrageous, infuriating tale of what happened to a 14-year-old Maryville, Mo., girl in the Kansas City Star, the story quickly made national headlines. Nearly two years ago, the now 16-year-old Daisy Coleman – she and her family consented to publish her name — snuck out of the house with a girlfriend during a sleepover. They were picked up by a football player with well-connected family ties named Matthew Barnett. When they arrived at his house, as Arnett wrote, “the girls found themselves among some of the school’s most popular student-athletes.” Coleman says she was given two drinks, and that’s the last thing she remembers. The next morning, her mother found her passed out on the porch in the subfreezing cold, clad in just a t-shirt and sweatpants. Her hair had frozen. When her mother brought her inside for a warm bath, that’s when she saw the signs on her body. That’s when the girl told her “it hurt.” (A 15-year-old boy later told police of his experience with Coleman’s friend. He said that “the girl said ‘no’ multiple times, he undressed her, put a condom on and had sex with her.”) Barnett was arrested and charged with sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Another boy, Jordan Zech, who allegedly recorded what happened that night, was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor. The charges were dropped soon after. Robert Rice, the Nodaway County prosecutor, told the Star, “They were doing what they wanted to do, and there weren’t any consequences. And it’s reprehensible. But is it criminal? No.”

In the aftermath of the events, Coleman found herself the target of online harassment, and attempted suicide. Her mother was fired from her job. The family left town, and while their house was still on the market, it mysteriously burned down. Though the full details of what happened to Daisy Coleman that January night are not known, what is clear is that she was incapacitated by alcohol, she was left to freeze to death on her own porch, and then, for her troubles, she was harassed and bullied. The boys involved, meanwhile, managed to move on with almost no consequences.

But now that the story has gained national attention, it’s taken a new turn. Inevitably, Anonymous has become involved, demanding “an immediate investigation into the handling by local authorities of Daisy’s case.” Both the #justice4rdaisy and #opmaryville hashtags have become a deep repository for news information to put pressure on law enforcement – and the boys involved. And the “Justice for Daisy” campaign has already proven what’s possible in a world in which anybody who can Google can be an avenger.

via “Justice for Daisy” goes viral: The collateral damage of online activism – Salon.com.

Violentacrez Fired: Michael Brutsch Loses Job After Reddit Troll Identity Exposed By Gawker

Actions have consequences, which is something Michael Brutsch is just starting to learn.

Brutsch, aka “Violentacrez,” was Reddit’s biggest troll until Gawker exposed his true identify, revealing to the world the man behind questionable forums, such as r/creepshots — a space dedicated to pictures of women unaware that their photographs had been taken.

Now that the 49-year-old from Arlington, Texas, has been outed, his behavior has caught up with him.

via Violentacrez Fired: Michael Brutsch Loses Job After Reddit Troll Identity Exposed By Gawker.

Unmasking Reddit’s Violentacrez, The Biggest Troll on the Web

Judging from his internet footprint, Brutsch, 49, has a lot to sweat over. If you are capable of being offended, Brutsch has almost certainly done something that would offend you, then did his best to rub your face in it. His speciality is distributing images of scantily-clad underage girls, but as Violentacrez he also issued an unending fountain of racism, porn, gore, misogyny, incest, and exotic abominations yet unnamed, all on the sprawling online community Reddit. At the time I called Brutsch, his latest project was moderating a new section of Reddit where users posted covert photos they had taken of women in public, usually close-ups of their asses or breasts, for a voyeuristic sexual thrill. It was called “Creepshots.” Now Brutsch was the one feeling exposed and it didn’t suit him very well.

But Michael Brutsch is more than a monster. Online, Violentacrez has been one of Reddit’s most reviled characters but also one of its most beloved users. The self-described “creepy uncle of Reddit” has played a little-known but crucial role in Reddit’s development into the online juggernaut it is today. In real life, Brutsch is a military father and cat-lover. He lives with his wife in the Dallas suburb of Arlington, Texas. There are many sides to Violentacrez, and now that I had Michael Brutsch on the phone I hoped to find out where the troll ended and the real person began.

via Unmasking Reddit’s Violentacrez, The Biggest Troll on the Web.


Here is an online tribute to Violentacrez posted on reddit.