When A Twitter Jury Hangs

Peak? Quintessential? Bizarre and idiotic excess? The blazing speed with which it all happened was shocking in itself, but even as lines are drawn, sides are picked, tempers flare, the questions raised are already ripe for consideration. It began with one guy, a black author with a significant following on social media, putting his indictment, with fuzzy video, on twitter to evoke a reaction.

What happened here? Some conveniently fill in the gaps in the narrative with what they want to see. Others are not so sure. No matter, the friends of the aggrieved have identified the perpetrator of whatever it is happened.

Unsurprisingly, she had a job and her employer was the next “call.”

And her employer acts swiftly.

Emma has been terminated. I do hope people learn that there are consequences for their behavior, and take the chance to be better.

Whereupon, the post-mortem kicked into high gear. Was it wrong to take this to social media for the deliberate purpose of destroying this girl or was this fair game given what she supposedly said? Did she tell him to stay in his own ‘hood? She may have. Unlike the mythologized Karens, she didn’t call the cops and thus invoke the mythologized cops kill all black guys, but if she did say “hood,” was that racist, and racist enough, to put her in the pantheon of Karens?

He has a bit of a history on social media of being a persistent victim of racism and making sure everybody knows about it. Was this playing the race card, the victim card, for social status? Who had the privilege here?

And then there is the reaction by her employer, Bevy, via its CEO, which immediately terminated her rather than face the potential shirtstorm of social media condemnation, immediately followed by the disingenuous offer to help the two work it out, after he fired his employee. Was she fired for what she said, unrelated to her job and without further investigation, or because of his physical challenge of spinelessness?

But then, this happened, at least to the extent reflected in the initial video, and whatever his motivations, is she entitled to not be condemned? Is he wrong to have used what was available to him to vindicate his grievance? Were others wrong to agree with him, to join in the “mob” in support of his cause and to destroy this woman?

There was a backlash against him, that his putting this on social media was a deliberate effort to promote his own perpetual racial victimhood and create outrage and destroy her over this incident, and it was so grossly excessive as to reflect the worst of what can happen when the mob demands blood.

But that doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen and he was wrong to make his grievance public. There is no duty to “suck it up,” even if you do enjoy the social status you gain from destroying others. And it is possible that she earned it, even if it remains extremely unclear what exactly happened and why.

This is the extralegal process of accusation, conviction and punishment that has now been embraced in the quest to achieve Utopia. And, indeed, the conflicting views, and actions taken as a result of those views, may well have some merit, even if they are so extreme and absolute in their righteousness as to make one cringe. Where is the right? Where is the wrong? Where is the proportionality? Where is the evidence that clarifies what actually happened? Most importantly, where is the concern that the speed, and shocking lack of information and context, with which this happened precluded a thoughtful consideration of these questions before the defendant was executed.

This scenario happened. Is this what we want to happen? Is this progress? The unduly passionate can press their rhetorical excesses as hard as they want, but there is a bottom line question in what happened here. Is this your idea of Utopia?

36 thoughts on “When A Twitter Jury Hangs

  1. Mike

    This guy preaches police reform on his Twitter feed and then acts like this when insulted.

    Everyone wants a turn wearing the boot.

  2. Paleo

    This guy is a professional race grifter. He and his followers are filled with as much hate as the hard core racists are – the difference is how the hate is directed. If you referred to them as a lynch mob they’d scream racism, but I’ll be damned if I can see a behavioral difference.

    The woman’s ex-employer obviously has zero regard for his employees.

    And p.s. – Another reminder that the incompetent buffoon that is Donald Trump somehow broke Ken White (among many others). There was a time when White would have understood concepts like having all the facts before a decision and proportionality of consequence, but apparently that’s no longer the case.

    1. SamS

      Anyone who let’s Donald Trump break them is less than a buffoon. He was probably a loser before Trump and is certainly a loser now. Get Trump out of your head people.

    2. Rengit

      It’s been disappointing to watch Ken White gradually fall into the camp of people who, over the past 5 years, have come to the realization, “Now it’s my turn to be the bully.” Seems to happen a lot to people who gain large Twitter followings.

      1. SHG Post author

        Don’t be so harsh. Ken isn’t responsible for his following, and he’s allowed his views, even if they are occasionally intemperate.

  3. Jake

    Negative attention wasn’t invented by the internet and no amount of wishing is going to make it all just go away. If, having witnessed this latest exchange in the broader war against those who think life owes them special privileges, one person thinks twice before behaving badly on an airplane, refusing to wear a mask in public, or calling the police on an innocent person in the park, will Emma’s consequences have been worth it?

    1. Drew Conlin

      Emma’s consequences? Really? It’s out of any reasonable sense of fairness that she loses her job. In fact I only heard someone say she said ..” go back to the hood”.. did not hear her say it.
      This road some are going down is not going to end well.

    2. Paleo

      “those who think life owes them special privileges”.

      Are you referring to her or him? Best case this is a collision of assholes, and there’s a much stronger case that he’s an asshole than there is that she is one. He’s got a looooooong public record of being a dickhead. There’s one video of her that doesn’t even show her alleged racist behavior.

      This episode isn’t going to result in fewer Emmas, it’s going to result in more Roberts. There too little actual racism out there so we need to manufacture more, otherwise Robert really has no reason for being.

    3. Miles

      Jake, ignore these mean rational people. If you can’t flip fop whenever your bias demands, what kind of world would this be? After all, that burning carceral hatred deep inside you has to come out of it will eat you up.

        1. Jake

          Tell me something I don’t know. The synapses of Caenorhabditis Elegans are a mystery to modern science and it only has ~300 neurons. That’s at least 3 or 4 more than I have pulling in the same direction, after the life I’ve lived.

          But if you’re suggesting there’s no relationship between the effect negative attention on the internet can have on individuals and the EU’s Right to be Forgotten legislation, you may want to make a few more synaptic connections yourself, my friend.

          Paleo had the right of it with: “Best case this is a collision of assholes”. All I saw was a drunk girl assault a race-baiting individual holding a camera. Who’s right? Who cares. This incident was small-ball.

          There is a far more interesting conversation that is worth having. In the aggregate, how do we, as a society, deal with the fact that in this country, everyone has a movie studio in their pocket, everyone is entitled to their opinions, and everyone has a right to express their opinions on the internet?

          And before you share more about this fantasy that it would be cool if the court of public opinion was more like a real court, save your breath. That’s never going to happen so let’s all grow the f up and move on to solutions that might work.

            1. Miles

              I assume you’re referring to Jake’s insipid yet simplistic connection to the right to be forgotten law while ignoring completely the damage done immediately to an oppressed person with vagina whom he would have bent over backwards to support except that the offended person was a step higher on his victim hierarchy, and not his flagrant bias-driven hypocrisy that’s obvious to everyone but Jake?

            2. Jake

              “Do you ever wonder why you never persuade anyone?” Sorry, I’m too busy counting the money in the quarterly bonus check I get for persuading people to answer this.

              “What is it all the lawyers know that you don’t?” Your question is impertinent. This forum is not made up of only lawyers and members of society are mostly not lawyers. Nor do Lawyers have a monopoly on questions related to the law.

              It’s OK though. I’m surely not expecting you to suddenly engage with the substance of my comments.

            3. SHG Post author

              When your comments have substance, I’m sure someone will engage with it. I, for one, can’t wait for that day. Enjoy your bonus check.

          1. PseudonymousKid

            Hi again, Jake. You need to stop avoiding the primary question of the posts. Pops is regular about it. He introduces the topic, talks about it, then ends with questions about the topic almost always. Try reading the post at least twice. Once top to bottom then once again with the questions he poses at the end in mind. It might help. I hope it does.

            Did this Emma deserve to be fired for what someone said she did? You seem to say yes. Why? What does that mean for the “aggregate” you want to discuss? Her case is part of that aggregate, after all. So as not to be evasive, can you try starting with yes or no? I’m not really asking for you to do it this time, but I’m really trying to get you on topic at least. Having been chastened recently for my acting out, I’m also trying to be nicer about it. Whether EU has some law you want to say something about doesn’t have anything to do with Emma. Please accept that even if you disagree.

      1. Paleo

        That legislation won’t solve anything. I’m in favor of people treating each other decently. And of turning the other cheek on small transgressions. And of employers protecting their employees rather than kicking them to the curb (or of universities honoring their commitments).

        And of calling out these lynch mobs for what they are. Robert and his fans are no different than the lynchers of 100 years ago.

        1. Jake

          I, too, am an idealist about a great many things. The right to be forgotten won’t stop people from being people. It would mitigate the ongoing harm Emma will suffer trying to dig her way out of this mess with potential, future employers.

          1. SHG Post author

            Stop Jake. You need to learn when to stop. You’ve already been told this is stupid, yet you persist. Time for you to take some time off from SJ. Again.

  4. Rengit

    Not disputing that that is her, but she looks different in those pictures than she does in the video; I wouldn’t have thought that was her judging by the photos alone. So what happens if you’re a reasonably close doppelganger for the unpopular person of the moment? Especially when people *really want* to find someone to punish and won’t be too careful before claiming to have a positive ID. Do we want a world where your employer can just say “Well, you look like this person who is under social media fire, and the resemblance between the two of you is damaging our brand, so good bye”?

  5. B. McLeod

    A long time ago, when I was in what used to be called “junior high school,” I was late for school one day. That was a big deal back then. Fortunately, when I got to the classroom door, there was a huge distraction in progress, because two kids I didn’t like were beating the shit out of each other (really uncommon in classrooms in those days). I was able to slip in unnoticed, and I made sure the teacher saw that I was there before the end of the class period, so she assumed she had made an error taking roll (no “tardy” for me).

    It was an important life lesson. When assholes are whupping on each other, find a way to use it to your advantage. At a bare minimum, get some popcorn – it’s free entertainment. Today Mr. Victim asshole got someone fired. Tomorrow, some asshole who objects will catch up to him, and he’ll be fired (or maybe just evicted, shunned, or harassed). As long as they stay busy with each other, they aren’t that much of a nuisance.

  6. Pedantic Grammar Police

    I’m not surprised nor disappointed to see internet randos leveraging racial hatred for fun and profit; this is normal. I am disappointed in Popehat. I used to read and enjoy his blog and twitter feed; now he seems to have lost his way. It’s not just that there is a bit of garbage here and there among the gems; it’s all garbage all the time, and the gems seem to have vanished.

    1. SHG Post author

      I don’t always agree with Ken, and I’m sure he doesn’t always agree with me. But I respect him, appreciate him and believe that he is sincere in his views.

      And, I should add, that he’s exceptionally smart and knowledgeable about law.

  7. Dan J

    I seem to recall a couple different cases recently where women got very upset at being photographed by men in public without permission, and the internet sided with the women. I don’t have my Oppression Hierarchy chart handy, does alleged rasicm beat alleged misogyny and general male creepiness?

  8. Dan H.

    Not the point of your post, but Joseph wrote a book called The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person for teens that is being recommended as a top book for teens by the American Library Associatiin and is covered by blurbs highlighting its enlightened approach to racial relations. I have bot read it but there is an irony that this guy is considered an appropriate person to be giving advice on improving inter-racial relations.

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