The hanging of free speech: The case of Greg Elliott

Op-eds Opinions

“There are three things in the world that deserve no mercy: Hypocrisy, Fraud, and Tyranny.” — Frederick Robertson

Too few are aware of the current legal fiasco involving one Twitter warrior by the name of Greg Elliott, who now faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail for having the temerity to criticize feminist activist Stephanie Guthrie on Twitter — a woman whose sole claim to fame is that she led a crusade to destroy the life and career of the author of a tasteless face-punching computer game featuring activist Anita Sarkeesian of #gamergate infamy. Guthrie organized other Twitter users to send tweets to prospective employers, ensuring that the man could never find work again.

Elliott, to his credit, refused to take part in the smear campaign, and instead took to Twitter to criticize Guthrie, using her username in his tweets so that she would be notified of them in spite of her having blocked him. For this, the father of four has lost his job, been banned from using the internet, and is now before a judge on three charges of criminal harassment.

I took some time to read some of Greg Elliott’s tweets. Elliot is a vulgar man, and I find his commentary generally tasteless and crude, but nothing he has tweeted amounts to anything more offensive than cussing — and aren’t even our own local social justice advocacy groups guilty of the same? Moreover, the accusations against Elliot are of online harassment, but since when did criticizing political figures on a public forum amount to harassment? To this mountain of debauchery we can add hypocrisy, for Guthrie had continued all the while to criticize Elliot on her own Twitter profile. When asked in court whether Elliot had the right to defend himself in public, Guthrie replied “not to me.”

I have no doubt that most of you will see this for the brazen abuse of our justice system that it is — as well as a terribly dangerous attack on our freedom to express ourselves politically. Public figures who attempt to destroy the lives and careers of people who criticize them, and then go to the courts to accuse these critics of bullying, deserve to have their tyrannical behavior called out for what it is. I say that bullies should be stood up to, and that something should be done to take feminism back from those cruel individuals who have used it to shield their hatred from public scrutiny.