Recently, an attack website appeared, publishing an April email exchange I had with blog-radio host Nicole Sandler. It was a low-rent attempt to smear me, trying to “out” what they think is my real name (which I never confirm or deny), and even stooping to insert forged text into to the emails to do it. The smear failed, but the event is only the latest in a series of attack strategies that serve up prodigious quantities of lies and innuendo about me each day on Twitter. This post will try to explain how much of this culture of vitriol got started, merely because I chose to end a friendship with an anonymous blogger known as @GottaLaff. This triggered a nearly 2 year long whisper campaign where she would plant negative memes about me, accusing me of harassing her in some hazy but suggestively odious manner. These yarns would find their way to celebrities, journalists and just plain folk who she was was famous for schmoozing. Her stories of abuse were seized on by supporters, who began attacking me, my friends, and my followers routinely, hour after hour, for well over the past year.
This post is response to the smear, and my first telling of the @GottaLaff saga, a story I have tried not to tell, knowing that it would seem like so much “high school” to anyone who hasn’t endured the unimaginable levels of daily attacks that I have. Some will always be convinced that @GottaLaff is an innocent flower, incapable of the duplicity that many have witnessed over a two year long assault on me and my reputation. Some will always believe that Iraq had WMDs, too. But belief tells a story of faith, and evidence tells quite another. Perhaps the evidence in this post will not change any convictions, but that really isn’t my goal. I simply wish to be left alone by @GottaLaff, her friends, and her accomplices. I apologize for the length but I didn’t have enough time to keep it brief.
On December 4th, an attack blog site called “shoqvalueexposed.wordpress.com” appeared on the web. It presented a mostly accurate email exchange that I had last April with blog-talk radio host @NicoleSandler. I say "mostly accurate," because it also contained a completely bogus sentence that was inserted into one paragraph to make it appear as if I might harass Nicole in some way.
By itself, it may seem like a rather petty and silly forgery to add into an otherwise unaltered email. But it was put there for a reason. It was meant to echo and resonate with a broader pattern of constant allegations made about me each day on Twitter by a small army of harassers who are so pernicious and persistent that they become known to thousands of my Twitter followers as simply, the "Shoq Trolls." Normally, I ignore their moronic abuse and shenanigans, but this new website, the forgery, and the misuse of a private communication requires a more comprehensive response to finally address the larger context in which these trolls have been operating for nearly two years. This post is that response, and it's not going to be a very pleasant read for some people. But it's an honest one, and one where almost every word of is a documentable fact which I, and several other people would swear to in court, and under oath. We may yet have to do that before this is over.
I’ve taken my time in responding to this malicious, but incompetent smear of me for two reasons. Firstly, because each day that I’ve waited, new information or behavior appears that reveals more background pointing to who is behind it, and secondly, because the larger context has been a story that has needed telling for a long time, and doing it poorly would be a missed opportunity. But doing it well, on the other hand, might serve to finally clear the air about a long-standing personal grudge that many know about, but many others don't.
It's a grudge that was never based on anything but a minor personal dispute, but coaxed and encouraged to mushroom into a suite of nonsensical allegations that have been used to justify an entire culture of hostility toward me on Twitter for almost two years. A simple personality clash between two parties became an ecosystem of malice, lies, misrepresentations, defamation, and outright libelous assertions about me, and several of my friends, associates, and Twitter followers.
As a progressive personality on Twitter with some modest visibility, I get attacked regularly by both the Left and the Right for my political points of view. And that's fine. That's conversation. But I also get attacked for the same kinds of reasons that afflict visible figures on most online venues (be they chat rooms, forums, or social media such as Facebook and Twitter): personality clashes, petty jealousies, juvenile disputes, and craven demands for attention by people who might not get very much on their own. The vast majority of this ankle-biter type attacking can partially be dealt with using block lists, filters and other tools that just screen out pests. But these tools only help mitigate the annoyance, and the dedicated trolls can always work around them.
But as I've already said, this kind of attack is different. If the lies and innuendo are allowed to stand, they will be rendered fact by successive waves of Internet trolls citing them to prove some new silly allegation to whomever they are currently trying to disparage me. So to mitigate the damage that these lies might cause me in the future, I will show clearly just what this site is: not just a sloppy smear and character assassination ploy, but a robust new chapter in a long standing personal feud that has grown into full scale drama; one with multiple antagonists who spend their Twitter days piling their own scripted layers of acrimony atop the initial minor dispute, sometimes without ever knowing they're being egged on to serve someone else's agenda.
You can get a sense of just how ugly these attacks have been, and continue to be, just by the tone of the unglued ranting of the site's author(s), who keep posting new and stranger exhibits to the site, such as photoshopped images of supposed texts written by supposed ex-girlfriends, and pop psychobabble copied from Internet websites that is meant to confirm their charges that I am some sort of woman-hating sociopath. The authors even go so far as to cast my openly discussed dental implant work as evidence that I am “toothless,” as if, even if true (which it’s not), it would be some kind of crime against humanity. Such vituperative nonsense isn’t credible to anyone who knows me, and really doesn’t deserve much comment.
As with Birtherism and Trutherism, any confirmation or denial of any part of it will just be used by the perpetrators as pretext for some new accusation. You just can't contest crazy. So the only salient issue on this site is the email exchange with Nicole Sandler, and it is there that this long and sordid tale must begin.
I had written to Sandler to express my anger and disappointment for her disingenuous and manipulative validation of statements made by the blogger known as @GottaLaff, of ThePoliticalCarnival.net, a regular contributor to Nicole's blog radio program, and a former friend of mine prior to a falling-out over what I felt were irreconcilable personal differences. The site authors are obviously people who already fulminate regularly about the many rumors and gossip revolving around @GottaLaff and me, and probably thought publishing this letter would serve as some kind of gotcha moment, exposing the issue to the whole Twitter-world.
It may be a gotcha, but it’s not me that they got, Truth be told, I am actually rather relieved to expose – and hopefully conclude – this drama so that I no longer have to explain it piecemeal whenever it comes up. It has been a huge time suck, and I would much rather concentrate my energies on what I do well: design information services and help free my country from the grip of radical conservative tyranny.
There are many speculations about who authored the site, but it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that the context be explained for the record, and that the serious matter of the inserted forgery be addressed and debunked. As I tweeted immediately when the site appeared, the altered portions of the email suggest, completely incongruously when compared with the rest of my language in the text, inserts this sentence:
“But I can be a real prick and you can lose lots of followers very quickly just like she did when I DM’d people to stop following her.”
That sentence is simply put, a fiction. It was inserted a full 15 minutes after the site had first appeared, almost as if the authors realized there wasn’t enough nasty in the email, so they needed to embellish with a bit more dirt. The original document can be seen here, and the original text (without the threat) is highlighted in yellow.* Other originals were sent to trusted friends, and are all time-stamped identically. Throughout the other emails with Nicole, I never use such language or tone, nor engaged in anything but civil discussion. I have asked Nicole to publicly state for the record that the published version does not match the one she received. For whatever reason, she has not yet responded, but I expect that she will eventually, or risk casting herself as an actor in an easily provable libel.
My many Twitter detractors, discussed later, are gleefully using this silly forgery to add yet one more defamatory or libelous assertion to their long list of crimes they allege I have committed. This time, I that I am “DMing” people to unfollow someone.
Seriously — as comical as it sounds, that’s their charge. I have over 13,700 followers on Twitter. You’d think at least a few of these people would be coming forth with evidence of this apparently voluminous cascade of dastardly messages I've allegedly sent urging people to unfollow someone. (Gasp!).
But as does Fox News, these people work on the theory that anything said with enough repetition becomes truth — especially in matters of character assassination. If these assertions, or the many like them, had any substance to them at all, someone would have evidenced them by now. But no one ever has. The trolls simply parrot the charge — again, and again, and again, and again. These schoolyard-caliber allegations are hackneyed smears, executed by unsophisticated actors, and are poorly contrived to harm me as a person, and/or disable what they perceive as any socio-political influence that they think I have. But they're also meant to be take-off points that others can use when they get into arguments with me over politics or any other topic. Once they feel boxed in or defeated, they can, and often will start deflecting with claims that "Shoq is just an anonymous coward who bullies people who disagree with him," or words to that effect. In fact, it's clearly demonstrated in the public Twitter record that the opposite is true.
A Fail For The Authors Becomes Opportunity For Me
Clearly, this website was meant to embarrass me, but it failed in spectacular fashion. It came off to most as a poorly conceived effort to assassinate my character by characterizing as some kind of scandal, what was merely a private and cordial exchange between two acquaintances. It revealed nothing except the effort that I made to seek apology and resolution of a personal matter; Nicole’s blithe rebuff of my effort; and her indirect admission of having her own political grudge about my many public criticisms of some of her colleagues among the so-called “professional left.”
But where it failed as a smear, it succeeded in shining a light on the long standing grudge that Nicole’s friend (and radio show co-host) @GottaLaff holds against me, and a continuing whisper campaign that she has helped wage or nurture against me for a long time. Traces of this vendetta have been witnessed by many, in one form or another, but for the most party, they have rarely seen directly in the form of public remarks or actions by either @GottaLaff or me. In my case, it was because I kept wanting the entire matter to end, but in @GottaLaff's case, because she was waging her campaign through friends and other proxies. They did the heavy lifting of attacking or impugning me on Twitter so that she didn't have to. Some of them have wised up to this game over time, and even openly rebelled over it. Some have come forward and repaired their relations with me. But most of the warriors continue to wage their war against me every day.
All of this was completely under the radar to most of my Twitter stream, and only hinted at by me now and then out of frustration. I might poke at her gently after some new smear surfaced, or when she did something silly on her blog, but beyond that, I didn’t discuss it. Even if I wanted to, proving whisper campaigns is always challenging because… well… they are whispered!
The email posting I had discussed with Sandler was some of the first solid published proof that I had ever received which could document the very behavior I’d alleged @GottaLaff had been engaging in for the past year and a half. But here was her radio partner, Nicole Sandler, witnessing it first hand, then choosing to actually contribute to the smear bomb rather than make any effort to diffuse it. If was so blatant and unnecessary, I was sure that if I wrote to Nicole, she would apologize for it and admit that @GottaLaff had just done exactly what I told her she had been doing. Silly me.
I have started and stopped writing this post for well over a year. While I resented the ecosystem of rumor, innuendo and ongoing smears that @GottaLaff helped foster about me on Twitter, I was loathe to embark on what would inevitably be portrayed as petty, divisive, or mean “high school drama” conducted in 140 character bursts, mostly by people who haven’t had to endure the daily consequences of it. As I will describe below, I did discuss small chunks of it this past summer after receiving some threatening letters from someone that is almost certainly the same party or parties who produced this new site.
After nearly two years of suffering this nonsense, it’s just been made all too clear that my silence has been used as a weapon against me. That phase of this drama ends with this post. It will act as my official statement on the matter, as well as chronicle @GottaLaff’s role in spawning and promoting them, even as she cleverly positioned herself above the fray in public most of the time. I have no wish to hurt @GottaLaff, and never did. I don’t even want an apology for what she has done to my reputation and that of my friends. It's too late for that. But I do want the history of her behavior to be detailed, and then I want this behavior to stop — permanently. That is my one and only motivation in crafting this post.
In real life, I am someone most people really like, or really dislike. I'm ok with that. On Twitter, I like to think I am merely a reasonably good natured, somewhat creative, and occasionally generous cat avatar with some political connections and a little technical savvy who likes to talk about my country and how we might fix it with like minded people. That's all I have ever claimed to be, or wanted to do. I hope when you reach the end of this post, you will help me just be that again.
The one thing I am not, and never have been, is any kind of bully, misogynist, or abusive personality. And I am certainly not this preposterous caricature of a demon that these disturbed people try to portray me as for whatever reasons compel them. Despite my anonymity, I am known to a lot of people on Twitter, many whom have met me. I simply don't like or trust being too loose with my real identify for personal and professional reasons. If I was the cartoon boogeyman these ridiculous people present me as, you probably wouldn't even know that I exist, nor be reading these words, as I wouldn't matter enough to even be known to you.
Whew. So much for introductions. Now let's get on with the history of all this, and you can decide for yourselves who is the bully, and who is the bullied.
The Deep Background
I had met Nicole Sandler back in November of last year with my friend, Miami Herald columnist Joy-Ann Reid, had been a caller several times on her radio show, spoken semi-often via Twitter direct message and emails, and she had what generally appeared to be friendly relations with me on Twitter. Two years running, I have tried to help her be nominated as a NetRoots Nation fellow, and this year, she specifically asked that I try to help her move from the middle of the pack to the front. I made a concerted effort to help her on Twitter, and despite her petty denial of my impact in our now public exchange, within 24 hours, she in fact, advanced into the top four and ultimately prevailed.
So last April, I was stunned to receive a copy of a private email thread from a group called dirty-hippies, where @GottaLaff had just posted a message discussing harassment she endures at the hands of someone that substantially sounded like my Shoq persona on Twitter. After her many hints, one of the group members even asks if this bad guy has “a Cat Avatar." For over a year, she’d said (through Nicole and other proxies) that she’d never even spoken of me, and here it was, for the first time, evidence of a whisper campaign being planted in all its ugly glory. Appropriate portions of this thread are posted below.
Sandler posted carefully nuanced words of support, adding a few of her own flourishes in such a way that the other readers would never know that Nicole herself had substantial knowledge of what @GottaLaff was discussing, and that it had a long history of being what Nicole herself described to me as purely a “he/said, she/said” matter. And it was one which she claimed (to me) that she had been urging both parties to just “ignore” and move on from. Despite her inside knowledge of the feud (her word, discussed later), she made no hint of it in her remarks to the email group, nor did she bother to indicate that we’d spoken at length, and that she was intimately aware that there were two sides to the saga. Instead, she just disingenuously appeared to validate it all, before telegraphing what may have been her true motive in commenting at all, positing that my political opinions and rants on Twitter were some kind of serial abuse of bloggers or other public figures that I discuss often, and whom are sometimes guests on her blog radio program.
What made this all the more astonishing is that @GottaLaff’s (and then Nicole’s own innuendo) in this private forum was exactly the kind of whisper tactics which I had confided to Sandler that @GottaLaff had been doing for a very long time. She would never do any dirty work herself, I explained, because she could always set up a story with her friends and proxies. Thinking this supposedly sweet little snarky blogger couldn’t possibly be one of those manipulative mean girls from high school who would mislead them, they would eagerly venture forth to attack me on her behalf for hours, days, weeks, and even years. Obviously, @GottaLaff intended to use this private email group as a way to prime yet a new set of people with these lies about me. One of the people in the group, a well known writer, even posted this immediately in the thread:
“This guy sounds like someone the DHs [Dirty hippies] as a whole might take a whack at. Name?”
See the effect? With a few carefully chosen words that paint her as a victim, she easily spawns new warriors ready to mount up and and ride on out to protect the damsel in distress. Each of them was being used, as so many had been used before them. None of them could possibly know that for almost two years, the real story was precisely the opposite. The damsel was actually the one doing the harassing of me, by planting just such memes in any group or community she could, always using assistants like Sandler to validate appearances. Like many Twitter users, they were chosen as carriers of gossip and innuendo because they had no facts or background to refute it. (Many of her helpers were pulled into these white knight roles unwittingly, which was a shame, as we had once been friends. I am hopeful that some of us may be again after this post opens a few eyes as to what really had been going on.)
And that’s how gossip and whisper campaigns always work. Once a fledgling rumor gets its wings, it flies off in all directions at once, even with just a few actors doing most of the smearing. In my case, an ensemble cast joined up with the core actors, and they now collectively labor furiously each day to taint and tarnish my reputation on Twitter. They try to make people distrust me, unfollow me, suspect me of some covert subterfuge or another, all in an attempt to make stick any disquieting meme they think the gullible will accept at face value, even when there isn't a shred of evidence, no rational basis for there being any, and there exists plenty of contrary evidence to refute the charges.
For example, the site author(s) say:
“Ask yourself this question: is everyone lying except for Shoq? Why is it that every woman who has had a run in with him has said the same exact thing about him?”
Alright, now work with me here. I have 13,700+ users on Twitter, many of whom have known me for years. Many of my best friends and long-time followers are all not just women, but strong, professional, independent women, many of whom are bloggers, pundits, broadcasters, attorneys, authors, and various celebrities.
Does any rational person think these notable, credible, and outstanding women would be such a poor judge of character that they would indulge, engage, or retweet me more than once or twice if I exhibited the bullying, misogynistic, or harassing characteristics that have been alleged by these trolls? Seriously? And if they have not witnessed such behavior, then who, exactly has?
Where is even a single witness who will come forward with anything resembling credible evidence? All we ever hear from is the same small clique of women and men who have been recounting these fables again and again without ever producing a single piece of evidence. Now and then, some strange proponent of these memes, always a close friend of @GottaLaff's, such as a @watergatesummer (whose feelings I apparently hurt once during a disagreement over the Gulf Oil Crisis) will come forward making long-winded public speeches about my supposedly “bullying behavior toward women.” Yet when asked for examples, all they offer are vague references to what sounds like, at best, a history of some heated political dispute, and at worst, crickets. The point is just to make the allegation. That is the only reality these people care about.
The common link behind most of "pot stirrer" types like @watergatesummer, is that each of these accusers has always had a very near-proximity @GottaLaff. If there’s an exception to this rule, neither I, nor my friends and observers can think of one. Ironically, @watergatesummer and I had first talked, and became casually friendly, because she wanted to tell me what was being said about me behind the scenes by @GottaLaff. Months later, possibly because it was a ruse from the start, she herself starts attacking me with these "Shoq is a bully" memes. Fancy that. This should give you a rough idea of just how hard it is to know who to believe or trust in these petty affairs. But then, you may remember some of these things from high school, too. They are not dissimilar.
My Background With Nicole Sandler
I met Nicole through Twitter. I sometimes listened to her Air America show, and was occasionally a caller or call-in guest. That ended when she set up @Karoli and me as punching bags for her "boyfriend" who had called in to attack us over our support of President Obama's healthcare plan (and the President himself). Nicole apologized to me for this breach of ethics after the show, and we continued to have fairly friendly relations on Twitter.
Now and then, mutual friends have tried to understand this “feud” with @GottaLaff, often encouraging me to discuss it because they feel it interferes with their own friendships with one or both of us. So long before our lunch date with Joy-Ann Reid, Nicole Sandler had asked me to call her and explain “this weird feud thing with @GottaLaff.” We had already spoken in a casual way about how I felt she should be careful about what @GottaLaff, who was notoriously sloppy with facts might say on her show. This has repeatedly been characterized by @GottaLaff as my saying Nicole should “fire her,” which is factually incorrect.
I said the exact same thing to my Twitter friend, radio host @alancolmes, in private, when he asked me if I still felt she might make a good segment on his show (back in the day when I was promoting her, I suggested this). I essentially said I was not the right person to ask, as I really had no respect for her work any longer.
On my call with Nicole, and I gave her an hour long history of bad blood between @GottaLaff and myself, caused almost entirely by my simply parting ways with her as a friend, after which she started telling serial tales to multiple parties about me being “out to get her.”
I explained to Sandler that no one had ever produced any evidence of this happening, but that I always presumed if there were any, it would be copies of casual DM or IM conservations with mutual friends or contacts, much like Sandler herself, where I probably said something like:
“I was friends with @GottaLaff until late 2009. I helped her out with her blog. I helped her build up her brand on Twitter. I lost respect for her and wasn’t very fond of her personality or her blog.” On the rare occasion I went deeper, I might have added remarks like “ I think she’s a social-climbing personality, hungry to be admired, and engaged in a kind of copy & paste blogging, obsequious tweeting, and a shameless level of celebrity fawning that I just really dislike.”
So there it was. I actually admitted to having an unflattering opinion of a blogger.
But I also told Sandler that I had absolutely no interest in harming @GottaLaff in any way, and simply wished she would just accept that I have a right to dislike her, get over her weird obsession about the past, call off her Twitter dogs, and just leave me and my reputation alone. I didn't say I would return the favor because I wasn't doing anything except discussing @GottaLaff's vendetta with people like Sandler when they asked. Sandler agreed that @GottaLaff seemed “just a bit over the top about it,” but that if I would just ignore her, it would all go away in time. She said she would “not share” our conversations, and we would maintain a relationship with me independently. Fine.
Things Escalated After The Sandler Call
As bad as things were in the months before the Sandler call, things really ramped up after it. Because of all the public tweets by @GottaLaff’s eclectic inner circle (a mishmash of oddballs and eccentrics who seemed devoted to doing battle with me based on whatever they were once told), I was continually approached by more normal Twitter users in DMs, or even publicly, asking “Why are you harassing @GottaLaff, or “What’s up with you and @GottaLaff?” or “why does so-and-so tell me you were stalking @GottaLaff. I thought you guys were friends?” Some would even ask, “why did you try to get @GottaLaff fired?” (So much for Nicole not sharing our call, eh?). Many of these were casual Twitter folk in my stream who never even noticed that I had not been retweeting, engaging, or even mentioning @GottaLaff since late in 2009.
Already feeling burned by Sandler, and weary of how any response would get back to @GottaLaff, but needing to be at least truthful, I got into the habit of offering a much reduced version of what I told Sandler:
“@GottaLaff and I were friends for awhile. I helped her with her blogging and twittering. We fell out. Ever since, she keeps telling people that I have some kind of ongoing vendetta, constantly harassing her. They never show any evidence of it. And they can’t, because I don’t.”
Not one of these people ever responded with knowledge of even a single incident of the alleged harassment. They just heard it, presumed it to be something worth asking about, and seemed to accept my answer. On very rare occasions, if they were people I trusted, they might ask for some “evidence” of her harassment of me, and I would point to examples, some of which are exhibits to this post (below). Such conversations would usually conclude with, “Well, this is just too bad. I like you both.”
To this day, some variation of @GottaLaff's tales of vendetta get repeated again and again, ear to ear, cell to cell, often used as the basis for the completely unhinged “Shoq bashing” that so many are aware of, and can best be seen in links contained in these two posts by friends of mine who have opined about this saga in one form or another. Please note that they too are among those women that I am alleged to have abused so often:
- When Bullying Becomes Acceptable (by @vdaze)
- Why yes, I AM writing about bullying. Again. These things must be said (by @karoli).
If the above posts don’t make it clear who is bullying whom, I can only assume the reader came to this page with a foregone conclusion, already sold to them by @GottaLaff or her friends. Rational people should find it as uncanny as I do that something so completely baseless as these charges against me could be advanced to so many, and so frequently, especially among allegedly critically-thinking progressives. But get advanced they do — endlessly.
So what dastardly past history did I share with @GottaLaff that could justify this daily onslaught from these grotesquely unhinged dogs of war? Well, I made the horrendous mistake of trying to help her. My bad.
My Relationship With @GottaLaff
When I first met @GottaLaff on Twitter, I thought she had modest talent for writing about politics with a quirky, humorous edge, easily digested by progressives. After becoming friendly, and realizing that her technical skills and journalistic skills were equally modest, I decided to help her to improve her technical, conceptual and reporting skills, set her up with professional web designer friend (@noetical), and generally tried to get her more noticed on Twitter. I even registered her current domain name for her at GoDaddy.com, as she wasn't very adept at such technical tasks. Then I helped her find topical stories such as an interview with National Guard lawyer, Major Barry Wingard, and his client, a Gitmo detainee (with whom I also arranged an on-air interview with @anamariecox’s on her Air America radio show). @GottaLaff and I spoke by phone, emailed, and IMed often. We were publicly connected on Twitter so often, that even now, over two years later, some people are still surprised to learn we are no longer friends.
After months of my technical and emotional support, two trends emerged. First, she seemed to be mining my Twitter stream for followers, but more importantly, she was learning "who was important" by who I engaged. She would then make concerted efforts to let those peopIe know "shoqface and I are bestest friends," so she could ingratiate herself as fast as possible. Then she would mine their streams in much the same way. Second, I discovered that this was her modus operandi in general. She had a network of people she was doing this to, and these people were also giving her help and assistance to the point where some were practically doing her blogging (and promotion) for her.
But this network was also being used to create an illusion that she had deep and insightful knowledge of politics and current events. The people in this network were doing some of the same things that I was for her, and apparently, she was using their socio-political knowledge which they had just passed to her as if it were her own. I could tell by the proximity of things she would say to me, which I would then see tweeted by them, sometimes only minutes later. The more this happened, the more I came to admit to myself that her knowledge of real politics was scant, and that her observations were shallow and generally devoid of much critical thinking.
Ok, fine. So she wasn't a rocket scientist. She was a humorist who would borrow heavily from others, and her insecurities made her difficult to work with. No crime in any of that. Far more troubling for me, was that I had also learned that she had extremely thin skin and had no tolerance for even the smallest criticisms. After months of her overreactions to even the most minor advice or criticisms, such as “try and stop bolding every other sentence,” or “avoid trivial stories with outrageous headlines that are seen as link baiting,” any desire I had to help this person was evaporating.
It got worse when I was often chided by close friends for supporting what they saw as a copy and paster, best known for aggressive and shamelessly obvious celebrity chasing on Twitter. Then one day, someone directed me to this post.
Hello, Secret Service? I’d like to report the internet!
After finishing the post, I laughed nervously, and then realized that I was done with her. I had been giving daily aid and emotional comfort to someone I no longer had any respect for, personally or professionally. So after her very next meltdown in Instant Messages about something or other, I just told her that after this last outburst, it would probably be best if I just didn't try to help her any longer. I quietly withdrew from engaging her. And that was that. There was no big fight, no animosity, no fanfare, and no drama. I just stopped engaging. I shared all the final messages with my friend @Karoli (who would sometimes try to referee these silly squabbles over what was always some minor criticism, and I wanted a witness to the final solution).
And that was that. Or so I thought.
Within only a few weeks, allegations started emerging from one or more of her friends on Twitter, that have steadily escalated ever since. Silly allegations like ones already mentioned had grown into more odious characterizations that Shoq “harassed bloggers,” “bullied women” or “stalked critics,” “hacked people’s computers,” and a wide range of other baseless and nonsensical charges. With each passing day, week, and month, more and more of our overlapping followers were dropping me.
People I had jump-started by promoting them almost as hard as I once promoted @GottaLaff would pop-up out of nowhere, hurl some random insult at me, and block me. Many of these people had not just followed me but sought my advice about Twitter and the social dynamics of social media. Suddenly, they were all disappearing from my stream, based on nothing more than “I heard you were bullying and harassing @GottaLaff,” or any of a hundred variations on that theme.
Each time I would probe the source of these yarns, it always came back to the same small circle of @GottaLaff’s friends, who were posturing as if they were fighting for the honor of a life-long friend over someone who they saw as a “cyberbully.” (Ironic, since in many cases, they had met @GottaLaff through me in the first place).
Questions, allegations, insinuations and all manner of manipulations flew around Twitter, all designed to convince others on Twitter that I was some kind of abusive narcissist who lived to bully and harass women. As more and more Twitter cranks (or politically motivated sycophants of notables I’ve quarreled with like Jane Hamsher or Glenn Greenwald) got on board with this Shoq bashing meme, I was also called a GOP Operative, a felon, and a pedophile. You name it, they've said it. Not just now and then, and not just randomly. These things were tweeted at virtually anyone I would engage on Twitter, including, politicians, journalists, celebrities, pundits, or just a friend asking me about the weather.
The latest incarnation of these attacks are now focused on the Occupy Wall Street movement (#ows), where these attackers try to imply that I am some stealth George Soros (alternate: David Koch or @LeslieSanchez) operative sent to derail this global movement. Despite my continuous support for #OWS (after an initial skepticism in its first 10 days), my brokering financial support for the first official OWS website (by Alternet), and my assisting #OWS talents like @oakfosho, I am still attacked daily by all sorts of obsessive types who once again have back links to @GottaLaff. To be sure, not all of them have direct links, but most of the drama evolves from a daily climate of acrimony based on rumors of alleged bullying and harassment that has made it easier for spin-off antagonists who feed off the established culture of hate.
This society of social malignants now numbers in the dozens, and they Tweet to almost everyone I engage, and many of my followers. They try to drive them away from the big bad Shoq using whatever preposterous assertion pops into their mind at that minute. Most got their start from by reading, retweeting, and mimicking the same troupe of usual suspects; the bad actors who repeated the the same original statements, insinuations, and innuendo revolving around @Gottalaff, over and over again. All the original sin was generated and perpetuated by @GottaLaff and her inner circle. They carried her toxic waste water for years, and much of my time and my stream of innocent followers have been forced to drink it.
Sidebar: Many of the earlier tweets by these actiors, over two years, have been deleted from Twitter (sometimes within minutes of being posted), but they exist in permanent archives and screen shots which may be organized and presented in the future.
Do you think I exaggerate this level of harassment? Here’s just ten tweets, excerpted (at random) from twitter archives illustrating what my stream endures from only a small handful of the usual suspects.
And those above are some the more family-friendly examples. It gets far worse. Here's just a seven day sample of what my stream looks like. And even this is a grossly reduced sample. If you include the tweets deleted, they number in the hundreds per day. Try and find anything to match this kind of systemic and orchestrated attack against any other name on Twitter.
There is no sustainable rationale for this vapid ugliness. No motive, pretext, or point. It’s just pure, unmitigated nastiness for its own sake. Or at least that is what it is if we are to assume that some of it is not politically motivated by people piggy-backing on the ongoing divisiveness. (And that’s a pretty big assumption, given the number of organizations and pundits on the right and the left who don’t much care for my political opinions.)
Because her blog has some visibility on Twitter, it hasn't been hard for @GottaLaff to befriend people from MSNBC, CurrentTV, Salon, FiredogLake, Truthout, and other media outlets. While I have my own friends at those outlets, they are also home to a few "pro left" personalities whom I criticize regularly. @GottaLaff has been adept at trying to leverage them where she can. For example, within 5 minutes of my now famous fight with Jane Hamsher, she and @GottaLaff each followed each other, and within a day, her followers were acting as a vast echo chamber, furiously retweeting Jane's attacks and silly misinformation about me (much of which was picked up from the same group of trolls in the first place). This sort of coincidence happened far too often to be mere coincidence.
It comes as no surprise to most that have an ongoing contempt for bloggers and pundits who exaggerate and distort facts to drive attention to themselves or their products, and away from the pragmatic efforts that we, in my opinion, should be making to save this nation from radical conservatism run amok. And my sometimes quixotic nature doesn’t always endear me to people with other agendas, and especially not to the followers and sycophants of popular hyperbole pushers like Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher. Their followers, many of whom can be pretty viscous attack dogs in their own right, are totally free to run loose in this space that others have already cultivated for attacking Shoq. So they fit right in. Of course, since the enemy of their enemy is their friend, the coincident rancor was unwelcomed by the @GottaLaff family and they can often be seen trading tips insults and information on how to go after me.
Sidebar: Glenn Greenwald once slyly suggested to Politico that I, or someone like me, might be orchestrating some organized effort to attack him for political purposes. This was utter nonsense, of course. If anyone attacks him at all (I only see people go after him as I do, which is always in response to some new post or meme he is pushing at the time), it doesn't rise to anywhere near this kind of relentless daily onslaught that I endure. But I'd never suggest he was behind it.
While certainly not all did, much of this harassment came about for just one reason: a deep hurt that @GottaLaff must once have felt over my wishing to part ways with her. Why? I can only guess. I don't know her life story. Perhaps no one had ever divorced themselves from her before, as I had. Perhaps her obvious need to become some kind of minor celebrity has always made her so opportunistic, that being seen as a victim. Maybe she was just nervous that I might tell my stream that I didn't like her. That was highly unlikely, as I almost never share personal grudges in public unless someone brings them out first. My proof of that? The very fact that this post is the first inkling that most of my stream has yet had about this subterranean blood feud that has been lurking beneath our combined twitter streams for two years.
I cannot know her inner motivations. All I know is that whatever they are, they caused her to fixate obsessively on me as some kind of demon that was out to destroy her career and her life, and she shared her fixation and paranoia with an inner circle who, together, whether intentionally or not, helped to create this climate of malicious acrimony and vulgar nastiness about me that continues to this day.
All I ever wanted, then and now, was for @GottaLaff to get over whatever her issue was, and just stop talking about me. After the Gulf Leak episode, I sent her what I thought was a thoughtful two page letter, explaining that I really had no beef with her, and I would appreciate it if she could just stop this endless campaign of rancor. She never responded. At other times, I have tried to quietly reach out through mutual friends to make similar appeals. The gist of the response was that she felt any form of backing down was surrender. She would lose some battle that was being waged only in her own mind, and by her own friends. She was NOT going to quit. So every olive branch I offered was returned — or broken in half.
And the result of her refusal to just drop it is why this wretched animus, so unappealing to everyone, and for which no solution seems possible, goes on, and on, and on.
The Usual Suspects Do Their Usual Duty To Keep It Going
The climate that @GottaLaff created today is one where attacks against me continue virtually every hour of every day on Twitter by a dedicated troupe of core harassers, and a constellation of others who revolve around them. They can generate hundreds of tweets an hour, feeding off each other in an animalistic frenzy that even I have rarely witnessed in my many years online. They alternate from merely mocking me, to tweeting false information or memes to my followers, often just trying to incite political enemies who are happy to use whatever acrimony the clique provides to fuel their own agendas.
Again, I want to point out that the Shoq bashing ecosystem as it exists today, is far larger than the original one spawned by the @GottaLaff originators, and it would be ludicrous to suggest that she herself drives it all, or even a majority of the sheer lunacy that we see today.
But it is many of her followers, particularly the core group of Purely Obsessive types discussed below (many of whom she still maintains close relations with despite their daily harassment of me) who act as her runners and bell ringers for whatever new rumors, ridicules, or smears they think can be spread.
Together, they use DMs, tweets and Chirpstories, to keep all the bashers primed and ready with whatever nastiness they think will trend, and @GottaLaff is often seen doing little on her own but throwing up high-fives, or throwing hugs and kisses at these scurrilous vermin. She doesn’t seem to notice that others see them as unrelenting abusers, spending almost all their time abusing one single Twitter user: me.
These Shoq Trolls, come in basically four categories (with a lot of overlap between them). Many are probably alternate “sock puppets” accounts of the others.
Pot stirrers – These are some of @GottaLaff’s inner circle (past or present), who would directly or indirectly contact me or carry water for her planted memes or messages to others via tweets, comments, etc. This group was most active in the 1st year, but helped spread a lot of noise, which created the second group. There are actually far more in this group than I will list. Too many of them are cross-overs who are well liked by many in my stream, and I don’t want to create conflicts for them.
Purely Obsessives – These are mostly loyal @GottaLaff supporters, or people who just claim to be so that they can use the supposed “abuse of her” as a pretext for their own malicious nonsense. They were carriers of formative gossip, but never lost that love of bashing Shoq and continue for reasons known only to their inner voices. This is the group that is most vicious, and tweets into the stream of my closest friends or professional associates with whatever nasty disparagement comes into their heads. They closely overlap the “Too Whacked To Classify” category (and vice-versa). All seem to be suffering from some kind of OCD pathology, and can (and often do) tweet about me all day.
Political Pretexters – A mixture of different types, ranging from right-wing crazies, to far-left noisemakers, armchair radicals, Obama haters, Bradley Manning saviors, or the loyal toe-suckers of the stylish pro-left, or its empathizing cultures like FireDogLake. Regardless of type, these trolls like to posture as if they represent some higher liberal ideals, and need to convince people that my pragmatic views are opposing Occupy Wall Street, liberal values, and the hope and prayers of the whole Unicorn race. One day they will claim my marching orders come from the White House, Van Jones, George Soros, or the FBI, and the next day, from the Tea Party, the Koch corporate bunker, or CNN commentator @LeslieSanchez. Whatever nonsense they feel will stick, they’ll try it. It’s not a very coherent group, but it’s very persistent and will tweet anyone in my stream that gets in their way.
Too Whacked To Classify – This group has elements of all the others. They include people like @ratboylives (widely reputed to also be @2Deforcer), who is a famous internet troll known as "Daniel Spengies," who has obsessed about any online personality he can hang his need for attention on. A Google or YouTube search for him is almost frightening. Here's one example that is so NOT SAFE FOR WORK. He’s also one whose real identity is well known to us, but just as I have not shared @GottaLaff's identity, I won't share his either. This group is particularly vulgar, and often outright menacing to other members of my stream.
Shoq Socks – These are probably all sock puppets or echo-bots operated by a few of the Trolls found in the other categories above. While they hide behind the pretext of being “parody accounts,” they are simply there to follow my followers, hoping to be auto-followed, whereupon they can act as an echo-repeater channel for whatever noise and defamation is coming from the other cliques described above.
|Pot Stirrers||Purely Obsessives||Political Pretexters||Too Whacked To Classify||Shoq Socks|
– aka @JKFfan
@axiarch (David M. House)
Evidence Of Whisper Campaigns Is Never Easy To Show
As I’ve indicated, @GottaLaff is quite good at planting seeds, and letting others raise the harvest of allegation and abuse about me. She rarely discusses me in public, so evidence is not easy to find. But far more of it exists than she – or anyone – can ever produce about me. But that doesn’t mean there is no evidence to show. In fact, there is quite a bit. Enough to convince reasonable people that there was obviously a pattern of discussion, allegation, insinuation, and general efforts to suggest I was engaged in some kind of harassment of @Gottalaff, as well as contrary evidence from at least one of her “friends” (@james_x_) that I was not.
I have placed some of this evidence in the EXHIBITS SECTION below, where I have included artifacts that support what I’ve told you has been going on all this time. I doubt anyone shown, listed or implicated in any of them would deny the evidence in court, under oath. None of this is by any means all of the evidence. It is just that which my attorney feels can be shared at this time.
Have I Been Pure Through All Of This?
Nope. And few people even embroiled in these dramas ever are. Especially in the first few months of her campaign against me, I had a pretty short fuse. I was just amazed and irritated that simply breaking off a friendship with this woman would bring forth this gossip, earth scorching, subterfuge, and harassment from her and/or her supporters. I would hear about some new rumor, and endure some kind of daily mocking or insult from her pernicious friends like @james_x_ or @nadiaArt2, and take gentle passive aggressive pokes in my stream about “obsequious bloggers chasing celebrities.” I rarely if ever mentioned her by name. But she’d often respond as if I had, in that amusing way that people who feel guilty or talked about often will. For the most part, I avoided her, completely.
Also in those early days of this drama, I would criticize some sloppy or mistaken blog post, such as one that totally missed the point of a story involving my good friend @StopBeck, or another where she had resurrected a “leaking sea floor” hoax that she picked up from a famous SEO link pimp during the BP oil crisis in the Gulf of Mexico. I’d spent 5 days debunking that story, and here she was, oblivious to material facts (she is not known for a lot of methodical research before re-blogging), impulsively link-baiting it back to life in order to generate a little more web traffic for her blog. Her publicly voiced justification was the same one she always uses when she makes an error: “I didn’t say it first, I just repeated what someone else wrote.” As if that made it all ok.
Her experiments in "journalism" have occasionally been discussed, such as when a reporter in Miami contacted me and told me that @GottaLaff's amateurishly sloppy accounts of Marc Rubio's credit card scandal might actually be hurting the efforts of real journalists trying to uncover the real meat in that story. Her constant tweeting about Rubio was, they told me, probably making sources decide they didn't want to talk about it any longer, as everything seemed to be going out via Twitter. I shared this with some Democratic political operative friend of hers who contacted me, probing for information about what I knew about her and this, and I was so disgusted by what I was hearing from her, that I was probably a bit less than generous in my remarks. I think I even called her "reckless." I am fairly certain this is also being alluded to in the Dirty Hippies caper, but can't prove it.
But no matter what she blogged, or how I responded, @GottaLaff bills herself as a blogger, and I criticize bloggers every day (as they do me).
These things are NOT personal attacks and I will never apologize for them. If a blogger can’t take criticism, or their work and professional reputation being discussed, then they should not blog. It’s as simple as that.
There is but one minor incident I will admit to as evidence that I am human and a year of pettiness will weaken me. When Keith Olbermann had been “fired,” @GottaLaff, always eager to milk someone else's story, launched into a fairly ridiculous tweet-spectacle where she tried to sweet-talk MSNBC’s Phil Griffin’s secretary with some world-class pandering in public. I had been deeply annoyed and frustrated, having just that day been told yet again that she was telling yet a another story about how I was threatening her career because I had coincidentally posted a few links that she had also posted. Since my links did not point to her site, she concluded that I must be conspiring to deny her some web traffic. Feeling not particularly generous toward her, I acted out a bit, mocking a few of her tweets about the MSNBC thing. It was gratuitous on my part, and I apologize for it.
Having said that, mocking people on Twitter is an activity in which millions participate every day — and, yes, even by me; and probably at times, by you or someone you love. Isolated instances of it cannot be characterized by any rational adult as cyber-bullying, stalking, defamation, or any other form of harassment. And a few minutes of mocking is in no way comparable to the relentless daily abuse that I've endured which I describe in this post. It has been witnessed by thousands of people on Twitter for months and even years.
To Sum Up And Conclude This Drama
So there we are. @GottaLaff and I were casual friends who met on Twitter. I helped her. We had a falling out. We may have both said a few unkind things about each other when that falling out first occurred. That happens when friends fall out. It probably has happened to you or someone you know. But this simple falling-out, for whatever reason, was characterized by her to friends as something very different. And I would occasionally rebut or react to this, sometimes acting out in frustration with a harsh criticism or two about a blog post or comment. But that’s a far cry from stalking, harassment, bullying, or “trying to ruin someone’s career.” And yet those are the yarns heard by untold numbers of celebrities, journalists, and advocates, either from her, or from the endless parade of friends, trolls and assorted snerts who spend their days badgering me on Twitter, inserting themselves in my stream, calling me an “abuser of women, a pedophile, a GOP operative,” etc. It is a 24/7 assault on my friends and my reputation.
My only crimes against @GottaLaff been first and foremost, to not like her, and to occasionally discuss her privately, one-on-one with friends (or those whom I thought were friends), as I do in the email with Nicole Sandler. Such discussions almost always revolved around explaining or denying allegations originating from her, and passed around by her friends and followers on Twitter on a regular basis. I don’t blame her for each and every insanely stupid thing these people have said or done. I do blame her for creating the cultural climate in which they have said or done it.
As I said above, the silver lining in all this is that I am actually relieved that I don’t have to conceal this fetid feud any longer. Not only does it let others watch and report on any new outbreaks of gossip or rumor, but it also frees me to finally treat @GottaLaff like I would any other public blogger. If her work is good, I will say so. If it stinks, I will say that too. If she says something worthy of ridicule, I will no longer treat her any differently than any other blogger: I will praise or mock her as she deserves. If her skin is too thin for the same criticism that other bloggers and journalists expect from me, and others each day, then blogging is just not the right hobby for her.
Since there was never really any larger issue to resolve, the simplest way for all of this to come to an end (now that it is all out in the open) is to make a public appeal to @GottaLaff to do her best to end this nonsense once and for all. Just cease and desist from discussing me or any of the past acrimony between us, and ask your friends and followers to do that same. I will gladly return the favor. People don’t have to like one another on social networks, or anywhere else. Dislike should never be used as a pretext to harass, defame, or otherwise abuse people. I won’t ask you to admit responsibility, nor accept blame for anything.
As for Nicole Sandler, I have asked her to publicly tweet that the published email letter she received contained a sentence that did not appear in the original email. She has not yet replied. I ask her again publicly to correct this for the record. If she does not, I will have to consider her refusal to tell the truth as tacit complicity with this published act of defamation against me, and may choose to seek whatever remedies are available to me as a result. I think I am asking a pretty small thing to avoid that unpleasantness. Just be honest about what you know, Ms. Sandler. I will even give you sample words to use:
“@Shoq is correct. An email published on a smear site includes a line that was never in the original email I received.”
That’s it. That’s all I ask. Do the right thing.
To Everyone Else Still Reading… Just Two Things:
1) Please don't enable bad behavior
When you just look the other way when you see friends jumping on some dog-pile about me or anyone else, you may be implicitly enabling their behavior if you don’t call them out immediately, and forcefully.
You don’t have to break up friendships over it. You can just tell them such tweets or comments have no place in civil social media society, or whatever words you might be comfortable with. You will be amazed how fast most decent people who don’t like being judged in public will modify their behavior. Try it. It works. Similarly, when friends speak to you privately about this matter, and appear to take @GottaLaff's side, ask them what evidence they have that anything they are saying is true. If they say "Well, I trust her," tell them that is not enough when someone's reputation is being trashed. You need evidence — credible evidence of some specific wrongdoing, or at least a pattern of suspicious activity. If they have none, just say something like:
"What you offer is unsupported hearsay or gossip, and I won't indulge more of it. If you don't like Shoq, just unfollow or block him, but this kind of whisper campaign is indecent."
2) If you have evidence, bring it.
This matter may be far from over. I have made an appeal to @GottaLaff and Sandler to end all this, and I am hopeful they will comply. But past history of my attempts to resolve this issue have been rebuffed before. (And as I write this, they are already setting the stage for a new line of attack in my Twitter stream.) So if you know of any other smears, allegations, rumor, or other evidence of anyone trying to defame or libel me, please contact me about it. Because of what this ecosystem of harassment has done, this entire matter may soon find its way to some form of legal proceeding, if for no other reason than to demonstrate to others how this sort of harassment can be combated.
Everything anyone has ever discussed with @GottaLaff, @NicoleSandler, or their other close followers and friends, discussed in this post, be it as tweets, DMs, or emails, are all potentially discoverable if this issue winds up in some form of litigation. It doesn’t matter if you think you deleted them. They are all in Twitter’s archives, along with IP addresses, account names, email headers, packet paths, and other revealing information.
I have no wish to harm anyone caught up in this unknowingly. I know that many innocents have been lured into believing much of this nonsense and participated in it unwittingly. It will be easier to exclude them, or you, from this evolving unpleasantness if they come forward with what they know about any of the actors in this theater of the absurd.
Not The End
But we can hope it leads to it.
Once more for the record. I have had not the slightest interest in "harassing" @GottaLaff at any time. Since I don't believe she has any political opinions of her own, I don't find her worthy of my Twitter focus in the same way other members of the media are. I haven't read her blog in over a year and a half, and have no plans to do so in the future. I simply wish she would move on and stop encouraging her friends to engage in these relentless attacks on me. It's probably too late to stop them entirely. Some seem (to me) to be mentally disturbed people. But at least she can try to avoid the appearance of encouraging or supporting them.
If you're one of my former friends, and feel that maybe you were sucked into this drama, and I am mad at you? I am not. Just say "Shoq, DM" and I will follow you, and we can talk. Unlike some, I don't hold grudges for very long.
But for some exhibits below, this concludes this episode of As The Twitter Turns. I now return control of your web browser to you. Please don’t break anything.
Exhibits Of GottaLaff's Ongoing Whisper Campaign
- EXHIBIT A: A FaceBook chat that is quite damning, in that, despite her many denials to friends, she brings me up whenever she feels she’s in a private enough setting that her tactics won’t be revealed. Remember, all it takes is a very subtle “watch out for that one” remark to set off another generation of gossips who carry the smear to yet another new community. Again, this is just how whisper campaigns always work. You put out just enough to let their imaginations, and their own personal dislikes or biases do the rest.
EXHIBIT B: This Direct Message with @james_X_ (whose stability seems questionable to me) is still more evidence. He contacted me claiming he wanted to “bury the hatchet.” I didn’t believe him, but I used the exchange as a pretext to mention various aspects of the @GottaLaff saga to see how he would respond. I kept him talking in this exchange, as in his rants, he was surfacing and illustrating some of the first hard evidence of her whisper campaign.
- I sent this exchange to friends, including Nicole Sandler, just as a way to validate many of the things I had said were going on. Nicole was the only one to slough it off, calling it “petty silliness.” No one else saw it that way, and my women friends tell me I should have expected the sisterhood unity thing. Whatever.
- EXHIBIT C: Last Winter, I received Some Threatening Letters, as I indicated earlier, this was the second time someone has threatened that they would publish emails, chats, and voice messages of mine. The first was last May, and I blogged it as it was happening. You will notice a number of similarities in the language, threats, and ravings of “Louise Thurber” in those missives, that you see in the “ShoqvalueExposed.wordpress.com.” Especially the – “we girls and have girl power to fight you bullies” meme, which sounds particularly contrived (and meant to deflect). You will also see where I intimate the broad strokes of the “Sandler Letter” and the @GottaLaff drama, but never really go into much detail. I’ve already explained why I didn’t go nuclear in my response then, writing a response much like this post I am writing now. I simply wanted the whole sordid nonsense to end, and figured what I did say might be enough to shut them up. But I surely mentioned enough of the saga, so I that reasonable people, thinking critically, would be able to conclude that I wasn’t just pulling the story from my arse later on if I did need to tell the whole story, as I have now done.
- EXHIBIT D: Excerpt of The Dirty-Hippies Email List, on which the email exchange with Sandler was predicated, and which I feel aptly documents just the kind of stealthy “seeding” that @GottaLaff had routinely been doing for a long time (and which has been recounted to me many times, from many sources). Since this was almost a year and a half into this feud, I assume there have been many more like it. I am hoping that some of the other people mentioned in this list have the courage to step forward and admit they saw all this in real time, having no idea of just how much backstory was behind it all. I welcome their information. Should this ever become evidence in court, all of their names would come out anyway in the unabridged version.They know who they are. I don’t blame any of them for Nicole and @GottaLaff using them as a vehicle to smear me to dozens of parties who didn’t even know me, and had only their comments for reference. As for the person threatening to encourage the group to “take a whack me at me,” that is still under investigation. If she wants to step forward and tell me her story for the record now, it might keep her from being embroiled in this as it goes forward.
Updates And Responses
- Search – The noise of the Shoq Trolls continues since this post appeared on 12/16/2011: Some of the core group are responding in multiple directions. Note all the expected posturing, deflection, and general noise-making as people scramble for position in a changing game. Naturally, they will all try to bury smoke with more smoke. A losing proposition. The amount of effort they put into their responses tells the larger story than anything they say, most of which will change over the coming days. I'll be posting archives of them as we progress.
Response Update #1 – 12 /16/2011
- 10:50pm – Nicole Sandler – is posturing that she "deleted the email," and "can't remember" whether an obvious threat of intimidation was in
- the letter." Oh, and she also seems to have deleted it. Fine. A complete copy of the original is below, with headers, and there are many other copies with people who have far more credibility at this point. And he email vendor's database will still have them all, and all are easily discoverable. If she wants to appear this complicit, essentially supporting an obvious libel, when I so easily let her off the hook, fine. I figured she'd be wanting to avoid further proceedings by just saying something like, "That line was a clear forgery. Other than that, I am not interested in this issue." I suppose in hindsight, and seeing her other attacks today, I was being an optimist about the scale of her involvement.
- 10:50pm – Two @GottaLaff friends have DMed me, telling me how "shocked" and "stunned" @GottaLaff was to be mentioned in this post. They both said "perhaps I was naive, but I believed her." I explained that she's from Hollywood and acting is in the DNA there. The simple fact is, many of her friends have known of, and discussed this with her many times, and some of the more ethical ones may even come forward and admit it. In time, enough people will talk to each other and each realize they have all got different versions of the story. At the very least, they will learn she was not "stunned." <smirk>
- 11:43 pm – I changed the Facebook page image to just the chat discussion itself, because I had inadvertently included some uninvolved Facebook user names in the background.
1) The yellow highlighting was added to the original email by my friend @karoli. I sent copies of the letter to her, @vdaze, @thereidreport, and a few other “witnesses” to this exchange, figuring it might one day have to come out.