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Mob Injustice

For discussion of religion and politics

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Anonymous Bosch
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Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 6:09 pm
Location: Northern California [originally from the UK]

Mob Injustice

Post by Anonymous Bosch »

Santa Monica woman: Misleading viral video threw me to a Twitter mob
USAToday.com wrote:Perhaps you saw my 17 seconds of infamy: A viral video of a young woman briefly holding a power drill before a boarded-up storefront, having her picture taken, then quickly leaving in a car.

The short video gave the false impression I was posing for an Instagram photo whose phony purpose was to advertise my virtue as a volunteer worker in post-riot Santa Monica, California.

On Twitter, the video has received tens of millions of views. Both LeBron James and Pink retweeted it, and denunciations of my behavior poured in.

My social media accounts were inundated with hate. I lost an internship. I received more death threats than I can count.

And it all happened because nobody knew what transpired in the hours leading up to those 17 seconds — and millions of people were ready and even eager to assume the worst.

Here’s the part you didn't see in the video.

What I was actually doing
On the night of Saturday, May 30, riots swallowed up Los Angeles in protest of the death of George Floyd. The city where I live, Santa Monica, which is normally a laid-back California beach town, turned into what resembled a war zone overnight.

From smashed storefronts to helicopters circling the city, I watched in shock and horror. From my window, I smelled the burning rubber from car fires. That weekend, police in Santa Monica arrested more than 400 people for assault, burglary, and other crimes.

On Monday, June 1, I felt the need to do something. I wasn’t sure exactly what, but I thought I might visit the destruction and document what I saw. I had already begun to take short videos of the chaos. I’m a young journalist, and this reaction came naturally to me.

I also wanted to chronicle the aftermath, capturing the efforts of the cleanup crews and construction workers who were starting to rebuild. To me, they are the unsung heroes.

So I headed to downtown Santa Monica. I recorded videos of the devastation as well as workers fixing storefronts. We stopped by Patagonia and Road Runner Sports on 4th Street. “These are the real heroes today — thank you guys,” I said aloud as I filmed. I also got footage of Chick-fil-A staff handing out sandwiches to workers.

I was struck by the sight of businesses boarded up. I asked my father to pull over and went to speak to a construction worker putting up plywood. I thanked him for his effort. As we discussed the cleanup, he handed me the drill in a joking and friendly manner.

I went with it, and in the spur of the moment, a photo was snapped. There was absolutely no malicious intent, no big master plan. The accusation it was some sort of so-called “influencer” photo op or attempt to appear like I was cleaning up is completely false.

But that’s when the notorious video begins.

I noticed two activists who had been watching and filming me nearby. They heckled me, called out “Black Lives Matter” and “boyfriends of Instagram.”

I felt threatened, quickly thanked the worker for his efforts, and left. The thought of publishing that photo never crossed my mind.

A malicious social media mob
It would have been difficult to identify me or my father from the video. We’re not celebrities. I wore a face mask because of the coronavirus. What I didn’t realize at the time was that the video concluded by zooming in on our car’s license plate — an open invitation to the doxing that soon descended upon me.

Doxing is the researching and publication of private personal information about an individual for the purpose of harassment. The social media mob posted my name, home address, phone number, and more.

Within hours, my social media accounts were bombarded. Threats engulfed my feeds, telling me to kill myself or that I would be killed. Harassers said they knew where I lived and they were coming to get me.

As it happened, this was supposed to be the first day of my summer internship at the Washington Examiner — an internship that had started virtually, due to the COVID-19 restrictions. As the doxing mob connected me to the Examiner, "#FireFiona" began to trend. The Examiner’s social media platforms were overrun with spite and slander directed at me.

Next came the “journalism.” News accounts of the video, based on nothing but viewing 17 seconds of a young woman’s life, were riddled with errors.

My father was described as my “boyfriend.” A report claimed I said, “Good job guys, BLM” on the video. I didn’t, it was one of the hecklers behind the camera.

Several outlets ran with the false narrative I took and posted the picture for Instagram clout or that I was faking activism. Both wrong — and clearly libelous — because no photo was ever posted. Some reports claimed I deleted my social media accounts. It was the other way around, they shut me down as attempts to report and hack me piled up.

Worst of all was the sensational claim that the Examiner had fired me. This was completely false, as the Examiner’s own statement made clear. In reality, The College Fix, the sponsor of my internship, had canceled it. This nonprofit newsgroup, which helps young people begin careers in the media, didn’t really have a choice. It had become impossible for me to have a successful experience at the Examiner due to the social media mob, which continues to barrage not only myself but the publication as well.

It has been three weeks since the incident, but the harassment has not stopped. I’m still receiving threats by text, phone, and direct message. And hateful YouTube videos targeted me for being a conservative journalist.

In addition, fake accounts impersonating me and spewing hate speech have popped up online. I've reported these accounts as violating the online community guidelines but they haven't been taken down. This will further damage my reputation and put me at risk.

All I wanted to do was record and recognize the work and back-breaking labor of individuals many take for granted who helped restore Los Angeles. But I stepped unwittingly into an online cesspool of sanctimony, false narratives, and clickbait. Becoming the target of “cancel culture” is the new norm, and the mob doesn’t care whom it destroys in the process.

But they won’t destroy me. I won’t let them.

Fiona Moriarty-McLaughlin graduated cum laude from the University of California, Santa Barbara in June 2020.
"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." -- Daniel Webster

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LawBeefaroni
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Re: Mob Injustice

Post by LawBeefaroni »

People get off on it. As long as they can be relatively anonymous and can attack with a few keystrokes, I don't see how it will stop.

Heck, I bought the story, although I didn't see the big deal with an [alleged] influencer [allegedly] faking a photo op. That's what they do, right? The problem is with anyone who gobbles up influencer bullshit.
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Anonymous Bosch
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Re: Mob Injustice

Post by Anonymous Bosch »

LawBeefaroni wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:30 am
The problem is with anyone who gobbles up influencer bullshit.
...especially the "journalists" that ought to know better after the false demonization of the Covington high school students at the Lincoln Memorial.
"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." -- Daniel Webster

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gameoverman
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Re: Mob Injustice

Post by gameoverman »

She admits that she did do a fake pose and a photo was taken. I would expect an up and coming journalist to know you can't be part of the story. It implies she was treating the entire thing as a joke. How does 'thank you for your hard work' turn in to the guy handing you the drill AND you accept it AND you pose for a picture with it? Considering the virus going around, it seems ill advised.

The people who did this to her are still scumbags, but holy crap did she step into that one.

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Combustible Lemur
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Re: Mob Injustice

Post by Combustible Lemur »

gameoverman wrote:She admits that she did do a fake pose and a photo was taken. I would expect an up and coming journalist to know you can't be part of the story. It implies she was treating the entire thing as a joke. How does 'thank you for your hard work' turn in to the guy handing you the drill AND you accept it AND you pose for a picture with it? Considering the virus going around, it seems ill advised.

The people who did this to her are still scumbags, but holy crap did she step into that one.
That's silly. Don't victim shame. Assuming she's telling the truth. She took a picture with a subject at the end of a hectic day. None of what followed was reasonably foreseen. It is now, but shouldn't be.

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Unagi
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Re: Mob Injustice

Post by Unagi »

gameoverman wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:05 pm
She admits that she did do a fake pose and a photo was taken. I would expect an up and coming journalist to know you can't be part of the story. It implies she was treating the entire thing as a joke. How does 'thank you for your hard work' turn in to the guy handing you the drill AND you accept it AND you pose for a picture with it? Considering the virus going around, it seems ill advised.

The people who did this to her are still scumbags, but holy crap did she step into that one.
Uh, I missed what she did was bad?? A picture with a guy she briefly connected with? I'm not sure it's safe the assume that anyone understands exactly what she stepped into, other than just horrible people.

(assuming she's telling the truth)

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