But the breakdown of OpAntiBully reflected the complicated nature of Ash’s motives for creating it, and Katherine’s too. They thirsted for community, for acceptance. But when the relationships within the group started to fray, there was no protocol for managing the bad feeling — no filter between the work and the personal disputes.
Why set down the weapon of Anonymous if you believe you can master it?
Ash got into a fight on Twitter with a 29-year-old British feminist, Caroline Criado-Perez, who had started a campaign that helped persuade the Bank of England to put Jane Austen on the £10 note. After she became the target of a stream of online threats, Criado-Perez went to the police, who arrested and charged two people. At one point, she threatened to report a friend of Ash’s who tweeted that she “could do with getting layed.” In response, Ash joined the Twitter attack on her and used a harsh misogynist epithet. To Ash, Criado-Perez wasn’t a woman who was being bullied for her views; she was a publicity hound baiting men to go after her and who “enjoyed being in the role of victim.” He refused to give her credit for trying to control her own narrative, and he didn’t see how berating her might be at odds with his stated desire to help victimized girls. “I don’t care about her feelings,” he said. “It doesn’t reflect my morals regarding what I do with children.”
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