Uncle Benjie, are you are Uncle Anthony married?’ An innocent question asked by my nearly four-year-old niece Isabelle that was the unusual and unexpected precursor to users attacking me for being gay, and for being Jewish.
Isabelle asked the question because she’s a bridesmaid at both weddings of two of her aunties later this year. She was wondering whether she will be a bridesmaid for me and my boyfriend one day. She’d previously asked us how we can have children, but she didn’t understand my joke, it’s not happened yet, not for the want of trying.
and also her gay grandmas’ (my brotherin-law’s mum is a lesbian), we bought a beautiful children’s book, King and King, which tells the story of a prince who falls in love with another prince, rather than a princess. When they marry, they become known as King and King. After my sister and I read it to Isabelle and her nearly two-year
Initially the reaction was positive, but 24 hours later, my digital life descended into hell. I was a pervert or a paedophile for daring to read the book to my nieces. Some accused me of sexually abusing them, while many others simply used the sort of anti-Semitic language was despite the fact that there was nothing remotely Jewish about my tweet, other than the fact that all the people in the photograph are Jewish and I have a very Jewish name.
negative reactions I received on its platform, directly to my phone.
telling me they would prefer for all Jews to be gay, because it would ‘save on the gas bill later’. Others told me that I should ‘pop into the oven’, while some more blatantly told me that I should be dead. Some viciously attacked my nieces, labelling them ‘kikes’ – an anti-Semitic slur.
One person found a photograph of me taken in Berlin’s Jewish museum and Photoshopped in the yellow star that the Nazis put on Jews in the ghettos before sending them to that soon it will be a real star, before I am killed. I suppose I should be grateful that they didn’t also add the pink triangle that the Nazis I seemed to be the epitome of evil for being both gay and Jewish – something that I feel twice blessed to have been born.
are based in the US. Some British trolls even accused me of, in a sense, fabricating the situation in order – they claimed – to undermine the Labour Party, currently under scrutiny for anti-Semitism.
Another horrible, bitter gay Brit said if my boyfriend paid me more attention then I wouldn’t have needed to post the photograph
inappropriate posts, and has agreed with the EU to investigate them within 24 hours, but realistically people can’t possibly individually report hundreds of messages each day. I’ve had over 1,000 now, so it would take an age. threatening tweets, told me that reporting
A causal look at any of the people who have attacked me makes it clear that all the accounts do is spread hatred, whether that is homophobia, anti-Semitism, or other allowed a situation to occur where so much hate is on its system.
developers. It’s not outside of the realms of intelligence) bot to seek out those who spread real distress to the victims. If it doesn’t, the future of the platform is at risk.
BENJAMIN COHEN What’s in a tweet?