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Thunderf00t rebuts charges he commands a hate mob by unleashing a hate mob on a woman who made this charge

Thunderf00t: Pleased with himself
Thunderf00t: Quite pleased with himself

Phil Mason, better known online as Thunderf00t, is a scientific researcher and YouTube bloviater who’s turned his hate-crush on video game critic Anita Sarkeesian into a surprisingly lucrative part-time job; his seemingly unending stream of YouTube videos attacking Sarkeesian, many of which have drawn hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, have without a doubt contributed mightily to the harassment directed against her by the online mob known as #Gamergate.

Now Mason is trying to defend himself against charges that he has become the de facto leader of a vast hate mob that harasses Sarkeesian and other women … by encouraging his followers to harass a woman who charged him with exactly this.

And a good number of Mason’s 400,000 YouTube followers have taken him up on this challenge, flooding the Yelp page of the business the woman runs with her husband with fraudulent one-star reviews and besieging her and her family business with angry and harassing phone calls (at least one of which the perpetrator has put online).

The story of this particular debacle began this past January when the YouTuber who calls herself Laughing Witch sent a letter to Mason’s employer, accusing the YouTuber of harassing Sarkeesian and other women and repeatedly suggesting that he and his followers were a bunch of Nazis. Her email was part of a letter-writing campaign by a number of feminist Youtubers who hoped their letters would get Mason fired from his research job.

Mason, who apparently faced no repercussions from the letter-writing campaign, decided last week to retaliate against Laughing Witch — real name Jennifer Keller. He posted a video about Keller’s letter, following up with a second video posting her name as well as screenshots from the web page of Porcelain Tub Restoration, the company she runs with her husband.

While Tunderf00t didn’t explicitly command his army to harass Keller and her husband, he suggested to his supporters that they post their thoughts about her on the business’s Yelp page — and they did, cratering the company’s rating with literally hundreds of fake one-star reviews.

Yelp has been removing the most obviously fake ones, as well as those referencing her letter about Thunderf00t, but many remain up as “not recommended” (in other words, questionable) reviews, including a number of clearly trollish ones accusing Keller of being a Nazi.

1.0 star rating 10/22/2015 When they came to remodel, i noticed their dismay i had a menorah, i ignored it and told them where my bathroom was. At first i thought it was my paranoia, but then...they starting putting the tiles in such a manner that swastikas were drawn in between the tiles. Then they dropped a very expensive soap and it broke, when i reacted, a short haired woman said: 'What? Is that you granma?' When they finished the work in the bathroom i was less than pleased, i wanted them to leave my house. They proceded to where my menorah was (I should mention i'm not jewish, it seemed practical for a quake or something) and the short haired elderly woman broke it and groped me, saying 'I haven't eaten kosher for a while'. At this point i told them to leave, and the woman exposed herself to me while yelling verses of mein kampf, saying Hitler had a point, but he should have killed all men as well, she refered to Hitler as the feminist who never was, a lonely tear drop running down her face. They left, well, she defecated on my garden and then they left. It would have been fine but the tiles were a bit bent, so 1 star.
Click for larger version.

These negative reviews, as ludicrous as many of them are, have apparently hit the business hard. Keller and her husband have set up a FundAnything page in an attempt, they say, to make payroll in the wake of the attacks on their and their company’s reputation online. On the FundAnything page Keller’s husband, Paul Burns, writes:

We are getting slanderous lies about our services and people posting deplorable images on review sites, as well desecrating our star ratings and customers calling. No one clicks to a service company with 1 star rating. 

According to Burns, the 26-year-old “family based service business with 14 employees” may be forced to close “because of a brutal mob attack on our social review sites.”

Mason’s response to this campaign being waged in his name? Another video, in which he declares that “Karma [is] ONLY A BITCH, if you are one!”

Except that this isn’t “karma,” a supernatural force that Mason, a self-avowed “skeptic,’ presumably doesn’t believe in anyway.

This is an organized harassment campaign, instigated and encouraged by Mason himself.

While I’ve enjoyed Laughing Witch’s videos in the past, I think the letter writing campaign was wrong. Writing employers is a low blow. And despite Mason’s many flaws as a thinker and a human being, he’s no Nazi.

But the wave of harassment he’s brought down on Keller — and which he has not made even the slightest attempt to rein in  — is indefensible.

And it’s getting worse by the day: 8chan’s Baphomet forum, a haven for malicious doxers and harassers, has now jumped aboard this harassment train, targeting not only Keller but her supporters as well. They’ve doxed one other YouTuber already, and are working on doxing others.

In a Baphomet thread, one anon happily reports that the attacks on Keller are causing her great distress:

Anonymous 10/21/15 (Wed) 20:11:27 No.98799>>99454 File (hide): 1445476287252.png (84.73 KB, 623x808, 623:808, 1.png) HOLY SHIT ATTENTION ATTENTION FELLOW BAPHIES!!! POSSIBLE SUICIDE MIGHT HAPPEN REPEAT SUICIDE MIGHT RESULT! Pic related but read this twitter thread for more context https://twitter.com/kflogan/status/656987823195693056 Apparently being triggered to near deadly levels, Kevin the cuck is apparently begging for Thundiecuck to delete his videos exposing laughing bitch. Thundercuck has finally been promoted to ThunderpossiblynotmuchofabitchthanIthought after saying he won't do it unless she does it first. She's having a nervous breakdown and her company may actually go down!

While Mason at first suggested that he would call off the attack if Keller apologized to him, he has since refused to accept her apology, and seems positively gleeful about the pain he’s caused her and her allies.

The internet has officially hit another new low.

I’ll post more on this as it develops.

NOTE: Thanks to Daily Kos blogger idlediletante (Margaret Pless), who provided me with a number of tips on this story. She’s written three posts on the subject so far:

Family Business Brigaded on Yelp by MRA YouTube Stars

Phil Mason is Working With Baphomet to Ruin DC Business

How it Feels to Be Targeted By An Internet Hate Mob: One Man’s Story

 

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katz
katz
4 years ago

Yeah, I definitely wouldn’t go that far.

(I hope I didn’t imply that that’s what you think, because I didn’t mean to.)

NickNameNick
NickNameNick
4 years ago

Ah, gotcha. I still appreciate the mention nonetheless.

John Pavlich (@johnpavlich)

I just saw this and thought it was eerily apt!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDDBCcz8i6A&w=560&h=315%5D

zarathustratheserpent
4 years ago

@John Pavlich It is!!!

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
4 years ago

@WWTH:

I hear you. More than any other genre (except maybe cyberpunk), horror seems to eat itself. A good film will revitalise it for a while, but many seem to spark entire subgenres of mere imitators rather than fostering creativity. It’s sad, even if horror is in a much better place than it used to be.

(As an aside, I’m surprised that we haven’t seen many clumsy, hamfisted attempts to recapture the magic of The Babadook yet. That movie was amazing on so many levels. It’s like this generation’s equivalent of Ring, but doesn’t appear to be as widely copied yet.)

katz
katz
4 years ago

Confession time: I haven’t seen the second half of The Babadook because I was too scared to keep watching.

NickNameNick
NickNameNick
4 years ago

@John Pavlich:

Steve Shives is pretty awesome all around.

John Pavlich (@johnpavlich)

@NickNameNick

Definitely. If he and Phil Mason were the only two Atheists to choose from on YouTube, you better believe I’m going with Steve Shives, in all instances.

occasional reader
occasional reader
4 years ago

Hello.

@John Pavlich
Well, sorry about that, it was a poor translation of an expression we have here. There sure is an english expression with the same meaning but i do not know it. If someone can teach it to me, it would be nice.

@NickNameNick & @katz
There is an expression here saying “Critic is easy, art is difficult”.
When a critic is done by someone who has knowledge about a discussed topic, we can suppose it is ok. And making the critic of a critic implies that the second criticaster as about the same knowledge as the one he critics. If not, at best, you just give your opinion, at worst, you mire yourself in phony “arguments” which are dulls and/or wrongs for someone with sufficent knowledge on the topic who reads/heards them.
The problem is that many readers not always have this knowledge and may think that some of the wrong (or at best, phony) arguments are rights, especially if thos arguments stick to your own opinion/conception about the topic. If you allow me to make a hardy analogy, think about soccer supporters : not all of them are actual soccer players (even as amateur), but if you hear them, they often “know best” than the commentators, and sometimes even “know best” than the players or the trainer. And by mass effect principle, some individual opinions vocalized with enough strength become an almost common (or at least accepted) opinion. Not because it is necessarily right and argumented, but because it is individually congruent/pleasant to have/believe it.
Obviously, it is quite impossible for someone to make her/his own opinion with full knowledge and comparison with various sources, it would be too long (a single well argumented critic can be the work of a life). But it may be well if this someone can at least have a minimum of critical mind (not sure that it is the same meaning in english and in my language, sorry) and not always take all what it is presented to him as The Indubitable Truth. Alas, i think it is often easier to be lazy minded, especially when the arguments please you. And YouTube (and many other media) allows and offers that : canned opinions. And that is why i always take critic informations in media with tweezers (sorry, word to word translation again).

Have a nice day.

John Pavlich (@johnpavlich)

@occasional reader
You mean about oil and fire? Yeah, I thought it was well said. I was saying I agreed with you. 🙂

Johanna Roberts
4 years ago

How nice of Thunderd00f to ignore a request for comment while mocking her. Makes him look SO classy.

KafkaNoMore
KafkaNoMore
4 years ago

I condem what LW has done (it was wrong on so many levels), but what Thunderf00t has done is nothing but cyber bullying (I don’t know if it is even legal). How anybody can employ him is beyond me.. He is draging people into it that have absolutely nothing to do with it, without any scruple! He has no morals and no empathy.

AIT
AIT
4 years ago

@Johanna Roberts

That Youtuber, Kevin Logan, is one of the names I believe they tried to falsify a review from. I don’t know if he ever lived in the US, but considering he’s listed as UK right now on his twitter, he would have had to have recently moved in order to actually have a legitimate complaint with that company. I don’t have a twitter account, or I would have told the guy myself.

Johanna Roberts
4 years ago

@AIT

ACK! We’re friends – of a sort – I’ll let him know. S creenie the review for me?

AIT
AIT
4 years ago

Working on that now, gimme two shakes.

AIT
AIT
4 years ago

Sorry for post spamming a bit, but I’m not sure how to attach a picture to my comment, at least one on my computer.

AIT
AIT
4 years ago

Ok, let’s see if this works.

*fingers crossed*

AIT
AIT
4 years ago

Sent! Now I need to leave for a doctor’s appt. Hopefully traffic isn’t too terrible. Thanks for passing the word on!

Frostbite883
Frostbite883
4 years ago

Frostbite883: Sadly, I am unable to watch the videos–it’s not a matter of time, as such, but circumstance. I’m most interested in the argument justifying the letter-campaign, with emphasis on the following:

1: Did the letters actually accuse him of Nazism or Holocaust denial? If so, what were the justifications for that? (His fumbled, bumbling comments in the Ray Comfort debate don’t really measure up, for the record–he was an idiot and inept and pretty much full of fail, but not saying Hitler was some sort of good guy.)

2: Were the letters sent to the police, or just his employer?

If you can bullet-point those two elements, I’d appreciate it greatly.

Sorry I’m late in replying, freemage. Anyways, 1). while L. Witch did call his TF’s fans as nazis, I’m not sure whether she called Mason a nazi or not. 2). His employer.

Lithp
Lithp
4 years ago

I can’t believe how many of his fans are going “well, what Thunderf00t did is okay because Laughing Witch is a bad person!”

The sad state of a “skeptic community” that finds itself relying almost exclusively on ad hominems to make their case.

Never mind that Thunderf00t explicitly claims to have the moral high ground, so even if this WAS reciprocal, he’d still be a hypocrite.

KafkaNoMore
KafkaNoMore
4 years ago

I don’t think that it should be legal to send a bunch of Internet trolls to destroy somebody’s ratings with fake reviews. What LW has done was bad and stupid but not illegal (As far as I’m aware).

We now that in a recent case Amazon sued 1000 fake reviewers. Which means that there is indeed law that prohibits it. What Tf00t has done is borderline illegal (What he has initiated his subscribers to do) and it was pure evil.

But Pontius Pilate will wash his hands and get away with everything.

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