In my last podcast episode, I suggested that we would be taking a break from the show until the new year. But, earlier last month, the Supreme Court began hearing a case with massive implications for those of us who operate online: SCOTUS is considering Elonis v. United States, which might fundamentally redefine what we consider to be threats when delivered in the online medium.
Rape and death threats are an increasingly problematic concern for online writers, particularly those of us who are women of colour. Twitter activist Suey Park famously drew attention to the deluge of heinous rape and death threats — many of them racist as well as misogynistic in nature — sent to her in the wake of the #CancelColbert campaign. A number of female video game developers and critics, such as Brianna Wu and Anita Sarkeesian, were also targeted by rape and death threats by supporters of #GamerGate that they were forced to flee their homes or cancel speaking engagements.
Last year, Nancy Leong (@nancyleong, NancyLeong.com) wrote my favourite series on the problem of online harassment for feminist writers in the online world; the four posts are aggregated in the first paragraph of this post on Feminist Law Professors.
Tomorrow, I have asked Nancy — who is a constitutional law professor when she’s not filing the internet with incredibly insightful writing — to join me for Episode 12 of Reappropriate: The Podcast which will tackle the topic of online harassment vs. free speech. We will talk about the Elonis Supreme Court case, and also about dealing with online harassment as a feminist writer of colour.