A Word To My Critics:

To those accusing me of seeking to defend Blatchford, as intent to undermine Guthrie/Reilly, or as somehow  actively championing an odious twitter persona I’m on the record as having no sympathy for:

My intention in writing this piece (an incredibly shortened, edited version of my lengthy submission) was to promote an honest discussion about the case itself, because either ruling will only serve to further inflame the matter.

Because all parties involved (and their supporters) are so emotionally-invested in the outcome, it seems my submission has been taken as having some nefarious, ulterior motive.

After having read through the documents made public, I am genuinely concerned about the fallout should a verdict not favour the complainants.

A few things to note:

There were multiple inconsistencies during testimony, incomplete/one-sided Storifys of conversations/dialogue between Elliott and Guthrie/Reilly which misrepresented who initiated the exchange; a “shifting evidentiary foundation” due to the repeated locking/unlocking of the  – until then – fully accessible to the Court, public Twitter accounts of the complainants.

None of this diminishes the complainants’ perceived sense of fear, nor does it excuse Eliiott’s alleged behaviour. What It does, however, is serve to remind of the complexity of this case. Asking questions, discussing the case in its entirety, doesn’t equate disbelieving or blaming the victim.

To the contrary, should the judge rule in Elliott’s favour, it ensures the focus remains on the Crown’s potential shortcomings rather than the validity of the complainants’ experience.

One can believe the allegations, even support the complainants, while recognizing evidentiary weaknesses.

It should be noted the Crown offered no final verbal submission, nor was a written submission made publicly available.

Women already face undue suspicion when alleging intimidation, harassment, or sexual assault. And given the slim chances of a satisfactory legal outcome, when weighed against the emotional investment and inevitable fallout many decide it isn’t worth the trade-off, so violations go unreported.

I worry that an unwelcome verdict will make matters worse, and that’s why a thorough examination of the case, in my view, is crucial.

Given the blowback, in the future, when writing on contentious issues/situations, I’ll post to this blog so I can go on at length and ensure a thorough – and clear – reading on the matter.

UPDATE:

Just published: “Crown lawyer Marnie Goldenberg submitted her closing statement to the court in writing and declined media requests to release copies. She granted Metro permission to read the statement on Tuesday.”

“Mr. Elliot sent copious amounts of obsessive, harassing tweets where he tweeted ‘at’ the complainants, mentioned their handles, mentioned the hashtags created by Ms. Guthrie, sent subtweets at the complainants, monitored their feeds, etc. He did this knowing that they blocked him and that they did not want contact with him,” Goldenberg wrote.

Citing Guthrie’s testimony, Goldenberg took issue with the defence position that Guthrie and Reilly must not have been truly afraid of Elliott because they called him out — even taunted him — on Twitter.

“There is no perfect victim,” Guthrie said at trial. “And there’s no perfect way to respond to being stalked, and I am… You don’t always just hide away. Sometimes you fight back a little bit.”

“Why should the complainants not be allowed to speak out against their harasser and warn others?” Goldenberg wrote. “Why should the complainants be criticized for speaking with their friends about being harassed? … (They) should be allowed to do so without fear that the actions of the harasser will be minimized. Just because they speak out, does not mean that they are not fearful and the harasser’s actions are not aggravating and serious.”

“Respectfully, there is nothing wrong with Ms. Guthrie being proactive. She is a strong articulate woman who wanted to speak out for others. She cared about other women and ‘their right to be on the internet without having their boundaries crossed by a creep,’” Goldenberg continued.

————

My submission as it appeared in the National Post on July 22, 2015:

Regardless of the verdict in the Guthrie case, we’ve already lost

An emotionally-charged criminal harassment case whose outcome, according to National Post columnist Christie Blatchford, risks serious ramifications for freedom of speech online, dates back to 2012; that was the year when Stephanie Guthrie decided to punish Bendilin Spurr.

Spurr, a young man from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., created a disturbing video game entitled “Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian” in which players punch an image of the noted feminist in the face with bloody results. The game delighted a self-styled group of “Men’s Rights Activists” (MRAs) — online commentators on perpetual watch for what they perceive as feminist provocations.

If MRAs are the extreme end of an increasingly savage online culture war, Guthrie and her fellow co-complainant, Heather Reilly, are their natural enemies. Engaged and prominent online feminists, both have been subjected to threats and harassment by MRAs — especially after they targeted Spurr.

Some of the abuse levelled at her from these activists (although not from the defendant in this case) was profoundly horrific. So much so that, in May 2014, Blatchford wrote:

“There isn’t a female writer, in the world probably, who isn’t routinely inundated with this sort of misogynist hate mail … Social media has only made a cruel old world more so, for everyone, but the viciousness of the communications my female colleagues and I receive, particularly when we dare to take a contrarian view of something, is stunning. While I am inured to it, it enrages me that Ms. Guthrie, just 29 and such a bold spirit, should feel it too. I can’t tell you how sad this made me that this truly great young woman is being subjected to this stuff.”

Under attack from the MRAs, Guthrie fought back, suggesting a “doxing” campaign against Spurr — Internet slang for publishing his personal information — and contacted his potential employers to make them aware of his online behaviour. It was this step that would form the crux of the fight between Guthrie and Gregory Allen Elliott.

Elliott is regarded by many as a notorious Twitter “troll” – an online commenter who deliberately, often profanely, seeks to provoke a hostile reaction. Elliott strongly disagreed with Guthrie’s tactics, and said so, crassly, numerous times. Guthrie took steps to block Elliott from accessing her tweets, but he was able to largely circumvent them and continue engaging with her and her online compatriots. It is those online activities that constitute the alleged stalking and harassment. (Elliott has also been charged with breaking a peace bond in relation to his sustained tweeting.)

A verdict in this matter is expected in the fall. Blatchford has been covering the proceedings for the years that they have ground on. In her past writings, while never masking her exasperation for the behaviour of all parties involved, she seemed empathetic to Guthrie.

That was, until last week.

In a column that drew heated online criticism, Blatchford called Guthrie’s perceived vulnerability into question, doubting just how much Guthrie felt she was at risk. Specifically, she wrote, “The criminal harassment charge is rooted in the alleged victim’s perception of the offending conduct … (if) the alleged victims ‘reasonably, in all the circumstances fear for their safety’, that’s good enough.” “Elliott’s chief sin,” Blatchford continues, was that “he dared to disagree with the two young feminists and political activists.”

To suggest, as Blatchford appears to do, that harassment without explicit threats of physical or sexual harm should not qualify as criminal, is troublesome. Further, while much of Blatchford’s earlier writing on this topic had made clear that Guthrie was unquestionably the target of vile abuse from MRA activists, generally (although not Elliott, specifically). But that broader context was largely absent last week. Yes, a columnist only has so many words to cover a topic and content must be sacrificed. But absent a deeper explanation of what Guthrie has sincerely alleged to have endured, it’s easy to conclude that there’s nothing to see here.

And that isn’t so. If nothing else, the fact that the police and Crown pursued charges in the first place suggest the behaviour was beyond simple, even rude, disagreement, doesn’t it?

That being said, some of the backlash against Blatchford was misguided — particularly suggestions that Blatchford was personally responsible for online anger directed at Guthrie. Indeed, Guthrie has, sadly, been the target of that kind of abuse for years.

Guthrie may have been subject to yet another barrage of death threats and harassment at the hands of the MRA crowd in the wake of Blatchford’s column, but to suggest Blatchford intentionally incited this retaliation is unfair. Nor is Blatchford responsible for a campaign by a group of MRAs to cover Elliott’s legal bills — even though the campaign quotes from her writings on the matter.

Though I’m not personally familiar with either complainant, I have admired what I’ve seen of Guthrie’s public persona from afar. However, Guthrie and Reilly do assuredly belong to a subset of feminists who employ tactics that are not only unhelpful, but terribly counterproductive. They perceive themselves to be an online authority of feminism — they play to a virtual audience and engage in a culture of “calling out,” online mobbing, and doxing. They justify these actions by relying on the moral certainty of their personal cause.

Throughout the trial, Blatchford reported on the fact that Guthrie copped to her own bullying tactics. She’s been, arguably, as vindictive online as Elliott himself. It was, after all, with malicious intent that Guthrie sought to “sic the internet” on Spurr, testifying she “would not feel sorry” if his life were ruined, and would feel no sense of responsibility had he been driven to suicide following her call to mob. In her view, he’d have brought it on himself.

Should charges against Elliott be dismissed, Guthrie and Reilly, and their group of vocal public supporters, will be inundated with more misogynistic attacks from angry MRAs, including threats of rape or murder. It’s happened before. It will again. On the other hand, if the judge should rule that Elliott’s behaviour was criminal, thus vindicating Guthrie and Reilly, the response will be … pretty much the same.

As for Elliott, even if he’s acquitted, chances are his life will have been irrevocably damaged.

While we wait for the verdict, it’s worth nothing that this trial has become a proxy war between extremes — a battle between hard-line feminists and MRAs. This brutal online battle will continue to escalate, hardening hearts and coarsening our public debate.

To that end, regardless of the verdict, we’ve already lost.

 

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12 thoughts on “A Word To My Critics:

  1. Yes, and they did. You may take issue with me having written, but there’s nothing incorrect there. I do realize people have taken great issue with the “doxing” term, but that was never mine to begin with. My intro to the case – about who Sarkeesian is, why Spurr (and other MRAs) went after her, how/why Guthrie entered the fray, how that lead to disagreement between Guthrie and Elliott, and what escalated from there – was incredibly thorough.

    I’ve said repeatedly, though people seem to have ignored, that my submission was lengthy and detailed, as my offerings usually are. I seek to tell as much of the story as possible. “Doxing” was a term settled on to help explain the lead-up in as few words as possible. I am not a columnist, I do not have rights to unlimited space for every word, as I’d initially written, to be published. However, I am happy to be accountable for anything I write, and I did seek clarity over the “doxing” charge after such intense backlash, and was told by someone who knows/deals with doxing in the real world that yes, this qualifies just fine. The term, it seems, is more flexible than I’d thought.

    Had I been told otherwise, I’d have made sure that word was removed/replaced.

    I have gotten nothing wrong, nor has Blatchford misreported anything in the case (though many have rightly taken issue with the way she framed/presented things in her most recent piece.)

    Further, contrary to what many are alleging to be ‘facts’ in this matter, I sought clarity on a number of other issues, and these are the facts – 100% so – though granted to me OTR, so cannot name:

    1. The complainants ARE, in fact, right now, allowed to speak. People have been outraged about reporting on/discussing the matter, saying Guthrie/Reilly are legally prohibited from telling their side, defending themselves, until after the verdict. Not so. That ended at close of evidence.

    2. Regarding the peace bond: Has “absolutely nothing” to do w/ these complainants or this case. But that PB will be broken if he’s convicted

    3. Regarding the taking of photos: There was no evidence of him taking a single photo of the complainants.

    4. Regarding the offline stalking: The Crown did not suggest or argue physical offline stalking of the complainants by GAE.

    5. Instances of FACTUAL errors, any misstatements regarding evidence, arguements, etc. by Blatchford: None.

    Any other questions, I’m happy to respond further.

  2. Hi,
    I wonder if you would comment further about your assertion that if Elliott is found not guilty (or if the judge dismisses the charges), Guthrie and the other complainants will be “inundated with more misogynistic attacks from angry MRAs, including threats of rape or murder.” Also, you earlier stated that “Guthrie may have been subject to yet another barrage of death threats and harassment at the hands of the MRA crowd in the wake of Blatchford’s column”, and that “Guthrie was unquestionably the target of vile abuse from MRA activists, generally (although not Elliott, specifically). But that broader context was largely absent last week.”
    It seems to me that you’re implying Elliott is just another “angry MRA”, and that only like-minded, misogynist MRAs would defend his actions and his right to defend himself from the accusations of Guthrie and her comrades. You then appear to connect Blatchford’s factual reporting of the trial’s conclusion (wherein she questions the complainants’ veracity and even expresses some sympathy for Elliott) with inciting “a barrage of death threats” against Guthrie. Finally, your last comment about the alleged absence of the “broader context” of Guthrie’s so-called targeting by other “MRA activists” (but NOT Elliott), implies there was some sort of unfairness in the trial.
    I’m curious about a few things. First, you stated that blaming Blatchford for “intentionally” causing Guthrie to allegedly receive death threats goes too far. So, do you believe her column was still the cause, albeit unintentionally? Second, the Crown did enter plenty of evidence of the background “context” you describe, in trying to establish an objective basis for the complainants’ subjective perceptions. If the Crown had evidence of rape and death threats, it would have been tendered. What the Crown took issue with was the introduction of evidence by the accused as to his own subjective state. He was a man who openly disagreed with and criticized feminist rhetoric and ideology and, the evidence showed, he was being punished by those same feminists via a deliberate, premeditated conspiracy to destroy his life.
    Criminal harassment involves an objective standard of what a reasonable person would think and do in the same circumstances, and hence isn’t dependent on what the complainant subjectively thinks and feels. They have to be reasonable, in all the circumstances. And ALL the circumstances necessarily includes considering the background and subjective thoughts and feelings of the accused.
    And so my last question is, in your view, is one’s subjective experience more important, more valid, or more trustworthy than the other? If so, why? Would it make a difference to you if gender was reversed in this case, with Guthrie as the accused and Elliott as the complainant?

  3. Hi Erin,

    Thanks for taking the time to read and ask specific questions. I’ll do my best to address them all, but if I’ve left anything unanswered, do feel free to ask for more.

    1. “It seems to me that you’re implying Elliott is just another “angry MRA”, and that only like-minded, misogynist MRAs would defend his actions and his right to defend himself from the accusations of Guthrie and her comrades.”

    I don’t believe it’s only MRAs who have taken the side of Elliott, though the MRAs have turned this case into their movement’s cause — as I wrote, this case has gone beyond the people involved and become a proxy war between the two sides.

    I know many who are in no way aligned as MRAs or feminists, but who feel more sympathetic/empathetic to Elliott from what they know of the case (which, admittedly, isn’t much thanks to the scant reporting). They’ve formed their opinion based on what info they could find, I suppose.

    2. “First, you stated that blaming Blatchford for “intentionally” causing Guthrie to allegedly receive death threats goes too far. So, do you believe her column was still the cause, albeit unintentionally?”

    The reality is, no matter what is written about this case, even when it has been a pro-Guthrie/anti-Blatchford piece from one of her friends (as published on Canadaland), the complainants will receive abuse. It doesn’t matter what is written, or who writes it: The MRAs are fixated on these two women and will use any reason to continue the assault. So yes, I suppose you could say Blatchford’s column set off another wave of attacks unintentionally, but she could have printed word-for-word from any pro-Guthrie blog and the reaction would have been the same. The only way to not have this happen? To not have written/covered the case at all.

    3. “If the Crown had evidence of rape and death threats, it would have been tendered.”

    Correct. And it was agreed there were none of these threats from Elliott toward the complainants.

    4. “He was a man who openly disagreed with and criticized feminist rhetoric and ideology and, the evidence showed, he was being punished by those same feminists via a deliberate, premeditated conspiracy to destroy his life.”

    Correct. The claimants had devised a counter-attack, though whether they set out to “destroy his life” is not my call to make. But that’s what the defence argued, and yes, that scheme happened.

    5. “And so my last question is, in your view, is one’s subjective experience more important, more valid, or more trustworthy than the other? If so, why? Would it make a difference to you if gender was reversed in this case, with Guthrie as the accused and Elliott as the complainant?”

    I don’t believe one’s subjective experience is more important, valid, or trustworthy than the other. I’m not a fan of Elliott, as he was a genuine Twitter troll who I had zero patience for, but whether his alleged harassment of the complainants over twitter qualifies as criminal is questionable. I understand some of the alleged harassment occurred by squatting on/spamming hashtags. That might be so, but can one own a hashtag? I don’t believe so, as twitter is an open forum. Hashtags are hijacked and spammed all the time.
    But did his trolling reasonably, in all circumstances, make the complainants fear for their safety? They maintain it did, and if you take into consideration the work Guthrie does as a feminist and the hostility she endures daily (which is part of the role. All high-profile feminists are in this boat. It doesn’t mean it’s OK, but it’s a sad reality) it’s not unreasonable to think they genuinely perceived Elliott’s ongoing communications as threatening, or potentially so. Would others have felt that way? Maybe not, but their life experiences are different, so their perceptions of potential threats are different. It’s possible to believe they genuinely felt threatened while recognizing that, to most, that sense of threat may not have been entirely reasonable.

    But that’s for the judge to decide.

    Were the roles reversed, were all the facts the same but Elliott the complainant, all the above would stand. The allegations will stand or fall on the evidence presented, one’s gender (or cause) doesn’t matter.

    These are serious allegations with serious implications. This isn’t about which activist side is right (though each side it battling for their claim to victory) – this is about alleged criminal harassment online. The ruling will impact everyone, no matter what the judge decides.

    You can be sure I’ll follow up on the matter, if not before the ruling, then certainly following the Oct 6 decision.

  4. Thank you for your patient and very thoughtful response to my questions, Alheli. I guess I’m still left wondering a few things.
    First, could you clarify why you label Elliott himself an “MRA activist”? I confess to not being on Twitter, and prior to this story had very little interest in “hashtags” and the like. Likewise, I’m not familiar with Elliott or Guthrie outside of this case. I don’t know whether Elliott has ever described himself as an MRA, or why you “have zero patience” with him. All I know is what was presented in the case, and the Crown’s evidence against Elliott seemed only to consist of a handful of his tweets, with only a few of these being directed “at” Guthrie. None of these came across as being either radically MRA-oriented and/or threatening to Guthrie personally.
    So, did you read the tweets by Elliott that were entered into evidence? If so, which ones struck you as harassing? In my view, the broader context of Elliott’s prior experience as an “MRA” or otherwise, including Guthrie’s and the other complainants’ disparaging tweets about him, make his tweets look like the reasonable responses of one defending him or herself from online harassment, and not the other way around. It seems to me that you’re arguing that Guthrie should have the right to defend HERself (I’m assuming you mean provided her actions are reasonable), but that Elliott’s response tweets in defense of his reputation are a form of harassment. Is this an accurate assessment, and if so, can you explain the reason for this double standard?
    You openly called Elliott a “troll”, but other than Guthrie, et al’s personal opinions to that effect, there wasn’t any evidence Elliott intended his comments only to be inflammatory and incite angry responses. If you put yourself in his perspective, Guthrie’s actions could also be seen as trolling (for example, she “blocked” Elliott, but still kept a close eye on his Twitter feed either personally, or through her network of Twitter friends and followers).
    There really wasn’t any evidence presented of the existence of the other women Guthrie claimed had been “harassed” by Elliott online. Yet it was primarily on behalf of the allegations supposedly made by unidentified female twitter users that Guthrie justified coordinating her anti-Elliott “doxing” campaign, which included (re-)tweeting malicious and groundless comments that labelled Elliott as a misogynist and a pedophile. The police even testified that by the time Guthrie made a formal criminal complaint (following the dismissal of her earlier complaint by Twitter), she knew the accusation that Elliott was a pedophile was false (the Twitter user who claimed to be 13-years-old had already admitted he/she was actually an adult), but that’s not what Guthrie told the police. If anything, this presents a HUGE credibility issue for Guthrie, doesn’t it?
    Further, if these other women Guthrie referred to in her complaint and testimony are real, why wasn’t any evidence of their existence and claims about Elliott introduced at trial? Do you see the problem? The entire complaint was grounded on Guthrie’s unproven claims that Elliott was an aggressive MRA who already had a reputation for harassing women, but there isn’t any evidence to support it. Moreover, Guthrie’s own actions orchestrating the anti-Elliott campaign tend to demonstrate that she and her Twitter followers may have been largely responsible for creating such a false perception about Elliott to begin with.
    I don’t think the administration of justice is aided by the media making statements like “the fact that the police and Crown pursued charges in the first place suggest the behaviour was beyond simple, even rude, disagreement, doesn’t it?” In fact, this statement suggests that the media has already prejudged the man’s guilt simply because charges were laid. Such an attitude flies in the face of the presumption of innocence that is supposed to be the bedrock of the Canadian criminal justice system.
    How many times do the police arrest/detain innocent people? More often than you think. The media only tends to report these stories when there is some question about the (un)reasonableness of the police/state action. For example, Canadian media coverage of Omar Khadr tends to present him as a victim of wrongful U.S. military prosecution and incarceration, even though he plead guilty to murdering a U.S. soldier during a firefight between U.S. forces and al qaeda in Afghanistan. The media instead focuses on Khadr’s unproven allegations of torture and grants him a free pass. By contrast, Elliott has consistently maintained his innocence, refused to plea bargain, and though he hasn’t even been convicted, he is already being treated like a criminal. Furthermore, Khadr’s defense team worked for free, and despite being a convicted murderer and war criminal, he’s now released on only $5,000 bail with minimal conditions.
    Elliott, however, has personally incurred some $80,000 in legal fees to date, and since being released on bail in November 2012, has been prohibited from using the internet or computer devices, even smartphones. As a result, he was fired from his job in computer graphics, and has been unemployable ever since. His basic ability to even formulate and participate in his own defense was severely restricted by these conditions, which are in place even to this day.
    How would you reconcile Elliott’s treatment by the media and the Crown with that of Omar Khadr? I’m at a loss.
    Just to clarify with regard to the above comments about the media, I mean the mainstream media in general, and not you in particular, but I would still appreciate hearing your thoughts on the matter as a politico and journalist. What’s your take on the differential treatment these two men have received?
    Finally, people disagree all the time, it’s just in our nature. Arguments may even occasionally get a little heated, but calling someone a “troll” seems to be just another way of trying to silence an unfavourable counter-argument by maligning the opponent’s character, and thereby avoid addressing the substance of the counter-argument. I don’t like the term “troll”, and contend that the determination of troll-ness is all in the eye of the beholder. Nonetheless, being a “troll” is not a criminal offence, so even if one satisfies the essential elements of the term, this does not provide grounds to make a criminal complaint of harassment.
    I don’t deny that Elliott’s public opposition to Guthrie’s Twitter comments and “doxing” tactics pissed her off. I can easily understand her being angered by his tweets because they were critical of her. But I don’t think the complainants’ alleged fear for their physical safety is reasonable at all, and I’d ask you to explain your statement that “[i]t’s possible to believe they genuinely felt threatened while recognizing that, to most, that sense of threat may not have been entirely reasonable.” Do you recognize that the latter is, in fact, what most people (acting rationally) actually think? Are you saying that, providing Guthrie’s subject sense of feeling threatened is genuine, what reasonable people conclude is irrelevant?
    I am sorry for all the questions, but I feel strongly about this story and think your recent article touched on a lot of sub-issues that are worth discussing further. Would you mind commenting further? Thanks in advance, Erin

  5. Hi Erin,

    It’s from what I’d observed of Elliott on twitter over the years that leads to my judgment of him as a troll (including a few interactions), and if not a full-fledged MRA, then certainly an associate. He surrounded himself with MRAs, and they are the ones fighting for him now.

    Not that it matters, he’s free to hold any view he likes (as are his supporters), but his inappropriate, sexualized tweets toward women (yes, there are many screenshots) and his tiresome MRA-like rhetoric ( “Feminazi!” ) easily cemented him as one of the less-than-pleasant accounts.

    You wrote: “It seems to me that you’re arguing that Guthrie should have the right to defend HERself (I’m assuming you mean provided her actions are reasonable), but that Elliott’s response tweets in defense of his reputation are a form of harassment. Is this an accurate assessment, and if so, can you explain the reason for this double standard?”

    Your reading is not an accurate assessment at all. I didn’t suggest anything about anyone defending themselves (though the content from Metro – the Crown’s argument – does). The discourse was quite two-way, and Elliott had just as much right to defend himself against the smear campaign as Guthrie and Reilly had to counter the shots being thrown their way.

    No one here is above the other. And yes, both sides here are quite adept at trolling.

    That said, in this case, the allegations are of criminal harassment one way, and that’s what the judge will decide.

    You wrote: “I don’t think the administration of justice is aided by the media making statements like “the fact that the police and Crown pursued charges in the first place suggest the behaviour was beyond simple, even rude, disagreement, doesn’t it?” In fact, this statement suggests that the media has already prejudged the man’s guilt simply because charges were laid.”

    It isn’t prejudicial at all. It’s merely an observation, and more a further comment on the underwhelming piece from Blatchford he preceding sentences talk about. And it should be noted, Guthrie’s supporters have been attacking me and what I’d written as being PRO-Elliott and victim-blaming of Guthrie, simply for acknowledging the facts of the case and her own harassing techniques.

    Each side is reading into various words and sentences what they wish, and that’s unfortunate. I’ve taken no sides here.

    You wrote: “How would you reconcile Elliott’s treatment by the media and the Crown with that of Omar Khadr?”

    I’m not even going to bother here, sorry. Not only have you misunderstood the facts in the Khadr case, but honestly — there is no comparison here. The media wasn’t out to coddle Khadr, nor are they out to destroy Elliott.

    However, further to your comment on the media, I feel this case has been grossly neglected, and I believe there are reasons for that. In my view, there was a dearth pf coverage because of the characters involved, and the viciousness of their supporters.

    I’ve endured a shitstorm of hate from primarily Guthrie/Reilly supporters, and this is the same viciousness they employ on anyone who dares cross them. (That segment of feminists I write about in my piece to which the complainants belong)

    The coverage of this case likely suffered as a result, and may be why Blatchford was left as the only one covering it. This is something I’ll write about in the future, because it is a problem. And it’s not OK.

    You wrote: “Nonetheless, being a “troll” is not a criminal offence, so even if one satisfies the essential elements of the term, this does not provide grounds to make a criminal complaint of harassment.”

    This case isn’t about trolling — the allegations are of criminal harassment. And that’s what the judge will rule on, whether or not Elliott’s conduct indeed crossed the line from mere trolling to a criminal nature.

    It’s not my call to make, but I will opine on it following the ruling.

    You wrote: “I’d ask you to explain your statement that “[i]t’s possible to believe they genuinely felt threatened while recognizing that, to most, that sense of threat may not have been entirely reasonable.” Do you recognize that the latter is, in fact, what most people (acting rationally) actually think? Are you saying that, providing Guthrie’s subject sense.”

    What I mean is that, taking into account the work Guthrie does and the hostile encounters she has, it’s not unreasonable to believe that she herself perceived Elliott’s behaviour as a threat, even if others – whose life experiences are quite different – might have written off Elliott as merely an annoyance.

    In essence, you can believe Guthrie truly felt fear, yet recognize the judge may find there wasn’t any reasonable basis for that fear. That yes, Guthrie felt Elliott was a threat, but that doesn’t mean he was, in reality, a threat.

    The judge will have much to weigh in making this determination.

    And no need to apologize – I’m happy to delve into the issues. There are indeed many, and the discussion is far from over.

    Any more questions, fire away!

  6. Hi Alheli,
    Thanks again for another well-thought out response. Your clarifications do help answer some of my questions, and I completely understand not wanting to discuss Khadr. I think there is a valid comparison of media coverage to be made, but that’s another issue entirely, and I don’t lump you into “the media” when I use that term.
    The fact that you wrote your original article, and that you’ve taken the time to engage in rational discussion with me in this forum sets you apart. I am sorry if you’ve become the recipient of hate mail from anyone as a result of what you wrote, as it’s completely undeserved. I trust you don’t count me in that category. We may disagree, I sense, on some things, but I think we can still talk about a topic that we both seem to care about.
    Please keep following the story.
    Yours truly,
    Erin

  7. Hi Erin,

    I certainly don’t lump you in with the mob! I greatly appreciate that you’ve taken the time to read and discuss, and parse the issues so thoughtfully and honestly. It has been a pleasure, and I look forward to chatting again. 🙂

    Alheli

  8. LOL, left or right, agree or disagree, I like you. You’re fair, you’ve got chutzpah, and we night owls (or how about “ladyhawkes”?) should stick together. Again, really sorry to hear you’ve been getting flak for your article. But it probably means you hit some nerves, which says you’re getting close to the uncomfortable truths people don’t like to talk about, or can’t discuss without leading to irrational anger and violence.

  9. All of these women are severely emotionally disturbed. One was working for the Toronto Police even. They conspired openly to frame Elliott. They are criminals, and the prosecutor should be disbarred, as she got her job through Liberal Party connections.

    Sigh, you seemed like a fair minded person but having firsthand knowledge of this conspiracy I have to point out you’re being taken for a ride. Rent seekers hold back women’s rights. Eject them from your movement before you are the one backstabbed.

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