Four years ago, Patrick Tomlinson tweeted that he had never found Saturday Night Live legend Norm Macdonald funny.
This largely harmless shooting has since given rise to a year-long campaign of mass harassment, culminating when the science fiction author received countless death threats and was the target of multiple attempts at “swatting”
Even worse, his anonymous tormentors are protected by law.
All this time, Tomlinson’s antagonists have gathered online on a message board ostensibly dedicated to fans of a now defunct shock radio show.
but which in reality now functions as a forum to obsessively troll and dox the writer and his family while happily engaging in extremely misogynistic activities. , racist and homophobic behavior.
And the attacks didn’t stop there.
Both Tomlinson and his wife have been victims of copycats spoofing their email and social media accounts to send sectarian messages to colleagues and random people.
resulting in intensive cleanup efforts on behalf of the science fiction writer.
All this time, the author continues to receive dozens of insulting texts, voice messages and emails daily from his anonymous stalkers, some of whom even send photos indicating that they are right outside his house.
Yet, as Tomlinson told the Daily Beast, the efforts they made to identify his stalkers and potentially bring them to justice were not only futile, but cost them tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. All because a court recently concluded that the identity of the anonymous owner of the message board can remain hidden and therefore cannot be assigned to provide information about the identity of users of its site.
Tomlinson’s fate is somewhat similar to that of trans Twitch streamer Clara Sorrenti, who has been the subject of a long and vicious campaign of anti-trans harassment by users of the Kiwi Farms Internet message board.
In fact, Tomlinson himself was the target of a 1,400-page thread about the notoriously toxic online community, whose users choose specific individuals to stalk and harass.
Kiwi Farms, which has been linked to the suicide of three people who were victims of its incessant harassment, had long been protected by the technology security company Cloudflare despite its role in real-world harassment campaigns.
That changed earlier this month after Sorrenti, who was sued around the world and eventually “crushed” by her stalkers, led an effort to take down the site.
In addition, although the site is known for targeting trans and non-binary people, Kiwi Farms gained additional notoriety when it was linked to an attempted crush on Rep. MAGA Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) last month.
“While Kiwi Farms felt more threatened, they responded by being more threatening,” Cloudflare chief executive Matthew Prince said in announcing that his company was abandoning Kiwi Farms.
“We believe that there is an imminent danger, and the pace at which law enforcement agencies are able to respond to these threats, in our opinion, is not fast enough to keep up.”
While Kiwi Farms is now struggling to maintain an online presence as it bounces between web service providers, the website devoted entirely to Tomlinson’s harassment and torment continues to be a Cloudflare customer.
And last year, John Doe, the unidentified owner of the forum, was able to cancel a subpoena to Cloudflare that would potentially allow Tomlinson to find out the identities of the site’s users, who baselessly accused him of pedophilia, domestic violence and rape. .
On top of that, the science fiction writer had to pay John Doe’s legal fees, which now amount to almost $40,000 plus interest and penalties.
It all started on September 11, 2018.
A few days before the start of his talk show on Netflix, Macdonald – years before his death from cancer
attracted attention for defending the disgraced comics Roseanne Barr and Louis C.K., two of his longtime friends, following scandals that derailed their careers.
Within three days, Tomlinson found his then verified Twitter account @stealthygeek suspended after a large number of reports were filed claiming that he had violated Twitter rules.
He would later discover that a Reddit community of 30,000 subscribers dedicated to the cancelled Opie and Anthony Show had taken credit for banning his Twitter account, with users boasting that they had coordinated a mass attack because of the author’s anti-Macdonald tweet.