This writer exposed collusion between Antifa and the media and was mobbed for it
When Eoin Lenihan published “It’s Not Your Imagination: The Journalists Writing About Antifa Are Often Their Cheerleaders” in Quillette, he had no expectation that he would be banned from Twitter. There was no way he could know that the journalists he identified as probably pro-Antifa would reach out to his other outlets, and ask them to pull Lenihan’s work as well. As of this writing, Lenihan’s account is suspended on Twitter, and his video at Al Jazeera News on a completely unrelated topic has been pulled down and is pending review.
Writing for Quillette, an open-minded publication interested in big, controversial ideas, can be a danger, as I know full well. But Twitter’s trigger happy bans and suspensions are indicative of a larger problem than simply the risks that are always present in speaking one’s mind. Twitter has no idea what it’s doing, and social media at large, which has replaced and in many ways and created so much of the arena for public discourse, is desperate to reign that public in.
In 2018, before a hearing with the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as reported by David Marcus at The Federalist, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey revealed that “his company’s policies had in fact resulted in bias against conservatives.” While at the time Dorsey claimed that this was unintentional— “the result of a faulty algorithm no longer in place”—the truth is that over a year and a half since that hearing, the company has continued to not have any clear, discernible standard as to what should be banned and why.
In Lenihan’s case, the rationale for banning is rather convoluted. Bear with me: he used to have a parody account, @progdadtv, much like Titania McGrath’s, and lauded by Joe Rogan, that skewered progressive leftist politics by way of posing as, well, an ultra progressive dad. This account was banned in August 2018 when he said something untoward about one of his detractors, a white supremacist called Jason Jones, aka @lucidhurricanex (now suspended himself), who then reported the account, because Twitter cares about white supremacists’ feelings, too.
After Lenihan posted a thread revealing his exploration of potential overlaps between leftist journalists who cover Antifa and Antifa activists themselves, his account was targeted by Antifa activists, such as @antifashgordon. The revelation, presumably, that Lenihan’s current handle had remained active while his former @progdadtv handle had been silenced was the reason that @eoinlenihan was suspended.
The latter handle, however, was the first one created, which means that, because it wasn’t created as a work around to the previous ban, Lenihan should have a shot at an account reinstatement. To recap: poking white supremacists will get a parody account banned, and pointing out what may be collusion between journalists and the subjects they cover can also get you banned.
We reached out the Lenihan for his thoughts on the ban, and what he was really after in exposing the connection between journalists and Antifa.
TPM: What was your impulse to start research into this story?
EL: I have been involved in researching online extremism since 2016. I am interested in both the far left and the far right but I decided to study Antifa after I did a round table talk on extremism with several of Germany’s leading extremism experts in October of 2018. At that conference, several individuals bemoaned the lack of evidence on far left extremism and so I thought I would look into it. This work on journalists was completely accidental. Our work was to create a classification of Antifa accounts on Twitter much like other extremism experts have done for ISIS and the far right. What we never expected was to see so many Twitter verified journalists appear in our subset of the most connected Antifa accounts on Twitter. It singled them out for manual inspection.
TPM: It seems your point was mostly about journalistic integrity. Do you feel like that’s an issue across the board?
EL: That assumption is correct. I think in the post-Brexit and post-Trump era, public faith in the media is at an all time low. Too many news outlets left and right have become hyper-partisan and are contributing to the increased polarisation of people in the US and in Europe. This is dangerous. I would be horrified to find out that certain journalists and publications were leveraging contacts in the far right to spread their ideals and narratives to an unsuspecting public. The same is true of our findings. It is now clear that certain journalists and prominent publications have working relationships with Antifa to promote their ideals and downplay their illegal activities. That is dangerous.
TPM: There’s been a huge push, by the progressive left, for people who have a platform to be more activist, to infuse their activism into every aspect of their work. Comics, artists, writers, have all taken up the charge, and party lines are being toed all over the place. Is the problem here that you feel that journalists have not been transparent in their views?
EL: This is a very interesting question. The journalist—Elizabeth King—who was banned for abusing me, who is close with Jason Wilson of “The Guardian” and who appeared on anarchist podcast “It’s Going Down News” with the SPLC’s Michael Hayden recently wrote a piece on exactly this: how journalists should cover the far right from an activist perspective.
It is an Antifa guide to reporting riddled with Antifa talking points and ideology. For example, when covering the far right, King makes little difference between the police and white supremacists and encourages journalists to seek out local Antifa individuals who have antagonistic relationships with the police for comment on any reporting involving the police.
King writes that “journalists covering the far right will inevitably run into the relationship between the police and the far right. The two are not necessarily distinct entities, but journalists often treat the police as neutral toward or even hostile to fascist groups, when the reality is often quite the opposite…When quoting police, it’s essential to reach out to those who have a contentious relationship with them, as opposed to taking the police for their word. Examples of who to reach out to include: local antifascist organizations, anti-fascist and anti-racist protesters at rallies, local community organizations who focus on racial, immigrant, gender, and sexuality justice.“
Our research, including our analysis of the bodies of work of those verified journalists who showed up in our highly connected subset seems to indicate that this practice—activist journalism—is already deeply rooted. It seems King is just formalizing it in print.
Why is Twitter taking its cues from journalists who Lenihan has shown to be connected to violent Antifa activists, and how could they not see past the rouse of the attacks against Lenihan being purported to be for violating his previous suspension? Twitter’s rules are so vague and unwieldy, precisely because it is an area where every single misstep runs the risk of being a free speech violation or direct misapplication, that those who apply them are unable to suss out when they are being played by complainers seeking only to silence their detractors.
A bestselling trans author’s tweet thread about abuse goes viral, then came the allegations of her own abuse
On Nov. 10, a celebrated trans author wrote a viral tweet thread that received over 100,000 likes. The thread complained about the discrepancy between successful, beautiful women, and their often abusive and unkempt male partners.
As it turns out, she may have been projecting.
The author, who writes under the pen name “Meredith Russo,” is formerly known as Meredith Stroud and Travis Lee Stroud. Her 2016 novel If I Was Your Girl received multiple awards and near-endless commendations from literary elites. On the back of the book’s success, Stroud, 32, was invited to publish an article in The New York Times on the struggles of being a transwoman. Stroud’s subsequent book, Birthday, received awards from Refinery29, Bustle and Nylon.
However, some Twitter users brought attention to a blog post from 2016 where the author’s arrest record and past relationship history were detailed, prompting the author to use block lists to squelch criticism.
“Domestic violence is insidious and slow, like the proverbial boiling frog,” Stroud’s ex-wife, Juniper Russo, said. “It’s hard to say when it all started.”
Juniper Russo alleges she was subjected to a campaign of sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of her former partner, abuse she says was so severe that the marriage culminated in a divorce in early 2015.
“We met on OKCupid in 2011 and got married in 2013,” Russo said, claiming the physical abuse started shortly after the wedding. “We had a lot of shared interests at the time, and I was naive enough to think that shared interests are the foundation of a healthy relationship.”
Russo shared disturbing details of some of the alleged abuses she suffered during her marriage to Meredith Stroud.
“When my son was born in 2014, I had severe pre-eclampsia and injuries from giving birth. I had to have major reconstructive surgery. I was extremely weak and in severe pain,” Russo said.
“Meredith was extremely abusive to me during this time, calling me a ‘feeding station, not a parent’ because breastfeeding my son was one of the only things I could do, and because I was asking [Meredith] to help with things like diapers,” Russo also alleges.
During this same time, Juniper says Stroud would tell her to commit suicide. “[Meredith] kept mocking me when I was in pain, and told me I was so useless as a parent I should just kill myself.”
Russo says she was first forced to call the police in late 2014, “[Meredith] was having an outburst. I got scared and called 911. [Meredith] took the phone from me, and was heard trying to prevent me from calling for help.”
As a result, Stroud was booked on charges of interfering with an emergency call.
Like many victims of domestic violence, Russo says she still loved and sympathized with her abuser.
“I ended up bailing [Meredith] out, and paying for the legal defense,” she said.
Russo said she often intervened to prevent Stroud from being charged with domestic abuse, noting that the police wanted to charge Stroud in Nov. 2014.
“I was always trying to protect [Meredith] because I knew men’s jail was not kind to transwomen,” Russo said. “She was always threatening suicide if she were to get arrested.” Russo continues, “Even when things were terrible, I was worried for her safety and didn’t want her to kill herself or be beaten to death in prison.”
Russo turned over 53 pages of legal documents to support her allegations.
The divorce record, which features a restraining order against Stroud, includes messages shared between the two in which Stroud admits to abusing Russo. These messages were accepted as evidence by the divorce courts.
In one series of messages from Facebook, Stroud is calmly attempting to diffuse Russo’s desire to proceed with the divorce, offering to go on medication and check into a psychiatric facility for psychosis maintenance.
In this same conversation, Russo expresses fear of Stroud eventually killing her.
In another, dramatically different text conversation, Stroud says she hopes Russo gets “run over by a f*cking truck” and demands Russo reduce child support payments.
At the time, Stroud was recorded by the court as having an income of $8,300 gross per month, having acquired a substantial six-figure advance from Flatiron Books, the publisher of Stroud’s debut novel, If I Was Your Girl. The court would later order Stroud to pay $1,068 per month.
But Russo says Stroud has not paid child support in years, and currently owes over $20,000 in back payments. In July of 2019, Russo attempted to start a GoFundMe to raise the money needed to legally compel Stroud to pay what was owed. Other than the child support arrangements, Russo did not request alimony or any other financial compensation from the seperation.
After the divorce, Russo says Stroud denigrated her in public, telling fans and followers on social media that Russo was “a TERF who had abused and left” Stroud due to her transition from male to female.
“Many trans people are the victims of violence and discrimination, so [Meredith’s] target audience found that totally relatable and credible. They had no reason to doubt her,” Russo said, noting that both she and her current wife are members of the LGBT community. Russo identifies as non-binary, while her current wife is a transwoman.
“I’ve been harassed quite a bit by Meredith’s social network. I lost a lot of friends and have been largely ostracized from our local LGBT community.” Russo says, “I’ll often be online and someone I don’t know will suddenly jump into a thread to announce I’m the TERF who ruined Meredith Russo’s life.”
Stroud continues to publicly call Russo an abuser, and claims she’s attempting to “destroy” [Stroud’s] career and finances.
The Post Millennial has reached out to Stroud as well as Flatiron-MacMillan Publishing and Stroud’s publishing agent Sarah Barley for comment. While the publishing house and agent did not respond by the time of publication, Stroud denied all allegations while calling The Post Millennial a slew of denigrating names.
When asked about her own admissions of abuse in the court document, Stroud again asserted “Either way, my response to the allegations is that I have not ever sexually or physically abused any of my sexual or romantic partners.”
Stroud claimed, at first, that she was “barred” from speaking about her relationship to her ex-wife by law. When questioned about why she had persistently made social media posts about that very subject, Stroud declined to answer before blocking the account used to contact her.
“Meredith thrives on lies and conflict, and she’s a writer, so she knows how to come up with a good story.” Russo says, “I knew when I left her that I’d become the subject of one of these stories.”
Included in the divorce and restraining order filings was an article Stroud wrote with the intention of submitting it to an LGBT magazine. The article, written as an introspective reflection on the couple’s relationship, states in detail the abuse Stroud subjected Russo to.
And despite Stroud’s public attempts to downplay the arrest, Stroud’s written account supports Russo’s claims that it was she who is responsible for jail bailout and the charges being dropped.
The document also backs Russo’s assertion that she continued to support and care for her spouse even after the repeated physical and sexual assaults, a far cry from Stroud’s claims on social media that Russo had been the abuser, and callously made Stroud homeless.
Due to Stroud’s continued public assertions that Russo is to blame, as well as the harassment from Stroud’s fans she’s received in the past as a result, Russo says she continues to fear retaliation.
Russo notes that some of the posts Stroud has made include threats of violence. From a now-deleted alternative Twitter account, Stroud posted how she wanted Russo’s friends to be “brutally killed” in the style of a violent horror movie.
“My main hope, in discussing all of this, is that the defamation against myself and my family will stop.” Russo comments, “I’ve worked so hard to rebuild my life in the five years since I left Meredith, and I’m emotionally exhausted by the fact that I’m still being defamed on a daily basis as a ‘TERF’ and abuser, and that it’s affected my family so profoundly.”
Despite everything, Juniper Russo says she does not wish ill upon her former spouse, and supports Stroud’s work in the literary world.
“I still have to believe that there’s some good inside of [Meredith] and that she’s leaving some kind of positive mark on the world. If her books have saved one single teenager from suicide, I’d consider that to outweigh the pain and trauma I’ve had to endure at her hands.” Russo continues on to note that deeply flawed people can sometimes make good art.
“It’s important to be aware that someone who creates inspiring work is not necessarily a good person, and I think it’s dangerous for anyone to look up to Meredith as a role model, or to take anything she says at face value.”
Russo concluded. “Her work, including how she presents herself and speaks of those around her, is fictional. I’d caution anyone against mistaking any of it for reality.”
High school teachers in Ontario have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike, according to CTV News.
After a vote in Toronto, 95 percent of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) voted in favour, thus providing an “overwhelming” mandate to carry out strike action.
Alongside teachers, the union also represents education workers who also voted strongly in favour of a strike.
The OSSTF now has to send a five-day notice stating when the strike will begin. After this, they will be in a legal position to stage a strike.
Elementary school teachers and Catholic school board teachers are also expected to threaten strike action.
Well known Christian fast-food organization Chick-fil-A has decided to halt funding to two organizations that critics call ‘anti-LGBT,’ and advocates call ‘pro-traditional family.’
For years now, Chick-fil-A, the Georgia-based chicken restaurant has faced backlash from LGBT groups for their hefty donations to The Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Recently, in Toronto, the opening of the city’s first Chick-fil-A was greeted with large groups of both LGBT and animal rights protestors, making for some viral moments as activists staged ‘die-ins,’ attempted to stop people from entering the restaurant, and yelled customers’ faces with megaphones.
Chick-fil-A told ABC News that they would instead be focusing on donations to groups that prevent homelessness, hunger, and education, starting next year.
“Beginning in 2020 the Chick-fil-A Foundation will introduce a more focused giving approach, donating to a smaller number of organizations working exclusively in the areas of hunger, homelessness and education,” Chick-fil-A said in a statement Monday.
“We have also proactively disclosed our 2018 tax filing and a preview of 2019 gifts to date on chick-fil-afoundation.org,” the statement continued. “The intent of charitable giving from the Chick-fil-A Foundation is to nourish the potential in every child.”
COO of Chick-fil-A Tim Tassopoulos stated that “no organization will be excluded from future consideration, faith-based or non-faith-based.
Tim Tassopoulos, the president and COO of Chick-fil-A, added that “no organization will be excluded from future consideration, faith-based or non-faith-based.”
“Our goal is to donate to the most effective organizations in the areas of education, homelessness and hunger,” Tassopoulos added.
Chick-fil-A has long been known as a faithful staple in the fast-food industry, having been described as a restaurant that “sells chicken with a side of Christianity” by the Atlantic in 2014.
The restaurant was founded by the late S. Truett Cathy, who opened the first chicken-sandwich stand in an Atlanta mall in 1967. Cathy, a man of faith, made a conscious effort to incorporate Christianity into his business, even putting Bible quotes on the styrofoam sweet-tea cups, and ensuring that stores remained closed on Sabbath, keeping this rule intact long after many other businesses moved away from similar Blue law policies.
In 2012, Cathy was quoted saying that he believes in the “biblical definition of the marriage,” that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. This statement from Cathy, who was 86 at the time, prompted major national attention and controversy.
Cathy’s statement led to a domino effect of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations, starting when a New York woman planned an LGBT kissing event at one of the restaurants. This then led to former U.S. presidential candidate and Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee holding a “Chick-fil-A appreciation day.”
This is all exasperated by Cathy’s frequent funding to the Salvation Army, which LGBT groups have long accused of being anti-LGBT, thanks largely to comments made by one Australian Salvation Army leader who said that gays “should be put to death.”
To this controversy, the Salvation Army has responded, stating:
“It is important to note that the Army around the world immediately rejected those comments and made public statements against them. We stand by the rejection of those comments still. We sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community and to our clients, employees, donors and volunteers for the offence caused by this misrepresentation of the Army’s views.”
In addition, the Salvation Army also has also pointed out that they do not discriminate against anyone in need, regardless if they are LGBT.
“For more than 130 years, The Salvation Army has had the privilege of serving vulnerable people in over 400 communities across Canada. Last year, we helped over 1.8 million people. We assisted people from the LGBTQ community and will continue to do so. And we employ individuals from the LGBTQ community as well.”
The other group Chick-fil-A frequently donated to, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, was subject to extreme backlash after comments regarding their support of the Bible’s definition of traditional marriage, stating:
“God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.”
A Chick-fil-A spokesperson told Reuters that “We made multi-year commitments to both organizations and we fulfilled those obligations in 2018.”
The spokesperson later refused to comment to Reuters on whether the protests influenced the decision to change donations.
Former Prime Minister Kim Campbell has called Wexit “nuts” and that it was created to sow “unnecessary division.”
Speaking to Global News, Campbell stated that “adult” conversations were necessary with policies like equalization, and yet the dialogue has been anything but mature.
“We’re a complex country and we are always going to have issues that need solving,” she added. When Campbell was prompted on Wexit she gave out an incensed screech: “It’s nuts! I’m sorry, it’s a dead-end, so Alberta’s going to separate and that’s going to make it easier to get access to open water? That is a slogan designed to make people angry.”
Campbell’s comments come after the surging support in western separatism deriving from Justin Trudeau’s re-election. Since then, a notable online presence has grown in support of the Wexit movement, and the premiers of western provinces have cautioned Trudeau of the stark consequences of western alienation.
Campbell finished by saying that the Wexit movement “was not how grown-up people address problems … I see this and I think grow up!”
A Twitter search of Campbell’s tweets on Quebec show no similar criticism of the separatist movement in that province.