#TROLLINGTHEGUARDIAN: The Guardian is censoring satirists
A popular parody account has been suspended from Twitter following outrage by one of the largest media outlets in the world. The man behind Shaniqua O’Tool, an account that had over 15,000 followers at the time of suspension, says The Guardian forced Twitter to censor comedy.
He spoke to The Post Millennial to reveal details on the campaign waged by The Guardian against his satirical tweets. While his identity is known to The Post Millennial, it is being withheld for reasons of privacy.
Starting as a Godfrey Elfwick-styled account, the account owner says the Shaniqua O’Tool character was meant to “poke fun at both the far-left and the far-right.” He says the name was inspired by the 2003 single “Shaniqua don’t live here no more” by Little T and One Track Mike.
The account’s owner points out the existence of a Twitter account dedicated to compiling the Guardian’s most meme-able headlines, including one where Guardian columnist Abi Wilkinson suggests the “tears of joy emoji” mocks human suffering.
“Some of [The Guardian’s] headlines bordered on insanity, so I felt it was worthy of satire.” He says. In 2017, he began posting edited Guardian headlines with Shaniqua’s face photoshopped in as the columnist.
Some of Shaniqua’s antics were so indiscernible from authentic Guardian headlines that they attracted the attention of outraged media outlets. Gateway Pundit wrote an article decrying Shaniqua as an “ISIS sympathizer” for her headline on police needing to learn the importance of spotting a “fake suicide vest” before shooting. The Gateway Pundit article, which claimed to have read the non-existent Shaniqua column, was quickly deleted.
“I mocked [Gateway Pundit] for it,” the account owner says, “and when my headlines caught conservative commentator Katie Hopkins off guard, I mocked her for it too.” He says, asserting that his satire was bipartisan. However, he notes that there was a difference in how people of different political orientations handled being the target of his comedy.
“It is a consistent and recurring pattern over the last few years that if you poke fun at conservative or right-leaning people, they tend to just go with the joke or ignore you. If you poke fun at left-wing people, my experience is very different. They report you, verbally attack you, mobilize their followers to report and block, and ensure your name is added as a ‘Nazi’ to block lists.”
On November 29th, 2019, the account received a copyright strike notice from Twitter. The claim was apparently filed by Guardian editor Tom Stevens, who wrote that Shaniqua’s infringement was “pretending to be a Guardian writer. The tweets are fake and offensive.”
The claims were made through Twitter’s copyright system, which is intended to protect the rightful owners of intellectual property. Prior to completing a claim within this system, a complainant must acknowledge that they considered “Fair Use” laws, and accept responsibility for damages in the event they misrepresented fair use material as infringement.
Fair Use is a provision which states that copyrighted work can be utilized if the use is sufficiently transformative. According to the University of Minnesota, transformative content uses original work in a “completely new or unexpected way,” and lists parody as being the clearest example of “transformative content.”
In the case of Shaniqua, the account was not utilizing anything more than the template of Guardian headlines. The headlines themselves, lede, and photo were original.
In 2017, Buzzfeed called Twitter’s copyright system “hair-trigger,” and stated that “a copyright violation from a major media company is the surest way to lose access to one’s account.”
The Guardian filed two subsequent copyright claims on December 2nd, and the account was suspended the same day. In the claim, Guardian editor Tom Stevens writes “Becoming a serious problem now. Please take appropriate action.”
After the news of the Guardian‘s apparent campaign against Shaniqua surfaced, Twitter users began posting their own parodies of Guardian headlines using the hashtag #trollingtheguardian
Prior to getting suspended, the man behind Shaniqua attempted to open dialogue with Guardian media editor Jim Waterson, but his direct messages were not returned.
“He never replied, presumably, because he knew my days on Twitter were numbered.”
While appeals on copyright strikes are possible, the account owner says he was discouraged from doing so as it would mean providing consent for Twitter to share his personal information with The Guardian. Fearing harassment or a lawsuit, he did not appeal.
“It’s clear they don’t like being mocked,” he says, “I was followed en mass by Guardian journalists [the day of my suspension]. Being followed suddenly like that was deeply unnerving. It felt like they were letting me know they were watching me.”
The account owner has filed an appeal with Twitter over the account’s suspension but has not heard back as of publication.
The Post Millennial reached out to The Guardian but has not heard back by the time of publication.
Actor Laurence Fox says that “the wokist is a fundamentally racist bunch.” On BBC’s Question Time, he said that the backlash against Meghan Markle was not racist, and called a woman of colour racist for suggesting that his identity means he can’t discern racism.
“The problem we’ve got with this is that Meghan has agreed to be Harry’s wife,” a woman spoke up from the audience, “and the press has torn her to pieces, and let’s be really clear about what this is, let’s call it by its name: it’s racism.”
He decried her view, saying “It’s not racism, we’re the most tolerant lovely country in Europe.”
“Says a white privileged man,” she shot back.
“It’s so easy to throw the charge of racism at everybody,” Fox replied, “and it’s really starting to get boring.”
“What worries me about your comment,” she said, “is you’re a white privileged male.” A round of audience boos rose up.
Fox was clearly annoyed by her comment. “I can’t help what I am, I was born like this,” he said, “it’s an immutable characteristic, so to call me a white privileged male is to be racist. You’re being racist.”
For this, he was skewered in the press and received death threats. Even after “Equity’s minority ethnic members committee… called on fellow actors to ‘unequivocally denounce’ Laurence Fox for comments he made during an appearance on BBC1’s Question Time,” author Shappi Khorsandi spoke against that denunciation.
And Fox wouldn’t back down. Instead, he took to the airwaves with Julia Hartley-Brewer on Talk Radio’s Breakfast Show this morning to expand upon his views.
It was in talking with Hartley-Brewer that he said “I think there’s racism everywhere but I don’t think we’re a systemically racist country. I don’t see a lot of racism, but then I’m a straight white male.” He went on to say that “identity politics is fundamentally racist as well,” because “it’s about silencing opinion,” and “seeing colour everywhere.”
Fox gave voice to what many people have been thinking, that the language of racism and accusations of bias have jumped the shark. Racism had been a charge that could only be levelled by minority racial groups against dominant racial groups. It was a scourge that needed to be rooted out at the highest levels of power to prevent systemic inequity. This project was undertaken by Civil Rights activists, and that work has continued in all of us. As Fox notes, there is still racism.
But the way to fix that racism is not by categorizing everyone into their own little identity boxes and determining what they are allowed to say or think based on the rights and privileges of that identity. The thing to do is to treat everyone like a human being, capable of having their own thoughts and ideas. People must look for the best in one another, not the worst, and not seek out every opportunity to be offended.
Calling someone a privileged white male, said Fox, is a way of “silencing opinion,” saying “you’re not allowed an opinion, mate, you’re white.” Fox has had enough of it, as have so many people.
There are no identity factors that make someone a bad person. Identity factors, such as race, sex, ethnicity, or sexual orientation should not have value judgements associated with them. For one hot minute, we used to know this. The goal was to look at each other and not parse up individuals into their requisite labels, to not use a person’s external characteristics to determine the worth of their ideas or their rights under the law.
That all turned around with concepts like “valuing differences,” wherein we were supposed to look at the ways in which we were different first, dissect and acknowledge those, before seeking for the ways in which we were the same. How much better it is to find kinship with one another first, before sorting all the ways in which we are different.
Fox’s perspective on racism and identity will most likely continue to be discredited because his identity factors are deemed more essential than his actual perspective. His views are taken with large grains of white cis het male privileged salt. But it’s time to start realizing that the brilliant Civil Rights movement, which told us not to judge someone on the basis of their physical characteristics, has been co-opted by haters who would have us do that very same thing. It doesn’t matter who is being boxed by immutable identity factors and judged by them, it matters that it’s being done at all, and it must stop.
Some stories do have happy endings. Yesterday, we reported on journalist David Leavitt’s mean spirited attempt to shame an innocent Target employee over a mislabelled toothbrush. He even went so far as to call the police because the electric toothbrush wasn’t $0.01.
Well, shortly after the viral moment, Twitter user and notorious meme-maker @CarpeDonktum decided to set up a GoFundMe page to give the Target employee, Tori, a much-needed vacation.
Today, we’ve learned that the fundraising endeavour was a massive success, with over $19,500 raised for Tori to take a break and put this nasty incident behind her.
@CarpeDonktum tweeted today: “I have made contact with #TargetTori, she has received authorization to release 2 photos to verify that we are in contact. I need a representative from @gofundme to contact me to arrange the transfer of control of the account to Tori.”
GoFundMe has arranged the transfer of the funds to Tori and now the story is complete. Happy ending achieved!
David Leavitt, an award-winning multimedia journalist who has worked for CBS, AXS, Yahoo, and others just tried to shame a Target employee over a toothbrush.
Leavitt spotted an Oral-B electric toothbrush that was incorrectly labelled at a list price of $0.01.
When Target manager Tori did not honour the “price,” Leavitt thought it would be a good idea to a) call the police, b) tweet a photo of the manager in an attempt to shame her, c) announces his intentions to sue the company.
“I just had to call the police because @target refused to sell me the toothbrush,” he tweeted.
“I have not been able to afford to go to a dentist in over three years. So yes I wanted a good toothbrush and was thrilled to see such an amazing prize on an @OralB but @target refused to honor it and now I have to take them to court,” he said in a follow-up tweet.
Twitter was quick to respond, defending the Target employee, who was clearly just doing her job. “Dude, please take her photo down. In what universe do you think it’s ok to shame a woman working at @Target because she didn’t sell you a toothbrush for 1cent? Calling the cops was bizarre, too. It’s an obvious labelling error, she did her job.” said Sky News’ Rita Panahi
“Leave the girl out of this and take down her picture. You’re a bad person for doing this to her,” Bridget Phetasy added.
Popular Twitter personality Imam of Peace was not impressed, and exposed that Leavitt was lying about not seeing a dentist in three years:
This isn’t Leavitt’s first attempt to shame an employee at a retail store. In December 2018, he pulled a similar stunt by targeting a Wal-Mart Assistant Manager.
It’s also not Leavitt’s first experience being ratioed. In 2017, Leavitt tweeted a truly tasteless joke about the Manchester terrorist bombing that killed 22 people.
This most recent bizarre Twitter outburst has led many to ponder what one Twitter user put quite succinctly: “WTF is wrong with David Leavitt?”
The Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) is no stranger to controversy, but it was still a bit of a surprise to have their New York event on Cancelled Women cancelled by the New York Public Library (NYPL). The event is going ahead, and if you’re in New York tonight you should come check it out, but you’ll have to reserve a ticket to find out where.
Women always find a way to get around barriers put in place to keep them out, and women who have been locked out in one way or another are more than capable of picking themselves up, dusting themselves off, and starting again.
In this case, the event, An Evening with Cancelled Women, was booked into a room at the New York Public Library. All was moving along as planned, until the night before the deposit was due, WoLF Board Chair Natasha Chart received an email from the NYPL saying that the booking was cancelled. No reason was given. And the irony, of course, is plain: an event about cancelled women was cancelled.
It will never cease to amaze me how threatened people are by women, getting together in libraries, to talk. Drag queens in full costume reading to and occasionally flashing children is fine, but women talking about their experiences? Absolutely not.
Libraries in Vancouver, Seattle, and Toronto have been protested for hosting talks by gender critical feminists, but those libraries have not caved to pressure the way the NYPL has. As a long-time lover of the NYPL, its beautiful research and reading rooms, its exhibits, history, massive archive, and dedication to scholarship, this was both hugely disappointing and surprising.
The root of all this is the continued divide in feminism over whether or not biological sex is a fantastical concept, or simply an unalterable aspect of reality. Transgender ideology has taken hold of our culture and it refuses to let go. But the truly crazy thing is that most people don’t actually believe that surgeries, hormone treatments, and wishing really hard can change your sex. Instead, people just say that they do in order to not hurt trans people’s feelings.
The women who will be featured at the event include Dominique Christina, Posie Parker, Meghan Murphy, Linda Bellos, Natasha Chart, and myself. All of these women are outspoken about their unwillingness to accept trans women as women, balk at the term cis, refuse to allow women’s spaces to be overrun with men, and reveal the truth about the butchering being done to children in the name of transgender lies.
They have been harassed and derided for these views before, and for the most part would rather not have to talk about it all the time. But so much of women’s experience is being erased under the guise of trans acceptance. Language about women and women’s bodies is being altered to include male-bodied persons—pregnant woman is now pregnant person, the word mother is now an identity and not a verb, even menstrual products are being rebranded to eliminate references to women. Women’s sports are inclusive of men who say they are women, leading to men winning women’s championship titles in cycling, track & field, and that’s just the beginning, as the IOC has opened the doors for trans women to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Women are expected to sit back and quietly take it, whatever is thrown at them, to acquiesce, to give in, and they are threatened when they don’t. These women have proven that they will not be silenced, and the more people that want them to shut up, the louder they will speak. Erasing and cancelling women may be the going trend, but we’re not going to accept it just because trans activists want us to.