I am pissed off because Laci Green, one of the most promising young content creators on YouTube, has been forced off the Internet by death threats—apparently driven by her casual use of the word “tranny” in a video she made more than three years ago. (She apologized and even took down the video.)
Laci makes wonderful, hilarious, sex-positive videos that have been tremendously helpful to millions of people (including me). She makes people feel less alone and less ashamed. She’s wonderful, and YouTube and tumblr are very lucky to have her, and we should all be really pissed that her ability to make stuff has been compromised by threats.
Here’s the truth, although we don’t say it often: You want to know why there are so few women in the Top 100 most viewed lists on YouTube? Because women are far more likely to be stalked, threatened, and attacked on the Internet, and they are far more likely to see those attacks move from cyber-bullying to real life threats, which too often forces them to abandon their work and their audiences.
I’ve been making videoblogs for more than five years, and I have a large audience, and a few overeager fans have found out where I live over the years, and you know what they’ve done about it? They’ve left me candy. Now, to be clear, I was still very uncomfortable and freaked out by this. But they didn’t send me death threats with pictures of my apartment building the way they’ve done to Laci.
And Laci is not alone. Most of the women I’ve known from YouTube—from those with 5,000 subscribers to those with 500,000—have dealt with harassment and stalking, and it has affected their ability to create stuff.
It’s not acceptable. It’s not acceptable to respond to a transphobic comment with a threat to kill someone. It’s not acceptable to harass and stalk women because you want their attention. And it’s not acceptable to use threats and intimidation to silence women you disagree with.
YouTube and tumblr should respond aggressively to these reports, and we need stronger laws to combat this crap, because I’m tired of seeing brilliant women driven away from the Internet by trolls with nothing to contribute.