My friend Giacomo runs the site Orthodoxy in Dialogue, which has quickly become the standard bearer for LGBTQ+ people gaining acceptance in the Orthodox Church. And this has made him a target for a fundamentalist contingent which has a lot in common with MAGAs, many modern white Evangelical/Fundamentalist churches, and a certain anti-Francis segment of the Catholic Church.
We have learned a lot about gender variations over the past 2000 years, things which people just didn’t know back when the Bible was written, just as with human reproduction (people used to think there were little men in sperm) and astronomy. If the Church truly is not against science, then it has to admit when it’s pushing views that are hopelessly antiquated. But some people are against any kind of change even when it’s desperately needed.
Many of us want people to be allowed to marry whoever they want and stay in full communion. This isn’t about allowing licentiousness or promiscuity or pedophilia in the church–homophobic tropes where people just assume if you’re gay, you must be in favor of these things as well. Society in general has been moving toward acceptance, but some just want to drag us backwards again.
For several years, Giacomo Sanfilippo has been subject to various attacks for trying to change hearts in the Orthodox churches so they can be safe spaces for believers who are LGBTQ+. He’s been slandered, libeled, sued for defamation, and now he’s been doxxed on Twitter. They’re trying to get him in trouble with his bishop. It’s being done by a group of people who claim to be “Christian” and call him and his allies “wolves.”
But I’ve seen a sample of their behavior online, and–to paraphrase John Fugelsang–I’ve seen atheists who are better Christians than these people. They have no idea what Christianity is. They’re the pack of wolves. They harass, troll, abuse, and give Christ a black eye with everything they do. They need to get off the frickin’ Twitter, sit down with the Red Letters of Christ, and come to repentance for the hate that fills their hearts, because right now it’s Satan they’re serving, not God.
Several years ago, I wrote a bunch of posts about trolls invading my blog and Twitter and harassing and/or spying on me because I made friends with their target, S, who they accuse of being a woman named JO instead of a man. After several years of blogging about abuse and checking out other abuse blogs across the web, I grew to sense the difference between an actual abuse victim telling her story, and a slander site. There were sites about S set up by the trolls, but they all looked like fake slander sites. That, and their harassment of anyone with an alternate point of view–their refusal to let anyone come to a different conclusion–looked like high school mean girls trying to turn the whole school against their target. To this day, they are obsessed, and it’s been seven years at least. I wanted to see a serious journalistic piece on this, but nobody ever bothered with it but the tabloids, and you know they make crap up all the time.
For years I felt pretty lonely, being the only one sticking up for S, at least that I could see. Sometimes other people did, but then they’d vanish, driven away by the trolls. I was the One Who Stood Up to Them. But now, a lot more people are joining in. In the intervening years, S has been posting all sorts of podcasts, videos, and now Twitter Spaces. I’ve spoken with him on the phone. He has a girlfriend of a few years, and yeah, they’ve actually met! She repeatedly says they’ve been to each other’s houses and met each other’s children. I’ve even texted to both of them.
Her real identity is a secret, but a few of us know who she is. We heard them on podcasts together and got to interact with her and S on Spaces when she still had a Twitter account–and yes, S’s voice is that of a man. They interact like people who know each other well.
Every now and then they’ll break up, and I’ll think, “Now she’ll start telling everyone that she was catfished.” But that never happens. Her story never changes. They’ve been together as either friends or dating for a few years.
THESE ARE REAL PEOPLE.
S has also met a family friend of the Browns. The trolls were merciless to her, too, back in ’15 and ’16, but she stood her ground, never changed her story that he’s for real.
Then there’s the businessowner on Yelp who said she set up the tech for his company and they were all nice, especially S.
S just got through yet another spate of troll attacks, new people duped by the trolls and fake hate sites and tabloid stories. But more people nowadays just aren’t having it. They yelled back. They blocked and reported.
You guys do realize that tabloids and “reality” shows are full of fakery, right? Especially TLC–They should be called The Lying Channel. Breaking Amish, Amish Mafia–they have a terrible track record of making crap up and telling us that’s “reality.” For example, one of the Breaking Amish seasons told us that a character (might as well call her that) was a witch with an abusive Amish husband. She was portrayed as trying to sleep with some of the guys in the group and getting jealous when they didn’t give her attention. The actress (might as well call her that) was actually just married, and very happily, to her NOT Amish soulmate, and probably wasn’t even a witch. There have been a lot of other transgressions from that show over the years, which have been attested to by the people on the show, and well documented.
And Sister Wives won’t stop telling us that Meri was “catfished,” though I noticed they stopped using S’s name after he threatened to sue. Every time the show comes on again (the new season is just finishing up), the trolls come out again, and they used the “catfish” word quite a bit on last week’s episode. When S does something to draw attention, the trolls come out again. It’s frustrating for him, as much as he tries and tries to ignore them. He makes new online friends, the trolls tell them he’s a catfish, and he loses the friends. He keeps having to show his driver’s license to Twitter staff to prove that he is who he says he is. Seven years after a painful breakup, he’s still dealing with the aftermath.
I get so sick of it myself, especially since the trolls terrorized me five years ago now, then again four years ago. I had to stop going to their accounts to report them, because just seeing their tweets (especially if they mentioned me) would send me back into a tailspin into the darkness. I had to just block them instead. This time around, I was able to laugh at one of the new trolls, especially when he said that the girlfriend was really a fake catfish account. He accused yet another person of being a fake account, and she told him the truth, which led to him apologizing. !!!
Over the years, I’ve seen my own proofs, things I don’t post about. But aside from meeting, nothing compares to actually talking with a person and someone that person knows in real life. At least two people confirm that they’ve met him.
Things are getting better now. It feels good to be vindicated. Now let’s vindicate S. Tell the truth, Meri: Make these trolls look to the world like the fools they are, be honest with Kody and your sister wives about what happened between you and S, and move the frick on already. S is a good guy and deserves peace.
Six years I’ve been following him online, and he’s never been predatory with me. I’ve gotten answers to many questions. These trolls, on the other hand, who insist he’s fake, obsess over him, apparently spend every waking hour harassing him and digging up whatever information they can find on his friends. They send him disgusting pictures, made sexualized comments to the family friend of the Browns, and will even harass any family members or friends they can find of S’s friends. Even when you don’t want to be found, they will search for you and your private information. They dug through my blog using the Wayback Machine and VPN’s after I blocked them. I occasionally get peculiar “friend” requests on social media even though I don’t use my real name out on the Interwebs; one was especially scary and mimicked a friend’s account with bad spelling. These trolls are the very definition of Stalker, with vile and frightening behavior, yet they keep convincing people that they have the “facts” and are good people just warning others.
I see this happen elsewhere, too. It seems common among any Twitter account with a bit of fame. For example, people accuse David Weissman of being a different kind of catfish because of a group of trolls that goes after him. Groups of people make it their life’s work to harass and stalk and accuse people of awful things, like a group that harassed the guy who plays Jamie on the Outlander TV series. My favorite online DJ is regularly attacked in the website shoutbox. Even being a public figure, when everybody knows your full name and sees you on TV, doesn’t protect you from such vileness. And private citizens certainly don’t all want to put their full names and photographs and drivers’ licenses on the Internet just to prove they are who they say they are! That doesn’t make them catfish. You can’t just go to some tabloid or hate site and assume it’s telling you the truth.
The trolls, of course, got upset with my exposing their tweets to the world the other night, as was expected. I discovered a new (to me) troll account in my notifications the next day, with a whole bunch of scolding tweets. Instead of reading them, I blocked her (which made them all vanish) and reported her.
Just trying to choose five tweets while reporting her to Twitter Support was nerve-wracking. These people are monsters. If she thinks I’ll read all her book-long tweets to/about me, she’s deluded.
While glancing over and choosing the five tweets, I noted that these (and other) trolls complain about their “targets” asking for help reporting them. They remind me of Trump and his cries of “presidential harassment.”
Victims of Twitter bullying often find that Twitter Support is no help, so they need to ask their friends in an attempt to get Twitter to pay more attention. This is our survival mechanism–so of course the bullies try to turn it around on us, gaslight us, and project their own harassment onto us, for using the best means we have to get online justice.
Oh yeah, and then there’s the concern trolling I saw in those tweets. “She blocks us for telling her the truth!” No, I block you for being a bunch of bullies and a$$holes who can’t accept that other people can come to different conclusions than the ones you want them to…
And I block you for being creepy. Like, seriously creepy. Frickin’ stalkers who go digging for info on complete strangers.
One said to me yesterday, “We know everything about you,” and used my first name for her Twitter handle. These trolls have done this to me before–specifically “Darcy,” three years ago. It only confirms that they found my Facebook back then and were the ones sending me at least some of the weird friend requests coming in back during that time.
And yet–I never gave them my real name. I never connect it to my online handle. I don’t know how they got it.
Why bring these things to light? Why bring their wrath on my head every time I expose them for what they are? Because these trolls have hurt a LOT of people over the past five years; a few of the people hurt are my friends.
People who do their best to track you down and learn “everything about you” when you refuse to give them that information, are stalkers, and no one to give any sort of credibility to.
That’s the kind of people these trolls are: bullies, stalkers, bunny boilers, psychopaths, abusers. They’ve hurt countless people over the past 5 years with their harassment campaigns and refusal to allow people to come to their own conclusions.
This is what narcissists do to keep their victims under control. By refusing to play along, we thwart them and their schemes over their victims. By refusing to play along with the trolls, I become a threat to the triangulation campaign they have been running for years. And by keeping my own mind, I’ve watched their claims fall to pieces–same as with everyone else who’s tried to control me in the past.
These trolls keep trying to bring me down because I’m a threat to them. By standing up to them, I take their power away. And that makes them angry, so they have to find ways to make me feel frightened or small.
You know what? So what. The more abusers try to shut me up, the louder I say it. I proved this to Richard and Tracy eight years ago. The more these trolls try to scare and ridicule me, the more I speak out.
Lots of people have deleted tweets and closed accounts to get these trolls off their backs. I just keep blogging and tweeting. (From my grandpa’s eulogy, it runs in the family. I also have Scottish ancestry: They’re fighters.) Same thing on Facebook: Most comments are supportive, but I get laughs and snarks as well on my political posts. But that just makes me post more because our democracy is at stake and I’m trying to wake people up to it.
A group of trolls has convinced themselves that I’m somebody else. Cleverness is not their strong point.
I have extensively documented these trolls who have targeted my blog and me in the past. You can find the stories in the Troll Archives.
I’ve now discovered that these people are convinced I’m somebody else. There is opinion and there is fact; my identity is provable fact. They are wrong and are committing defamation and libel, because they also accuse this other person of being a catfish, meaning they also are accusing ME of being a catfish now.
Now, I have always used handles on the Internet, to keep Internet Wackos from tracking me down to my place of residence etc. But I have never claimed to be somebody I’m not, have never catfished anybody. And I most certainly am not named “Jackie.” The last time I even knew a person with that name, was back in college, 25 years ago. Also, I have always lived in the Great Lakes area, while Jackie has always lived down South.
Um–What? I told my college friends how supposedly we didn’t actually do this thing that college kids don’t do, even though we did. We had a good laugh over it.
I started this thread; Anastasia’s usual target Sam responded; I guess that was enough to bring in Anastasia:
For a couple of weeks, I didn’t know Anastasia had crawled into the thread, since I’d blocked her. Then I found her scolding my friend Sam, whom this group of trolls has accused for five years of being “Jackie.” Since Anastasia is now accusing me of that, too, along with other people such as Kate, I said Anastasia sees Jackie in her breakfast cereal. She responded, “Good one, Jackie!”
Other trolls came in. One is Anastasia’s alternate account; I don’t know who the other two are. This is just a couple of the tweets:
One account was new to me; I discovered it today. The other ones were all blocked already, so I blocked her. It was NOT Anastasia, who was already blocked (you can click “view anyway” to see an account you’ve blocked). I posted:
This felt like a good time to finally demonstrate to one of my friends (who was in the thread) that he’s not alone, because he has his own trolls threatening him on Twitter, Facebook and online. I once told him about the trolls who targeted me, when he mentioned that I’d need to use my real name if I wrote an article for his blog. But it seems that Anastasia has to make everything about her. And apparently she’s using a different browser to check the thread, because all these trolls are supposed to be unable to see my replies, since they’re blocked. So while I was posting to my friend, Anastasia began posting:
If you’re so bored, why do you keep hanging around harassing innocent people? They’ve gone after a multitude of accounts the past five years, accusing them of being “Jackie,” even when a simple profile check will tell you it’s not.
What, stop tweeting to my own thread? You realize you didn’t create this thread and are not the only one on it? Or do you mean Kate–who, by the way, had only just replied the first time?
I began pulling in friends who know who I am; most through my Facebook account, but you can tell it’s “real” because my family connections and friends from all the way back to Kindergarten are on there. I’ve had it for ten years; you can find all my contact info, life history, etc. on there. Which is why I never post my real name out on the Interwebs, and have all sensitive bits of my Facebook profile closed to anyone but friends.
One of the people I pulled in was my college roommate. I would’ve loved to pull in another friend from my current church, but he has unfortunately taken his Twitter account down.
Now, all these people have lives and apparently didn’t see my pings, but any of them could tell these trolls they’re full of bull ?. Meanwhile, Anastasia just kept going, digging herself further and further into her pit of stupidity:
So–It’s entertaining for you to falsely accuse someone and then watch them get upset about it and counter with the truth? You really look like a bunch of psychopaths.
Excuse me, what? You are wrong. So how exactly did I prove you right?
And BTW, EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD still calls it “trolls.” People in Asia probably call it “trolls.” You–don’t even know what reality is.
I go off for an hour or so to shake off the ? show, while I get some chores done etc., and come back to this:
Stop with the replies to MY OWN THREAD and MY OWN FRIENDS? YOU’RE the interloper.
This episode, by the way, is an excellent example of why you can’t trust trolls–especially these trolls–of telling you the truth about people. In the 3 years I’ve been on Twitter, I’ve seen lots of examples of trolls trying to “bring down” some Twitter account by telling the “truth” about it, or questioning its veracity. Yet these accounts have already been proven to be real, one way or another.
Also, this particular group of trolls, when accusing Jackie of being a catfish and a myriad of Twitter accounts of being Jackie, gives as “evidence” what appears to be tabloid trash, or their own webpages and memes. Sam understandably went into hiding online, burying identifying information, because these are the sort of people who showed up where they thought Jackie was living.
Meanwhile, my own checking of the criminal records of the Jackie they accuse, pulled up nothing but an unpaid traffic ticket. I checked it again just now, in fact, and that’s still all there was.
They claim that fellow troll “MM” reported Jackie to the FBI. But if Sam is really “Jackie,” then why is Sam’s account still posting online freely, and Jackie not in jail for all these supposed crimes reported to the FBI TWO and a HALF YEARS ago? (With them identifying Jackie and her address, it should’ve been an open and shut case–IF it were true.) If Sam’s a woman, then who is this man doing Sam’s podcast? And wouldn’t his girlfriend know he was actually a woman, considering that she’s visited him (I have verified both this and her identity)?
Meanwhile, these trolls are cackling away at being so clever, when they’ve actually been very, very stupid.
Update: Now a different troll is trying to doxx me and tell me they know all about me. Which shows what psychopaths they all are, playing mind games like this. It also shows exactly how credible they are. Keep that in mind when you hear the rumors that they spread, or any other trolls you encounter online. In the meantime, please go into that thread if you have a Twitter, and report them all.
Though to my great relief, they started to leave me alone, they still harass their usual target, “S,” to this day. They accuse him of being a catfish who’s really a woman named JO–an accusation perpetuated by a reality show which has been playing along to hide a scandal (while S insists on exposing the whole thing to reclaim his good name). It’s all very Kafkaesque.
Meanwhile, S and I became friends, especially after the trolls targeted me.
Well, I have witnessed S’s gradual opening up online to the public. He has a blog and a Twitter account; he has revealed more about himself to the world over time, including photographs and a podcast.
But his reticence to give out personal information is understandable when he’s being stalked. You’ll note I don’t give out my personal identifying information out on the Interwebs, either, not even pictures! Lots of bloggers and Tweeters use photograph avatars, but not me. Whenever people click on my own About Me sections, they find pictures I drew of fictional characters or myself when I was young–but never a photograph. And certainly no real names. There are creepy people out there on the Net, ya know.
The other day, I finally got a chance to listen to S’s podcast, which for me was the final proof, because there was his (male) voice and a real person (verified) interacting with him; he said on the podcast that she’s come to visit him a few times. Someone loosely connected to the reality show also claims to have met him.
The trolls tried to make him out to be some scary person who preys on others–but he’s actually very sweet. He certainly never preyed on me. The only people behaving in any kind of frightening manner, were the trolls.
While the trolls stalked me three years ago, one of them, M, sent me an e-mail which frightened and appalled me very much–especially since I had no idea she even knew about me or was watching my Twitter. She was now “against” the other trolls, even though she was still trolling and harassing S. I tried to find out more about her, and posted something on Twitter about what I found–and she sent me this message in my blog Feedback:
Hey I’m M that the “trolls” target on Twitter. By trolls I mean “S’s” trolls. To be fair, “S” a.k.a. JO targets me as well. I can briefly explain what’s going on from my perspective, I hope. FIRST of all, “S” and “L” are not real. Period. Both are played by JO. There’s many videos on YouTube that I’ve put up regarding this catfish scenario, and I use to run a blog about the catfish and her blog posts/twitter updates. It was all in fun. Until the trolls began to shame JO for being heavy and/or gay. I at that point began documenting their behavior and displaying it on my blog. Specifically their Twitter behaviors. I’ve been keeping an eye on the happenings of both JO and the trolls for months due to some legal stuff coming up. Believe me, once it’s over you’ll hear about to what I’m referring. Anyhow I noticed the trolls had also targeted you and it looks like recently you said they accused you of being me. You referenced me as unsavory? I am not cut of the same cloth as those trolls hence why I’m their target. I don’t care if you do or don’t believe “S” is real. It’s your life and that’s not my business. I’m not involved in this lame drama to educate anyone. I have no twitter account currently as I deleted mine almost a year ago. I just want you to know that people are documenting the “troll” behavior for a greater good and soon I imagine you will see exactly what I mean. I hope they leave you alone but be careful, they are not your normal trolls and will attempt to bleed the online drama into your real life.
Hm. This looks even more bizarre now, and M’s hints at coming “legal stuff” turned out to be nothing more than M trying to threaten and slap people with restraining orders. I could see in online court records that the restraining orders never really went anywhere.
Meanwhile, JO has nothing of consequence on her criminal record, certainly nothing connected to any kind of scam or predatory behavior, which would be amazing if she truly did all that she’s accused of by these trolls.
There was even a stunt where the trolls pretended M was dead, but she’s still alive–Either that, or Wisconsin now allows ghosts to vote with a valid ID. (Wisconsin makes voting records easy-peasy to check.)
The funny thing is that re-reading and posting M’s message still gave me the shakes 3 years later. Notice how she distances herself from the other trolls even though she was originally one of them–“Well, I am not like them!” I remember posting after this that I wanted no more contact from trolls. M had sent me several other messages with fake names, so it also scared me to see that SHE was the anonymous person I thought was a friend.
Another point that scared me was the end, that “they are not your normal trolls and will attempt to bleed the online drama into your real life.” This also went along with other scary things about the trolls that she had written in her anonymous messages to me. That made me even more frightened of the trolls at the time.
Shortly after this, another troll even posted this comment:
Nyssa I’m sorry that I have been targeting you to tell you S is a scammer. U are right he does exist. I’ll tell my twitter trolls to leave ya alone now.
Another troll said she was lying, but I kept the comment up to kind of rub it in the trolls’ faces. You can see it here.
Fortunately, that all died down for me, but they have a new target now, the person I mentioned above who was on the podcast with S. She knows S personally, but the trolls have been hounding her about him being a catfish. She validated me, making me feel like any normal person would be frightened of what they did–that I wasn’t just being hysterical. I can also help her now.
It’s good to have other people to talk to who know what it’s like. That helped me after the Richard/Tracy breakup at the beginning of this decade, talking to someone else they treated the same way: Todd. It validates your experiences and emotions, makes you feel like you’re normal and your abuser is the problem.
I didn’t post M’s e-mail before, probably because I was so frightened at the time. But now that S has proven himself to the world, I have more courage to pull out this bit of the story from where it had been hidden away for so long–and maybe, by doing so, I can heal myself. Also, I’m amazed to see that the three-year anniversary of this ? show is on Monday, so this can commemorate!
I’m turning off comments because the trolls may still come in here. After all, they still watch me sometimes, as I can see every time I post something on here about them.