A couple of days ago, you see, a Redditor with a nine-day-old account posted a story to r/menrights detailing the alleged ill-treatment he’d gotten at the hands of a vengeful ex-wife and an unsympathetic family court system. The story was filled with literally unbelievable details – among other things, he claimed to have been rendered homeless by the demands of the court, forced to pay $1000 a month in spousal support to his ex though she had a $60,000 a year job. Some commenters challenged the veracity of the tale – while the OP gave a case number in his post, no one has been able to find evidence that a case with that number actually exists. (The OP has not responded to the skeptics.)
But most of the respondents assumed the story was true. And why not? It seemed to reinforce every paranoid MRA fantasy of evil women and courts out of control. Despite its fishiness, the post got more than 700 net upvotes.
And that’s where the ugliness began. Not content to merely offer the man sympathy and advice, many commenters started talking murder, and some of the most violent comments got dozens of upvotes.
While these particular comments were deleted by the mods (you can find them in the comment histories of Volcris and graffiti81, where you’ll see they each got many more upvotes than shown above before they were deleted), other violent comments remained up, many of them receiving upvotes as well. Here are some screenshots of some of them.
Here’s PacoBedejo, with nearly two dozen net upvotes for a comment seconding the burn-them-and-kill-them suggestion.
Speaking of arson and murder, here’s ErasmusMRA offering a not-quite-endorsement of the terrorist manifesto of Thomas Ball, an MRA who burned himself to death in front of a New Hampshire courthouse in hopes that his death would inspire other men to firebomb courthouses and police stations in protest of allegedly anti-male courts.
Here’s wazooasiteverwas relating the allegedly true story of a friend who solved the problem of an unfair divorce settlement with double murder:
What a shock that the alleged double murder has given the kids a “bad impression” of their dad.
This comment from Synackaon’s directly advocating murder was downvoted and deleted. (You can still find it in his comment history.)
Yet this comment of his offering an only slightly veiled advocacy of violence remains up, and has gotten dozens of upvotes:
TheIrish7 tries to avoid the charge of misogyny by not-quite-justifying gender-neutral violence:
Arx0s contends that if he were in a similar situation he would stop short of actual murder:
This strange and elusive comment from Syn_Ick seems to suggest that the Men’s Rights movement can’t succeed unless and until it becomes socially acceptable for men to physically assault women.
There are many more such comments in the thread; I don’t have have the time or the patience to screencap and post them all. You can find more collected in r/againstmensrights, or by going through the thread itself.
Now, not all of those advocating (or not-quite-advocating) violence or murder in this thread are r/mensrights regulars. But some of the worst comments come from one very active r/mensrights commenter who has advocated violence against family court judges in the past: Demonspawn. (I’ve written about his threatening remarks in the past here and here.) Here are some of his contributions to the, er, debate (Each comment is from a different part of the thread; click on the images to go to each original comment in context.)
Given that advocating violence is against the rules in r/mensrights, and that Demonspawn has been advocating violence fairly regularly for some time, you might wonder why he is still allowed to post in the subreddit. I sent a note to the Men’s Rights mods, and got this response from the top mod:
This gives you some idea of how seriously the mods or r/mensrights take the issue of violence.
The phrase “digging your own hole” comes to mind.
If you want to see what happens when people turn to violence to “solve” disputes with partners or exes, see here.
(Thanks to Cloudiah for the first screenshot and for pointing me to many of the other comments linked to here.)