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Racists, trolls and idiots launch Twitter campaign to smear John Oliver as racist

John Oliver’s campaign for Net Neutrality is facing some interference

HAPPY UPDATE: Looks like this little bit of hashtag activism despicable trollish smearing has collapsed; the hashtag is pretty much dead as of now. (5/11/17, noonish Chicago time)

On last Sunday’s episode of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver once again rallied his fans to stand up for Net Neutrality, now under threat from the Trump administration, urging them to visit Gofccyourself.com, a site that links directly to the FCC page for public comment on the proposed change.

And so some of the worst people on the Internet have launched a new Twitter campaign to smear Oliver as racist — and get him fired. 

“Er, what?” you might be wondering.

Well, it turns out that Trump’s newly appointed FCC head is of Indian descent. And the FCC site has been hit with a flood of racist comments attacking him.

The Washington Free Beacon, a right-wing rag the Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf once described as a “decadent and unethical” part of the “ascendant ‘smear wing’ of the conservative movement” has decided that Oliver is personally to blame.

John Oliver’s “grassroots” activism against Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai is full of bot accounts, fake comments, and death threats against the chairman. ….

However, an analysis of comments to Pai’s Restoring Internet Freedom filing, which Oliver has dubbed “Go FCC yourself,” shows thousands of comments using fake names and bots posing as “Jesus Christ,” “Michael Jackson,” “Homer Simpson,” and “Melania Trump.”

For instance, as of Tuesday evening, there were 1,761 comments filed under the name “John Oliver,” 998 separate comments using the name “Yoni Schwartz,” and 611 comments filed using “1” as the name. …

Pai also received death threats in several submissions. …

Other comments used racial attacks against Pai, the son of Indian immigrants.

Now some of the Internet’s worst people have seized upon this article (and a similar one in the right-wing Daily Caller) as an excuse to attack Oliver as the supposed instigator of this racist harassment campaign against Pai.

https://twitter.com/GasJaredKushner/status/862449448017952768

https://twitter.com/rockie_springer/status/862413212427456517

https://twitter.com/JimMcNulty8/status/862446902398332928

https://twitter.com/uliw315/status/862396353426731008

https://twitter.com/DeplorableSammm/status/862389346816720897

https://twitter.com/RosalynJBurgess/status/862390076596248576

https://twitter.com/dreamedofdust/status/862385631141539841

https://twitter.com/DeportSJWs/status/862386470509658112

I guess staying on message is harder than it seems.

Alongside all the Pepes and Deplorables, the hashtag is currently being spammed by dozens (hundreds?) of egg accounts all tweeting the same thing; it’s not clear who’s responsible for this.

The instigator and main organizer of the Twitter campaign? Alt-right “journalist” and infamous internet troll Jack Posobiec.

https://twitter.com/JackPosobiec/status/862370548063633416

https://twitter.com/JackPosobiec/status/862400904523374592

https://twitter.com/PutinsHacker/status/862404791003222016

https://twitter.com/Nik_Kirtane/status/862392588304777216

That last accusation from Posobiec — that Oliver was “making fun of the way foreigners talk” — is especially pungent bullshit, by the way. In the video that Posobiec links to in his Tweet as evidence, Oliver gently chides some of India’s more sensationalistic cable news channels, not by mocking how anyone talks but by pointing out the the ways in which they resemble Fox News. One of the channels he mocks? CNN India, for a misleading headline.

Posobiec, who works for Canada’s Rebel Media, was recently granted a White House press pass. Because that’s the kind of world we live in today.

Now, there are just a few teensy problems with the #FireOliver campaign.

John Oliver is not actually racist. He said nothing even vaguely racist in his Net Neutrality segment on Sunday, nor did he in any way encourage his viewers to launch racist attacks, or even personal attacks, on Pai.

There is absolutely no proof that Oliver has any connection to the troll accounts or the hate campaign, nor does he have any history of using trolls or bots. 

You know who DOES have a history positively overflowing with trolls and bots?

Jack Posobiec.

You remember the massive leak of hacked emails from the campaign of current French President-elect Emmanuel Macron? Posobiec was the key person responsible for spreading the hacked data on social media in the West.

Sandy Garossino, writing in Canada’s National Observer, notes that Posobiec has been identified by cyber-security experts

as the origin of the first tweet linking a massive cache of Russian-hacked documents dumped onto the conspiracy website 4chan. He attached the hashtag #MacronLeaks. …

The #MacronLeaks hashtag, from the moment Posobiec tweeted it, was the primary social media propellant of the hacked Macron data, according to cyber-intelligence analysts at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab. They also concluded that bots played a significant role from the outset. Some 40 minutes later, Wikileaks tweeted the link with Posobiec’s hashtag, and the Internet erupted.

The appearance of bot activity, observed independently by both the DFRL and Belgian academic Nicolas Vanderbiest, from the first minutes after Posobiec’s tweet, strongly suggests a planned and coordinated campaign.

(For what it’s worth, Posobiec says he had nothing to do with the bots.)

As Garossino goes on to point out, Posobiec was also heavily involved in promoting the #Pizzagate nonsense as well as on last month’s #SyriaHoax campaign. Working alongside internet troll and steroid enthusiast Mike Cernovich, Posobiec helped to promote the

Russian-led social media propaganda campaign that claimed footage of children dying from Assad’s chemical weapons was a hoax.

Analysts expert in propaganda and social media at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism at The Hague identified the #SyriaHoax as “a clear example of a Russian influence campaign designed to undermine US credibility.”

Both [Posobiec and Cernovich] picked up the hashtag early and propelled it through U.S. social media … .

You may also recall the “Rape Melania”sign that appeared at an anti-Trump rally last year. Though most assumed it was the work of anti-Trump protesters, Buzzfeed later uncovered text messages proving that the sign was in fact the work of, yes, Posobiec, who was attempting to make Trump’s opponents look bad

Huh. That sounds … familiar, huh?

Oh, and one other thing about the supposed pot by Oliver to bombard FCC boss Pai with racist comments and threats: Not only is there no evidence for it, but the very idea makes no sense. Why would Oliver, whose last campaign to protect Net Neutrality was a notable success, decide this time to launch a racist harassment campaign that would only serve to make him and other supporters of Net Neutrality look bad?

And while I’m playing Colombo here, there’s one more thing about the FCC thing that seems a bit off: The FCC says that on Sunday night, the night Oliver’s show aired, it was hit with distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks intended to overload the FCC’s comment system.

The Washington Free Beacon story seems to insinuate that Oliver was behind these as well. This of course would be absurd. Oliver’s campaign depends on people being able to reach the FCC site so they can leave comments there. Why would he launch a DDoS attack that could knock the site offline, or at least make it harder to reach?

My guess is that whoever is behind the harassment campaign is also behind the DDoS attack. And that it’s not Oliver.

So is Posobiec the secret mastermind behind the harassment campaign? There’s no evidence — at least none that I know of — for this. But he’s certainly working overtime trying to blame Oliver for it, and spreading demonstrable lies about Oliver in the process.

I guess this is just what right-wing “journalism” looks like in the age of Trump.

EDITED TO ADD: I added the stuff about Posobiec and the infamous “Rape Melania” sign after being reminded of the incident by @EyesOnTheRight.

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PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
5 years ago

All your worst nightmares are about to begin. Muahahaha.

Ah, Petra is one of those revenge fantasy “You’ll be soooooooooooorry!” trolls.

ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Brony, Social Justice Cenobite

@Petra Pumpkineater
What makes you think anyone here would do any of your hypothetical examples? They have no connection to anyone here that I can see.

Where did that or any Salon article say it’s not rape under the circumstances you mention? This is nothing more than an indirect accusation that we are unprincipled and you have not identified a violation of principle, only assumed on rhetorically.

To what “anti- first amendment activity” do you refer?

This all looks like free association exercises on your part.

leftwingfox
leftwingfox
5 years ago

Did you even read that twitter feed you mentioned Petra? Because it’s Pro-Trump; talking about him acting like a #Boss. (Seems to have ended last March though)

leftwingfox
leftwingfox
5 years ago

Troubelle: My circle of friends has become addicted to Ark: Survival Evolved lately. I figured out how to run a dedicated server off an old computer, so we could turn off friendly fire and run the game only when we’re playing. Between that and single-player, it’s taken over my freaking life lately.

PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
5 years ago

To what “anti- first amendment activity” do you refer?

Maybe Trump and his administration wanting to revisit the 1st to make it easier to silence his media critics?

dreemr
dreemr
5 years ago

@Petra – you realize that we have transpeople, men, and mothers of boys right here in these very comment threads, right?

I don’t know how long you have been following WHTM, but the rights and plights of men and boys have been mentioned and discussed many, many times, far too numerous to mention. Many of us particularly work to undo the harms of toxic masculinity that serves to shove so many men and boys into such narrow, confining definitions of masculinity as to do serious harm to them mentally, spiritually, and physically.

I’m not sure where you got the idea that we only care about women, although we are indeed feminists.

In personal anecdotary, I am the mother of a son who was molested by a (male) family member, and I am the ex-wife of a man who suffered years of sexual abuse at the hands of a (male) family member. I do know very intimately the pain they suffered, and in varying degrees continue to suffer. I also know what help they have received, and what roadblocks there have been along the way. To make the blanket statement that I, or any of the commenters here, do not care about men or boys by mere virtue of being on this particular blog is absurd to the point of laughable and we can only assume you are either lost or trolling.

I wish you luck in your crusade, whatever you decide it is. Sometimes it seems like you are fighting a good fight, sometimes it seems you are tilting at windmills. Whatever the case, I hope you end up doing more good than harm.

PreuxFox
PreuxFox
5 years ago

If Donald Trump came out and identified as a woman, would it be misogynistic to call her “bossy?” Would it make you transphobic if you refused to acknowledge that she had cracked the glass ceiling as our first woman president?

Yes and yes. I am not sure what your point was with these questions, but you seem to be confused about something.

If Donald Trump were to come out as a trans woman, it would absolutely be transphobic to not acknowledge her identity. And do you hear anyone calling trump ‘bossy’ now? I’ve heard a lot of words directed at him, but not ‘bossy’. Because ‘bossy’ is an insult only directed at women (and children, but that’s a different matter). So of course if he began identifying as a woman and someone started using the word ‘bossy’ it would be mysogynist.

dslucia
dslucia
5 years ago

I adore stupid gotcha trolls who are too stupid to realize how stupid they are. Like, actually. They’re absolutely hilarious.

PreuxFox
PreuxFox
5 years ago

(Sorry for the double post – long story short, my phone’s autocorrect is preventing me from adding to the comment in an edit…this is still @ Petra)

I’m just not sure how these are supposed to be ‘gotchas’. What fantasy world are you living in that you think it’s widely considered okay in the trans community to disregard someone’s gender identity under any circumstances?

Petra Pumpkineater
Petra Pumpkineater
5 years ago

“What makes you think anyone here would do any of your hypothetical examples?”

I thought no one would; I thought some would laugh, but most who have responding are saying shit like this, much to my disappointment. Maybe you could exaplain to them how they are tying themselves in knots over nothing:

you think it’s widely considered okay in the trans community to disregard someone’s gender identity

Nope. I didn’t say that, and I didn’t think that. Something that’s wrong about a “gotcha” and that’s misrepresenting what someone said and then saying “gotcha.”

At no point have I disregarded anyone’s gender identity, let alone suggested that someone else should.

You could very well call President Trump a woman without trumpeting about that Trump had “broken the glass ceiling.”

“@Petra – you realize that we have transpeople, men, and mothers of boys right here in these very comment threads, right?”

I do, but I also know how groupthink and loyalty makes it too painful for you to signal to allies when they are making fools of themselves.

Troubelle: Moonbeam Malcontent + Bard of the New Movement
Troubelle: Moonbeam Malcontent + Bard of the New Movement
5 years ago

@Petra

Don’t you have, like…Tetris or something?

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Why is Petroll shitting up every thread with the exact same whine? Contain it to one thread, please. Or at least stay on the topics of each thread.

Ktoryx -- Now with vitamin G!
Ktoryx -- Now with vitamin G!
5 years ago

Yeah, I bet he’s real scared.

Faerie Bard
Faerie Bard
5 years ago

“I do, but I also know how groupthink and loyalty makes it too painful for you to signal to allies when they are making fools of themselves.”

Actually from what I have seen, the regulars here generally do call people out, even other regulars, sometimes gently and sometimes with a hammer, depending on the exact situation.

Petra Pumpkineater
Petra Pumpkineater
5 years ago

I do know very intimately the pain they suffered, and in varying degrees continue to suffer. I also know what help they have received, and what roadblocks there have been along the way

If you can link me to any discussion of what IS out there for them now, and what works, and what does not, with specifics, I would be very grateful.

” To make the blanket statement that I, or any of the commenters here, do not care about men or boys by mere virtue of being on this particular blog is absurd to the point of laughable”

I’m glad my pain amuses you. I’d rather make you laugh than make you hate me.

Sometimes it seems like you are fighting a good fight, sometimes it seems you are tilting at windmills.

Have you not done a little of both at one time or another?

we can only assume you are either lost or trolling.

A little of both, and more of something else entirely. Who here isn’t lost and trolling to some extent?

“Whatever the case, I hope you end up doing more good than harm.”

“so say we all.” I hope your evident care for the males in your life does more care than your conviction that all that ails them can be described as “toxic masculinity.” I’m sure that there were good doctors that cared about women, but thought they had to be bled or cured of “hysteria.”

To make the blanket statement that I, or any of the commenters here, do not care about men or boys by mere virtue of being on this particular blog i\

Two errors. I don’t think I’ve made such a statement about you specifically, dreemr, and I wouldn’t say anything like that about anyone based on their presence on any blog. I’m simply responding to things folks have said here.

LindsayIrene, Rioting Werebonobo
LindsayIrene, Rioting Werebonobo
5 years ago

Love how PP writes in loops and tangles so that there’s no real way to respond to most of what they’re posting. I’m sure that’s not intentional at all.

http://www.sharegif.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/8-Days-of-NeNe-Day-7-Mond.gif

Petra Pumpkineater
Petra Pumpkineater
5 years ago

Actually from what I have seen, the regulars here generally do call people out, even other regulars, sometimes gently and sometimes with a hammer, depending on the exact situation.

Nice to hear. Hope to see it.

I’m just not sure how these are supposed to be ‘gotchas’

When did I say they were gotchas? Why ask me to justify someone else’s hostile and foolish motive attributions? I can’t control what other people claim that I’m thinking.

Petra Pumpkineater
Petra Pumpkineater
5 years ago

I’m sure that’s not intentional at all.

Yes, I’m a big one-person conspiracy. Of course, my disorganized approach can’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that I’m getting pelted by a dozen different people trying to fit me into some box, or to pretend that I’m some other person you know under a different name. (Nope, last night was my first time here).

Troubelle: Moonbeam Malcontent + Bard of the New Movement
Troubelle: Moonbeam Malcontent + Bard of the New Movement
5 years ago

@Petra

Do you not have access to a console or Steam? Maybe you could play a good online game, like Bloons Tower Defense? It would be a better usage of your time.

EJ (Marxist Jazz Weasel)

@Troubelle:

But that wouldn’t hurt anyone, and thereby wouldn’t demonstrate her power over them.

Sigh.

PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
5 years ago

Nope, last night was my first time here.

Then look at the archives, learn about its community, and do your own homework.

You have the newly-minted convert zealot smell.

You stand for everything, yet nothing at all.

You are also causing people distress, but I suspect that is either your intent, or you are too myopic to see that.

Please re-think your motivations in coming here.

Troubelle: Moonbeam Malcontent + Bard of the New Movement
Troubelle: Moonbeam Malcontent + Bard of the New Movement
5 years ago

@EJ, re: games for Petra

Well, there are plenty of torture-the-ragdoll games on the Internets as well…

(I was a weird kid.)

banned@4chan.org
banned@4chan.org
5 years ago

Petra has said a lot of stuff, and other people have pointed out a good number of issues with that stuff, but–

…as cops stop being as useless as a white knight in a catfight…

If two women get into a “catfight,” isn’t trying to break it up the white-knighty thing to do?

Petra Pumpkineater
Petra Pumpkineater
5 years ago

Where did that or any Salon article say it’s not rape under the circumstances you mention?

It’s Salon’s review of the film documentary entitled “Tabloid” about the rape of the mormon missionary which involved a hired male thug, a gun, and handcuffs restraints. The article author (a male, obviously, just as the right uses females to say the most misogynistic shit) actually quotes the female rapist’s line about the impossibility of forcing a “marshmellow.” Meaning that if he’s not marshmellow -flaccid, then he’s consented.

This is nothing more than an indirect accusation that we are unprincipled

Fair enough. But I suspect that some of you do harbor principles, and I’m fishing for people who would read the article and denounce it to Salon. Get more feminists publicly repudiating pseudofeminist rape culture, and then maybe we can see some MRAs backing away from some of their more unreasonable positions. Also, hell, I’m hoping that some of you can show me sources that disprove some of this red-pill world I’m seeing.

“But that wouldn’t hurt anyone,”

Who here have I harmed? Isn’t mockery the stated purpose of this blog?

“…as cops stop being as useless as a white knight in a catfight…
If two women get into a “catfight,” isn’t trying to break it up the white-knighty thing to do?”

Exactly! He’s got an obligation to protect both women, but he’s not allowed to touch either of them without consent. So what’s a white knight to do as they gouge each others’ eyes out? It’s like Sir Gawain when the Green Knight’s wife slides her hand up his leg. He’s got to be chaste, but he can’t be rude to a lady …

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
5 years ago

Is the troll even trying to make a point? These comments are more incoherent than a Trump rally.

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