Last week, I wrote about Susan Sarandon’s retweeting a meme made by Queen Bravenak, an African-American woman, that led the Purity Left to turn her mentions into a garbage fire. The same thing happened to me – after my article went live, I spent 24 hours blocking and reporting the trolls who emerged from under their bridges to assassinate my character. One of the two harassers I wrote about in the article even went so far as to attack my girlfriend. Although I reported this to the website, Twitter concluded that there was “no violation…regarding abusive behavior.”
But however angry I’ve been at my harassment, I imagine Bravenak must feel double, as she has now been suspended from the platform in the wake of her tweets to Sarandon:
In her essay, “Never Say ‘F*ck You’ to Susan Sarandon (If You’re a Black Woman on Twitter),” which appears on her blog Jeremiads and Diatribes, Bravenak recounts how the offensive mounted against her reached a fever pitch, escalating from fat-shaming to accusations of anti-semitism:
You're a real hero for not acting on your anti-semitism.
— Stoned Lincoln (@MaoistSparrow) September 30, 2017
Bravenak is also has a history of anti-Semitism, why don't you write about that?
— 🅰️ Not digging Kanye's Dril-era honestly 🅰️ (@WillPowellArt) September 29, 2017
“My weight and skin color should not be an impediment to saying ‘Fuck you!’ to a wealthy white woman,” she writes. “I was told to ‘get a job…’ and to ‘stop being angry about being black and try to become a wealthy woman myself…’ they accused me of BULLYING THE ENTIRE BERNIE SANDERS REVOLUTION [caps hers]. By myself. Well, I considered that a compliment, but I had to remind them that they were coming to me. I am not magic.”
Bravenak says the tweet that got her suspended was one where she referred to one of her aggressors as a “bad teacher” (it has since been deleted). “I know it sounds worse than ‘fat black bitch,'” she writes, “but things that black people say always sound and look much worse than they are.”
Following her suspension, other black activists have come forward to share their experience being silenced by the platform. After a BET article on Bravenak quoted activist Sir James The Second as calling Sarandon “an evil asshole,” he found his account suspended:
And when Ann Archy, a black female activist, told a Berner to “grow the f up” while defending Bravenak, she received a twelve-hour suspension:
Bravenak believes that both Sir James and Ann Archy were suspended due to trolls abusing the “report” button against them, often accusing them of anti-semitism (most likely due to their not liking Bernie.) Given the way we know Facebook suspended or took down Ukrainian accounts that were obsessively reported on by Russian trolls, it is no surprise that Twitter would be fooled by the same tactics as well.
Last year when Twitter put itself up for sale, nobody wanted to buy it due to the hateful rhetoric espoused by its users, as well as the site’s inability to act on punishing its abusers. A year later, three black activists get suspended for defending each other while our racist President tweets this:
The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017
This, ladies and gentlemen, is Twitter in a nutshell.
Jeremy Fassler is a writer and journalist living in Brooklyn, New York.