Choire Sicha on Jon Ronson’s ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’ ¶
Absent reading this review, I don’t think I would have gotten this update regarding Adria Richards:
Along these lines, one of the most captivating stories in the history of the Internet involves an incident that, happily, Ronson covers in depth. At a developer conference, two dudes, “Hank” and Alex, were cracking mildly off-color jokes to each other. Adria Richards, a woman sitting in front of them, photographed them and reported them to organizers. They explained the situation and were released. She tweeted and blogged about it. Hank was fired, then apologized in a public forum. The website of the company where Richards worked was forced down; then she was fired as well. Hank got a new job right away. Richards did not. Instead she spent a year fielding rape and murder threats.
But how, Ronson wonders, had Hank’s relationship with women developers changed since the incident? “Well,” Hank tells him. “We don’t have any female developers at the place I’m working at now. So.”
Of course. Of course “We don’t have any female developers at the place I’m working at now.”
As for Richards:
At the same time, Adria Richards opened up on Twitter. She had submitted 120 incidents of abuse to Twitter, she wrote — in a single week. They did nothing. After selling her furniture on Craigslist and moving out of her apartment, she found a therapist with experience in PTSD. She was still jobless, nearly two years later, but in February, she announced she had applied for a job — in the user safety and security department at Twitter. She didn’t sound as if she’d be holding her breath for an interview.
Choire sticks the landing:
The experience of women online is the great link between speech and violence, between offense and abuse. For women — and for all gender offenders, from gays to trans people — insult and the threat of murder are issued simultaneously. Like almost every other book, then, “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” would probably have been handled better by a woman.