Thursday, May 02, 2013

Abuse and Threats Online

Seems to be a theme this week of attacking comedians, what with Scottish comic Susan Calman getting bullied for her non- opinion on Independence and Reggie Hunter getting booted for being himself at a corporate gig- the papers raged on with accusations of 'fees to be returned' in Reggie's case and 'Bullying from the Nats' in Susan's case.


Either way it was a bad week for comedy, especially as the Scotsman and various other newspapers emblazoned their headline "death threats for comedian" never since Salman Rushdie have we seen adverse reaction to an art form. Though I still don't know who threatened death to Susan as it hasn't in itself been publicised (maybe due to a police investigation) and can only imagine the horror that it rang- having been threatened online two years ago myself for talking about Old Firm's scary stuff.


I took screen shots and reported the website and death threaten-ers to the police and made an official complaint. So what is this special new Scottish force  Police Scotland doing about this onslaught of abuse towards female comics?


In my case they took all the details and assured me to watch out for more abuse, but they basically told me not to be contentious on Twitter....I explained "I am a comedian, I am allowed to make jokes and contentious remarks without being threatened by death" But I was happy I reported it and made sure the cops were aware of the people who being abusive for future reference.


So many politicians came out to support Susan and quite rightly so, but it's just lip service....we want to be protected for our freedom of speech without being threatened by death....what's next a Scolds Bridle for 'cheeky women'?


I would like a Police Scotland and Chief Constable Stephen House to have a full investigation into the death threats given to comedians and am appalled that Susan had to turn to a newspaper to highlight this issue as clearly the cops are so far doing nothing.


Having been a victim of online bullying and name calling, and threats of 'getting my house burnt down' I know how this feels and the police did reassure me they would help me, but by telling me 'not to be contentious' on twitter? what the hell is that about? I will quite happily face criticism and tell me you hate my comedy, explain how much you think am a fat ugly woman...fair play...but to THREATEN ME WITH DEATH? It's not on.


On a side issue I speak about this situation in my recent show, how famous people get the press to highlight their online abuse and how the cops will kick doors in at 6am if some Olympiad is abused, but if you are wee Betty McDade from a housing scheme and someone is threatening you on are on your own. I know this to be true as some of my Facebook followers have testified to such....there shouldn't be a law for one and separate law for others. This isn't Victorian times, where the Middle classes are protected and the lower classes are left to defend themselves. All online abuse should be treated seriously, whether you are an Olympic swimmer, a comedian or someone who is living on benefits trying to use social networking sites.


I want the death threats to stop and the only way they will stop is if we constantly report them, screen shot the tweets and facebook threats and remember there is always a way to trace them. Everything every written on the web can be traced. Stay safe and lets all work together to stop death threats online.



So thanks for reading, if you want follow me on twitter @JaneyGodley for updates.



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