I AM PISSED OFF
I am pissed off because Laci Green, one of the most promising young content creators on YouTube, has been forced off the Internet by death threats—apparently driven by her casual use of the word “tranny” in a video she made more than three years ago. (She apologized and even took down the video.)
Laci makes wonderful, hilarious, sex-positive videos that have been tremendously helpful to millions of people (including me). She makes people feel less alone and less ashamed. She’s wonderful, and YouTube and tumblr are very lucky to have her, and we should all be really pissed that her ability to make stuff has been compromised by threats.
Here’s the truth, although we don’t say it often: You want to know why there are so few women in the Top 100 most viewed lists on YouTube? Because women are far more likely to be stalked, threatened, and attacked on the Internet, and they are far more likely to see those attacks move from cyber-bullying to real life threats, which too often forces them to abandon their work and their audiences.
I’ve been making videoblogs for more than five years, and I have a large audience, and a few overeager fans have found out where I live over the years, and you know what they’ve done about it? They’ve left me candy. Now, to be clear, I was still very uncomfortable and freaked out by this. But they didn’t send me death threats with pictures of my apartment building the way they’ve done to Laci.
And Laci is not alone. Most of the women I’ve known from YouTube—from those with 5,000 subscribers to those with 500,000—have dealt with harassment and stalking, and it has affected their ability to create stuff.
It’s not acceptable. It’s not acceptable to respond to a transphobic comment with a threat to kill someone. It’s not acceptable to harass and stalk women because you want their attention. And it’s not acceptable to use threats and intimidation to silence women you disagree with.
YouTube and tumblr should respond aggressively to these reports, and we need stronger laws to combat this crap, because I’m tired of seeing brilliant women driven away from the Internet by trolls with nothing to contribute.
JOHN, I REALLY hope you’ll read this. Let me start this off by saying I DO NOT condone what this person is doing to Laci, not in the slightest. I agree with you that this is unacceptable; internet harassment is a HUGE problem. Everyone, Laci included, has every right to feel safe and be safe wherever they are, and I hope whoever is stalking her is found and charged.
That said, this doesn’t excuse her problematic behaviour. Yes, Laci has done lots of wonderful work spreading sex positivity to a wider audience. But she has a LOT to learn about intersectionality and not speaking over people (trans*, religious, and people of colour, to be exact). Some people have been saying for YEARS what Laci has been recently posting, and the only reason a lot of these topics are actually getting attention NOW is because they’re being presented by a conventionally attractive (read: white), cis woman. I’m not saying that’s bad (I mean it would obviously be preferable if these people would listen to trans* and PoC in the first place), but the way Laci deals with criticism is… awful.
When people call her out on oppressive things she says or does, instead of listening to that person, apologizing, and promising to do better, she gets up in arms and defensive, criticizes whoever is calling her out, and gives excuses and flimsy non-apologies instead. She acts like the victim, and that’s NOT how you do feminism. Hell, that’s not how you do being a decent human being. This kind of behaviour is inexcusable when she has such a vast audience/fanbase who can see everything she says and who take her advice.
She condemns Muslim women with a blanket statement that Islam is a “sexist religion” in this video here (read the description she has added as well to see her islamophobic/anti-religion non-apology, and see here why it’s bullshit). So, she advocates sex positivity, except for if you’re Muslim or Mormon. Yup, got it. I follow some Muslim women bloggers who identify as FEMINISTS, and were very angry to find this out when they had been previously impressed with Laci Green’s work. You’re doing sex positivity wrong if you exclude people. Period. She speaks
forover Muslim women when she is not a practicing Muslim herself. This post explains that very well.
I appreciate that you addressed the misogyny in the youtube community where women vloggers are concerned, and you’re absolutely right. I’m disappointed and horrified at the stalking, and expect way better from fellow so-called “social justice bloggers.” But to be brutally honest, I can’t be sympathetic with Laci, when many other bloggers deal with the exact same kind of (or worse) harassment, stalking and death threats, but they’re completely ignored, because, you fucking guessed it, they’re trans* and/or PoC/WoC. The only reason there is such a huge outcry over Laci’s case is because she’s white and cis. Why can’t these bloggers get the same amount of support and solidarity that Laci seems to be getting when they’re threatened?
(PS: I do wish you had censored or not used the word tr***y at all. That’s not okay. That’s one of the reasons people are upset with Laci, because in her “apology,” for that old video, she used the very slur she was supposedly apologizing for using in the first place. If trans* people have not accepted her apology, then neither will I.)
“Her behaviour was terrible. It does not excuse threats. Threats are terrible. They do not excuse her behaviour.”
You can like/appreciate Laci Green for the work she has done, go right ahead. But please don’t ignore the harm she’s doing as well. Her situation is shitty, and she absolutely deserves safety in her home, but that doesn’t erase that our criticisms of her islamophobia, cissexism, fatphobia, etc. are completely valid.