It’s Only Words: On trolls, free speech, and the last few days.
Before you read this I should clarify that I am not back on my Twitter account. My blog and Instagram accounts both automatically link to it and publish new posts, so this may publish on my account but I am not going to access it to delete it, because I have deleted the app and do not want to go into my account, and apologise for any confusion.
I have always tried to strike a balance between keeping you all updated with any major twists and turns in my frankly unusual life, without bombarding you with so much extraneous detail that the recipes get buried beneath an amateur imitation of a weekly glossy magazine. So, while there may not be red screaming circles of shame around my dark baggy eyes or shock horror headlines at being caught without any makeup on, I do feel I owe it to the loyalty of my readers to keep you informed about events and affairs. Of the ‘day to day life’ type, not the kiss-and-tell type, to be clear. It gets me in a little trouble sometimes, like the casual uploading of my Green Party welcome letter to my Instagram account being picked up by the Telegraph and subsequently plastered across the media, but those are the growing pains of a life led largely in public.
One of my old Labour Party friends, who is a local councillor and a man I admire and respect enormously, used to announce at the beginning of the council chamber that ‘this is a meeting held in public, not a public meeting. Which means that you may observe, but you may not heckle or otherwise disrupt proceedings.’ It is a sentence that curiously comes back to me every now and again, not quite fitting the narrative of my life since the first Sunday People article in December 2012, but there is something in there I can identify with.
In the autumn last year, I was at a dinner with some new friends, a lot of whom are also in the public eye. Needless to say, before the conspiracy theorists start rubbing their hands together, they were not my friends three years ago when I was a struggling single mother in Southend queuing up at the food bank; they are people I have met along this fantastic journey, got along with, and stayed in touch with. All friends start off as new friends, as the saying goes. I was hiding. It’s a trick of mine at dinners and parties, I blend into walls for the majority of the evening, or sit on the edges of tables admiring my shoes, or stand beside someone who is very gregarious, for about seventy per cent of the time. I’m not rude or arrogant or disinterested, I’m agonisingly shy. Yeah, me. Hey. When I put my hands on the lectern to give a speech, I’m not being pastoral or stateswoman-like, I’m doing it to stop them from shaking. If there isn’t a lectern, I ram one in a pocket. I threw my dinner up before I went on Question Time, walked onto the stage for Radio 4’s Dilemma with three beers in my hand I’d swiped from the green room (er, not realising there was a studio audience and feeling like a total lush as I plonked them on the table in front of me…) and I sit on a hand on breakfast television sofas. I’ve digressed. I’m shy. Always have been. I was the lead in most of my school plays and church productions, used to sing on stage, but I’m painfully shy. I used to get my brother to pay for my bus fare, or the Chomp bar from the corner shop after school. I wear sunglasses on the Tube sometimes. Sit with my head down. Cried on Channel 5 when Edwina started digging up my dead Grandad in a live debate to try to discredit me when all I wanted to do was talk about food banks. I digress. I was at a dinner party, hiding in the loo. For twenty minutes. I came out to find a New-Famous-Friend waiting to go in. Apologised for taking so long, while I scoped out somewhere else to hang out for a few minutes. She looked at me long and hard. “I get it. I’d rather be up here too, but my career depends on me being down there.” I nodded. Mine too.
I think the point of this is that, recently I’ve been on the end of some very nasty abuse on Twitter, unprompted and apropos of nothing, someone sent me messages out of the blue telling me to leave the country, telling me I should be sterilised, telling me I shouldn’t be allowed to breed, that ‘my sort’ should die. I was at a friends house, having dinner. It was 9pm on a Friday night, and some extraordinary hatred had flashed up on my mobile phone, in my face, at the kitchen table, in my leisure time, in what thirty seconds ago had been a safe space, a relaxed evening, that now had me frozen in my seat waiting for the next barrage. And it came. Like-minded people sending similar messages, the snowball effect of the extremists on Twitter once they have identified their target.
I locked myself in my friends bathroom and clicked onto the account. Racial abuse to Diane Abbott. Messages telling Owen Jones he should be hung. I sent a message to my followers saying that Twitter no longer felt like a safe space for me, and I deleted the app from my mobile so I would stop getting the notifications.
People have since sneered at my response. Told me to man up. Grow up. It’s just Twitter. That I’m ridiculous. That I clearly have no respect for free speech. It doesn’t hurt anyone. It’s just words. I’m a ‘feminazi’. And so on.
I went home from my friends house in a taxi, I didn’t want to walk down the street alone, sit at a tube station alone, be on a train, alone. I asked the driver to see me in. I jumped out of my skin at any shadow in my house as I locked it up. Because on that Friday night the world was new to me. If someone can shove their hatred in your face as you sit at your friends kitchen table eating a curry, your world turns on it’s head.
I stayed in bed all day on Saturday. Retreated beneath my duvet. I didn’t want to be out in this world of hatred and verbal violence and such darkness. I didn’t know it. Didn’t recognise it. My doorbell rang again and again young men with notepads that I glanced at through my window that I can only assume were journalists as various newspapers reported on the incident. I didn’t answer the door. At 7:15pm a Police officer came round. The incidents had been reported, and they needed to take a statement. I showed him the messages. Gave a statement. A man was arrested, after numerous incidents of which the messages sent to me were only a small part.
Today I left my house at 4pm. Head down. Eyes flicking at every stranger walking towards me on the street. Sunglasses on on the Tube. The man arrested roams free after 15 hours in Police custody, updating his blog with sneering comments and vile allegations about me, despite having his computer and modem confiscated by the Police.
It’s only words, people say. But words can motivate, words can inspire, words can wound and words can heal. The most beautiful poetry in the world, is made of words. The parables in the Bible, are made of words. The Love Song Of J Alfred Prufrock, is just words put in order. Dickens. Shakespeare. JK Rowling. Every film script, every newspaper article, every proverb, every song.
And so I repeat what I said on Friday night;
“Dear friends; Please do not retaliate to the trolls and abusers with abuse. Not in my name. Please, not in my name. Instead, if you believe in a God, Goddess, spiritual force, karma or universal balance, pray for peace. Meditate upon kindness. Wish them better – nobody who is whole and happy seeks out strangers to deliberately target hatred. Please, pray for peace. Send that out there into the world and extinguish the hatred with kindness. Stay positive. There are good people and strong voices here. Be one of them, and not one of the others. With love, because if I have not love I have nothing, Jack Monroe. 18 April 2015.”
It is easy to respond to anger with anger. Easy to ‘give it back’, to give someone a taste of their own medicine, but really, where does it end? My timelines still fill up with testimonies of nastiness, of bitterness, of anger and spite. Social media is fast becoming a sad and strange place to be. I have been guilty myself of sending messages in haste, and regretting them as they feed into the cycles of reactive outrage and it goes on and on and on. I’m begging you, please don’t contribute to that. If we want our social networks to be safe, kind places, we need to start looking at what we put out there too. I include myself in that.
When I was a child, my parents had a copy of a poem by Dorothy Law Nolte on their wall. I recently wrote it out to guide myself as a parent, but also as a person. I changed the word ‘children’ to ‘people’ to apply it here:
If people live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If people live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If people live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If people live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If people live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.
If people live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If people live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If people love with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If people live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If people live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If people live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If people live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If people live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If people live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If people live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If people live with fairness, they learn justice.
If people live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If people live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.
Jack Monroe. 19 April 2015.
Bless you for your stamina. Ignore the ugly in the world that you cannot change. Keep cooking, living and loving. This is from a grandmother across the pond.
I am truly ashamed of the people who have abused you for daring to be vulnerable and honest, and sorry that it has hurt you so much.
Please be comforted and reassured that 1000s of us enjoy your posts and tweets, love your recipes and wish you every joy and success in life.
With much live and respect
Stephen and Shelagh Ibbs xx
Stay strong, Jack – the world is a better place because of you xxx
It saddened me to learn what happened. Words may not break bones but that doesn’t mean they don’t hurt.
I know it seems tough right now but for every person making comments, there are 100 more who are struggling to get through each day and, because of you, are finally beginning to feel that they have a voice.
Big hugs. We’re all behind you.
PS I was planning to send you a recipe for peanut butter soup, but can’t figure out how to do it via your blog (or twitter) so was going to send via old fashioned post c/o Blackfoot where we had a lovely meal a few weeks ago.
Stephen Ibbs xx
Truly sorry to hear you are being given such a rough time. Hope you will find your safe space again soon and kudos for your response above. Sending good vibes and best wishes.
Beautifully put. Unfortunately the world is full of immature people who cannot comprehend the harm they can do with their thoughtless words.
well said Jack; I feel like this country is becoming an angry and selfish place and I can’t help but wonder if that part of something bigger. Hearing the government so scathing each day about vulnerable people has to surely rub off on the wider population. Not that it’s any excuse for the way you have been treated. You’re not public property, just in the public eye and nobody has any right to see you or anyone else as fair game just because we know a bit about you.
Trusting that you’re taking very good care of yourself and have the support of your friends (no matter how long you’ve known them!!!)
Ah Jack, I feel for you. These ignorant keyboard worries are scum – only able to be so brave with the cover of a keyboard. I hope you are ok, I hope the rest of your life is going well, though some of your recent posts worry me. Rest as easily as possible and know that so many of us are behind you. Take care x
Fantastic article. I can’t imagine the fear of going through this. I was in a Twitter “debate” with some pro gun nuts last month and suddenly a photo of my youngest child popped up with one of the hater’s Tweets to me. Fortunately it was my son dressed up as a Roman guard so no face showing, but the thought that this guy had trolled through my Twitter account to see what he could find out was truly shocking.
I am very sorry that they’ve driven you to this. It must be awful to get this kind of abuse and I hope that you’ll feel able to come out to play again sometime
All the best, girl. Your words ate so true and so applicable tonight, this week, here in South Africa, where words have sent people into the streets, hunting others down, breeding hatred and distrust, where so-called intellectuals use clever words to disguise their supremist ideals and hate, to charge ignorant followers into a frenzy, where hate speech is a breath away from xenophobia.
The world would indeed be a better place if we all took heed of Dorothy Law Nolte’s words. Thank you for reminding us of them x
I feel sad for the people who have the time and inclination to express their bizarre views in such an aggressive way. Your response shows both integrity and dignity and please remember how many of us hold you in the highest esteem. The world of social media can be a dark and menacing place and walking away from it can be hugely liberating. Your real friends exist in the real world. You have shown amazing courage in all you have done so far. You have so much support. We’re right behind you Jack!
Jack, I am really sorry that this has happened to you. I know you just want to live your life as honestly and fully as you can, like most people. Take care of yourself and your family, focus on that. You do good in your work by talking about issues that get swept aside, like poverty and what it is to be hungry in 21st century Britain. For what it’s worth, you have my support. *hug* 😊
Social media has a lot of good points, keeps us in touch with friends and family we don’t see on a daily basis, but it’s also shown the most ugliest side of society, it’s promoted by people like Katie Hopkins, who use ‘free speech’ as a means to denigrate demean and humiliate people of all genders colour and faith, to use the title free speech which is something that was fought for by the brave men and women of this country and others as a tool to hurt is ………………..despicable and indefensible, I was bullied for just about all of my school life now 50 I still struggle with the deep scars it left. Words can be so incredibly hurtful and stay with you for many years.
Jack your right answering or fighting back at trolls serves no purpose, ignoring and feeling sorry for them is the way forward, how sad a life they must lead to make them say what they do.
Mind you I’m still trying to work out what a prolific lesbian is?? as a lesbian that made me giggle.
Be happy Jack carry on doing what you do, never let these A holes make you hide away again xx
I grew up in a time when even having a phone meant you were posh. Like you, I’m horrified at the dark side of humanity which reveals itself on the Internet. You don’t have to look on Twitter, below the line comments on the New Statesman are quite horrible enough at times. But Twitter is optional, so are Facebook and all the other media. If they hurt you, live without them.
Of they criticise you for deleting your app – it’s annoying when your target isn’t interested in being a victim. Don’t engage! I know it’s easy to say, not so easy to do, but a talented communicator like you isn’t going to go bankrupt if you keep off Twitter for a while. Best scenario – get someone else to upload your posts for you and tell them you don’t want to know what garbage has washed up.
Difficult to know what to say really.
Chin up? Worst things happen at sea?
Count your blessings.
Weigh the good against the bad things in your life.
With all the support, overt and implicit, I think you’d be streets ahead.
Start thinking on that, and taking your strength from there.
In truth I’m a grumpy old git who thinks he can fix anything. So also feel free to totally ignore all of that. You’ll still have my support.
FYI. A friend on Facebook in Australia linked one of your recipes this week. I doubt there are many in the UK that can say that about themselves.
I’m so sorry this is happening to you. It sounds like a trauma and maybe you could get a specialist counsellor who can help you restore your life to normal.
I was very shy too, couldn’t go in a shop on my own until I was 18 or so (in case someone, shock, horror, SPOKE to me), so I can relate to some of these feelings.
My strategy to get out of it was to fake it until I made it, and I developed many strategies to avoid being the one doing the speaking, so I became a very good listener. Most people love to talk about themselves – except us shy ones of course 🙂 -although I wouldn’t call myself shy now, that historical lack of confidence still informs much of my character
I have never had to deal with the appalling behaviour that many people in the public eye have to in modern times, I can’t imagine how difficult that must be
I do know that many people, in the public eye or not, have that underlying shyness lurking somewhere and find their own way of dealing with the loud extrovert world out there
The abuse that is so casually served up on social media would not be tolerated IRL, and should not be tolerated there either. I think it will be dealt with eventually, public opinion will force the matter, I’m a bit surprised it’s taking so long
When people are being so vile, it must be easy to be upset by it, I’m sure I would be too, it is still true however, that it says much more about them than it ever could do about you. It isn’t about you, not really. You are still who you always were, and only you and your loved ones know who that is, not the trolls, and not the fans xx
I am horrified by the nastiness of a small minority of people. As someone who works with families living in poverty I have huge admiration for what you have done to both increase awareness of this issue and give practical help to those on low incomes. The world desperately needs people like you and is a better place because of you. Your wonderful message in response to what has happened proves this. Thinking of you xx
You are as usual quite right. Don’t rise to it, don’t retaliate. Yours in admiration,
Jack… So horrible to hear what you are going through. Unfortunately this seems to be the newest way to get 15 mins of fame- “the professional bully”. It sickens me. Please remember what an awesome and inspiring person you are. Your cookbook has literally changed the way my husband and I cook- we eat so much healthier and cheaper which leads to us having more money to spend on fun! You are right to speak out about this horrible online abuse- the more people speak out the more people will take action.
I’m sorry Jack, this sounds awful. I don’t blame you coming off Twitter. That poem is so true, I have it up on my sons bedroom wall. Take care & stay strong x
The behaviour of some people is disgusting. And it’s cowardly – they wouldn’t have the guts to say it to your face without a baying mob to back them up. You don’t deserve to be treated like that; please try to remember that the imbecilic fuck-haired cockwombles are the minority and most people are decent and have nothing but respect for you.
I so consistently admire your courage, to continue putting yourself out there, speaking up for those with no voice. When I learned First Aid, the first thing we were taught to do was check the scene, the idea being that throwing yourself into a dangerous situation only creates more people who will need first aid. Stepping out of a trolly situation does not seem like cowardice to me. You publish under your own name. You have sacrificed the anonymity others so happily hide behind in order to do what you can in a rigged fight. That is not cowardice. And if ‘manning up’ (a phrase I particularly loathe) would mean nothing more than being forced to stand there and be virtually punched, I would argue that walking away is wise and human. Who wants their personal space invaded? All of which is to say, thank you for not hiding, for being such a thoughtful and brave person, one who understands the power of words.
i love the poem. I hate twitter, i read of poeple getting abused on it more and more, theres no point to it. Better for your soul to leave it!
Thank you, Jack, for showing the world how to be human. Thank you for fighting the fight against poverty, helping us to wake up and see the suffering in our society today. Thank you for taking this abuse and turning it into positivity. Thank you for being the better person, and showing us how it’s done.
I pray you get peace, not only from the world outside but within your very soul.
Hi, I just wanted to say that no-one should have to go through what you’ve had to go through. I always found your tweets (whether relating to food, tattoos, plaid shirts or politics) funny and interesting and hope that you feel comfortable to resume it one day. I totally agree with your move, why let idiots pollute your life?
I find myself mystified how this kind of abuse has become so commonplace over the last few years, it’s like a sewer has erupted into society. Unfortunately I can’t see a solution with Twitter since its anonymous basis facilitates this hurtful idiocy, unless they change their approach to this or society as a whole takes a step back and realises that this kind of thing is simply unacceptable (neither of which are likely to happen).
Anyway, the idea of this post is to hopefully help continue the supportive tone of the posts on your instagram page, there are more good people out there than there are arseholes!
You’re better than all the trolls Jack. Hold your head up high and accept that you’re doing great things. God’s blessings be with you always x
Well said. The Beatles said All You Need Is Love. I’ve had trolls online, people to my face. Nasty.
I’ve been beaten up, shot at with an air rifle pellet, mugged for 20p, had lead stolen from my roof, burgled; almost run over by a juggernaut; caught in a kitchen fire; almost drowned; physically abused by my father, by having a dislocated arm and cigarette burns; witnessed my mother being beaten up by my dad; having gone to a disabled school I lost most of my school friends having died of their disabilities; suffered epilepsy for about 20 years. My brother committed suicide, my partner died of breast cancer, my mum committed ATTEMPTED suicide because she couldn’t hack living on very little. My parents divorced when I was 9 years old. I’ve had my wheelie bin rifled through for identity theft; suffered a 15 year whispering campaign . , 30 years unfit to work; nearly 51 years dyspraxia. I was in a coma for 12 hours with epilepsy; had a month without heating in one of the coldest winters. 20 years of verbal abuse for my disability, and also being deemed gay when I’m not. (wear your your sexuality your joy and your heart with pride jack) I have been stoned, with stones being thrown at me that is. Even had a half brick caught me smack in the spine when I was 8 or so. A group of kids even got the police to my home on a false accusation for I don’t know what reason. I’ve even been on. Live Saturday teatime telly with Noel Edmonds in a pink leotard dressed as Adam the first man in the bible. Im painfully shy and reserved as hell Live your life jack with love and be the inspiration that you are!!
I still try to love others and be there for others. Altruism costs n
You write with such beauty and honesty and hope! Thank you! Such an inspiration.
Sorry you have been through this, social media has been great for some things but unfortunately some idiots use it in a negative way. I’m amazed at how someone comments on something and the abuse they get back. I’m not on Twitter much, to be honest I don’t really know how to use it properly but look at Facebook a lot but am reluctant to comment on things due to other people. I wonder how brave these people would be to say things to your face! Words can hurt though, I keep saying I’m not going to go on Facebook but I’m too nosey! I think there are more good people in the world than bad, the proof of this is the work that is done for charity and the amount of money that is raised eg for Comic Relief. Sorry for rambling, look after yourself and your boy.
Dear, lovely woman, I was just off to bed, but checked my e mails first, just in case George Clooney or Johnny Depp dropped me a line (They didn’t). Your was there, though, and you have moved me to tears, I am so sorry to you have to go through this shit, it’s so nasty, and cowardly, and such a cheap thing to do. People who do it must have no power in their own, sad, lives, why else would they try to hurt someone as kind and helpful as yourself? Anyway, I just want to say, “Fuck ’em, and don’t let them get you down. Right?”. Now, I’m off to bed, and I wish you a sweet and restful night. Nil Carborundum, as my old Dad used to say! All the very best, Anni Cariad. xxx
Altruism costs nothing
Take care of yourself. Your family needs you xxxx Know that you have many friends you have never met, like me, who admire you greatly, and who use your recipes on a regular basis. Remember you are loved.
Love to you.
I’m so sorry you’ve been forced off Twitter. It’s disgusting that people get away with harassing you in this way. I’ve seen some of the abuse you come in for and I can’t believe people think that sort of behaviour is acceptable.
As a journalist and editor, I know that there’s no such thing as ‘only’ words. Words are powerful and can be so damaging. They can also be empowering, uplifting, energising, supportive and more. I hope you one day feel safe enough to return to Twitter.
I love you, Jack Monroe.
I did have considerably more philosophically inclined writing here, but decided to keep it to myself.
I hope you’re able to recover from the understandable emotional turmoil recent events have left you with, Lady Jack. I also hope things are remaining well with yourself & lil one too :).
Did you know that even Word-press is corporately owned and reserves the rights to start charging whatever and whenever they want to?
I like your blog though.
Love that poem, says it all. Take no notice of the haters, Jack, they are by far in the minority compared to your fans. Proud to say I am one (a fan, that is, not a hater!) Keep rocking on!
Jack whoever you choose to have as a friend or partner is a joint decision between the two of you alone.It most certainly does not give anybody the right to what they seem to see almost as an obligation to spew out their words of vile hate.
Just because you are in the public eye does not mean that it is acceptable to barrage you with abuse or mean that you are fair game. Nor should you have to ‘man up’ ? nor are you weak because the abuse upsets or concerns you. Just because the words are said on social media does not make them any less objectionable or unacceptable.
There seems to a growing group of people who engage in trolling and hate politics on the internet but just because they are shouting louder or more often with increasing spite & bile does not mean what they claim is true, acceptable or that they speak for the vast majority.
Your words of tolerance above says far more about you and your character that any tweet from such a person.
To conclude please let me reassure you that the person concerned certainly does not represent the views of local people here in Somerset/Dorset.
Thanks for explaining the turmoil you mentioned in your green juice post. But more, thank you for your truly good response. The inspiration of guiding your readers from anger to understanding is very well done. The world is better with you in it!
Keep strong. When a journalist can write in the sun that she doesn’t care that 400, 700 people have drowned what won’t people publish or say and justify it? There’s nothing wrong with us, our children are the lucky ones, someone today told me my child is amazing and my partner and I great parents because she is thriving and a Local Authority panel nearly stopped me adopting – my child is blessed, so is yours. Doesn’t stop it hurting, of course it hurts what people say, words resonate. Let good ones resonate too. Take care
This has made me sad.
Thank you Jack.
So sorry to hear about your ordeal, Jack. Words can be the sharpest of knives. I was bullied at school and that shit still stays with me. And I get the odd bit of abuse online just for being a gay man who’s out about being HIV+. It shakes me to the core. But I’ve learnt to shake it off and to look at the love around me. And to know that anyone who abuses another human being is a sick person that needs help, so I pray that they may find the help they need, that they may also be surrounded by love and not hate.
Oh, my dear, lovely Jack. So sorry to hear all that you’ve been through of late. You are so right, words are so often used as weapons. It’s not right. It stirs hate. It crushes souls…and it is a sign of cowardice when done anonymously via social media. I wish you Peace as you regroup.
Be well and please continue to share that beautiful spark of yours with the rest of the world. 🙂
Sending good thoughts your way. Bloody trolls…
Hugs. Why do people have to be so damn vile sometimes?
I’m saving that poem, by the way.
Sending you big hugs (imagining wrapping you up in a big fluffy pink blanket with a steaming hot cup of hot chocolate).
Stephanie – Thank you for articulating exactly what I feel. Big bear hugs – to stop me doing what else the bear wants to do, which is turn around and rip into the idiots attacking someone I care about (even if it’s very very remotely)
Hi Jack, firstly i want to say that i was disgusted and sickened by the abuse you suffered from a troll on a fake twitter account, pretending to be me. Nobody deserves that and not only do i hope that you are feeling better but also that you do not give in and let idiots like him have any sort of power over you. By now im sure you will be aware that it was the work of one Joshua Bonehill and the purpose of that account was to target me and cause me problems. I guess he thinks that as it worked when i ran for election two years ago, he can do it again. I want you to know that i immediately reported this to the police, i have given a statement and i shall do anytjing else i can in order to assist them in their investigation.
Hope you are okay,
Alex Wood (the real one!)
Peace be with you, peace be around you, peace be in you,, peace be your measure and your gift. Only a step forward brings today, looking back just tells us how far we have travelled. One step ay a time may each day dawn gently and may you know rest and rejuvination found in a peace you never need to explain because you only need to understand it. Thanks for holding on to a reality that many see too.
Dear Jack, thank you for sharing your recent traumatic experience with us – you are extremely brave. I have followed your journey and blog with awe and admiration. Please do not be deterred in speaking out and continuing in your activism and being who you are, as you are awesome and a truly wonderful human being. Hugs from Australia
Well said Jack. You have risen above financial poverty and now rise above intellectual poverty. Please don’t let these ignorant (and I mean the word in it’s proper context) people stop you doing what you were born for. You inspire lots of people and give hope to lots more so keep it it please.
Very wise words, thank you Jack. I am so sorry that your courage and honesty have made you a target – sending you my support and love.
I do enjoy your books and blog, peace and hugs.
I am so sorry this has happened to you, Jack. You simply do not deserve it.
(((((((Jack Monroe))))))) I am so sorry to read about your online ordeal, I shall pray for you, for peace and yes, for the trolls’ healing too.
I cancelled my FB account and left the Moneysavingexpert forum because of trolls, even though, compared to the stuff you got, the abuse I received was “mild”. It all hurts though and it has made me fearful of updating my modest little blog.
How sad, what’s happening online.
I wish you all the best, peace and happiness, and freedom from abuse.
Bless you Jack …lets fill up your timeline now with love and friendship and healing prayers so that the strength of the many will overcome the power of the few. As you rightly say it isn’t “just” words but what we do with them that shapes our world and that of those around us. Love Care, Joy, Peace , Tolerance, Patience, Kindness, xx
Dear Jack I have just read your latest blog with tears in my eyes I have been following your writings for a long time and all I can say is thank you and I wish you happiness and peace and this has come from a nearly 64year old who enjoys your recipes stories and books.
Hi Jack. Hold your head up high young lady. You are a real inspiration and the people who Spread this hatred are very lost. 😊
Sent from my iPhone
Best wishes, Jack.
Jack, you are an amazing person, I thought so the first time I read about “a girl called Jack”. I am still in awe of you, and I guess there are many people who feel the same but don’t use the media, keep feeling the love.xxxx
It’s not only Twitter and it’s not only the internet: people will think and often say nasty things in real life, too. Many of them actually. There are nasty people out there who want the world to be exactly as they want it to be, so that they needn’t be afraid so much. There are those who hate having to think about the world in all its forms, because it scares them. People who caanot survive psychologically if not feeling they are better than, because simply existing and letting exist is a scary thing to do. And so on.
So I would imagine (and have always thought so, actually) that you (personally) exist in a scary (public) place full of oposition for the effing sake of it and out of manifold fears, and thus need quite some courage to continue making the world a better place. Yes, being helpful has a price tag. It is mostly a huge price to pay, for simply being sensible. Which is what really defines the worth of your efforts, in the end: priceless.
Take care – it is a crazy world, yes. But that doesn’t mean you don’t get to make it better.
Wow Jack. Look after yourself and your family.
Thank you for these inspiring words and for your honesty and courage in sharing them
More of your ‘your sort’ is exactly what we do need, I commend your courage and clear sightedness in your recent post, and send you love and light.
Goodness me Jack. This is all incredible. I only signed up for your emails because I like cooking and am on economy drive because of recently retiring, and now I’m in on all this stuff in your life. Well you sound like a lovely strong person and I very much hope you succeed in distancing yourself from these Sillies who snipe at you. Personally I’ve never seen the point of Twitter, I suppose because I like to have some control of what comes at me and perhaps I don’t care enough about tom, dick and harry’s opinions. I dare say it IS useful but I’m glad you’ve deleted the app. Believe me, one can live without it.
Look, all the best Jack. I bet there are squillions more nice peeps rooting for you than beastly silly old trolls.
Jack, I’m so sorry that this clearly-unhinged individual has been provided via Social Media the ability to peddle his loathing and hate. Your graceful response posted here and in the wider environment show how Social Media should work.
I am amazed and disappointed by the vitriolic responses that I see spewed out on Facebook – like the calls for painful death to be inflicted on a woman big game hunter (yes, I deplore her actions and the grinning photos taken next to beautiful dead animals, but I call for her education, not her killing).
I believe that the only people truly hurt by such poisonous thoughts are those who think and utter them. Their victims – and I have been on the receiving end of the odd nasty comment too, though no way as badly as it is possible for someone in the public eye to be – are only powerless if they let themselves be.
You have wrenched that power back from this sad individual and done so without calling for his emasculation. I hope that he is brought to justice for the many vile things that he has said, done and encouraged but I also hope that he receives the help that he obviously needs, for no normal person would act as he does.
Sending you love and positive energies, Jack xxx
I’ve been quoting JRR Tolkien a lot recently – “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
Sending you love & light. x
It’s not “just words”, and there is no need to “man up” to it. The internet has become a hiding place and playground for some very nasty bullies – and bullying hurts and makes us fearful, whatever form it takes.
I only use facebook, have never got the point of the others, but even there I’m increasingly wary what I say for fear it could be used against me. The stick of “Freedom of Speech” is being used to beat many of us into saying nothing, and that scares me.
I hope the vileness is dying down for you.
My thoughts are with you because this “Troll” guy sounds horrible – to spend your whole life on negativity.
Your whole mission is to improve the world – not only are your recipes great, but you spent time campaigning and working with charities such as Oxfam to fight poverty around the world. You should feel very proud of that – working to make life better for people.
Most people are kind and considerate of other people. Most people think that you have done an amazing job in combating food poverty. The problem with social media, which needs to be addressed is that they give a very few cowardly abusers an inordinate amount of power to upset others. Please keep up the good work, Jack! And the great recipes!!
I feel how you feel, but whereas you will say it, often I am too scared and only think it. Saying what needs to be said, instead of what people want to hear (hence you getting vitriol) is a very brave thing to do.The minority are often the loudest and they can say terrible, awful things which we feel the whole world is agreeing with. In your mind’s eye look past those horrible, pointing, derisive, scary people, to the larger group of smiling, friendly, supportive and proud people behind them – who you couldn’t quite hear or see at first over the flaming insults, but who are actually the loudest and strongest of all, and who have the ability to drown out all the rest of it.
Well I like you Jack and your recipe book is a life saver. Chin up
Your article made me cry. I just cannot understand how, in a supposedly civilised country, people can behave like this. I have always made it a firm rule never to post anything I would not say to someone’s face.
That poem is so true. All I can say is be strong, and know that the decent people of this country are behind you.
Thank you for reminding me of the poem. Jack, I am sorry to hear about all the abuse, negativity and pain. If I am honest, I can’t really understand your situation but I like reading your work. You have encouraged me in so many ways. Please don’t give up x
I am sorry that such an evil person can effect your life so badly.I hope you can grow strength in knowing that you are much loved and apreciated.
Spot on, Jack xx
Reblogged this on Hoping to Break Into An Even Stride Anytime.
Aw, Jack, I’m so sorry you’ve been in such a dark place, and so admiring of the way you’re dealing with it. Yes, these people are sad, unstable individuals, and we should all feel sorry for them. They must have huge black holes in their lives to even think about what they’re doing to you. They’re ill, and they need help. Probably easier said than done, but if it wasn’t for social media, you wouldn’t even know about them, so don your spiritual armour and live your life. Trust me, you’re doing a grand job! xxx
It is a very sad world out there when some people have nothing better to do than terrorise genuine honest people such as you. Only cowards. Please try not to allow them to affect you so much. Otherwise they win! With affection. XXX
Jack , you write so very well. All your words unfold gently, with love and compassion. I dearly hope you will continue your work and ways to spread the love and to turn bad into good!
I’m sickened Jack. These people don’t care what effect their words have on people. Keep on being yourself, you are an inspiration to us all.
Jack, I have popped into your blog on a fairly regular basis, enjoying your attitude, your achievements and your recipes. I have sympathized with negatives and cheered the positives. I have experienced many of the situations you have come across but have not felt the need to comment -until now, besides which I have an inbuilt distrust of social media.
I remember an old adage from my childhood which goes something like this,
Sticks and stones may break my bones but calling names can’t hurt me.
I know it does hurt but gather your dignity around you and travel onward and upward.
Remember only the good and positive comments and use them to help you create a shield.
My grandfather always said that ” right is right and wrong is no man’s right”.
Keep on keeping on.
You are truly amazing. I am so glad there are people like you that fill the world with kindness and peace when so many people live in hate. Since reading the hatred directed at you, Sue Perkins, Owen Jones and others, I feel ill knowing that there are people out there that are the worst kind of coward, who feed off of others misery and fill the world with hatred.
Thank you for all that you are. Thank you for being a beautiful human being.
Solidarity and peace.
I am so sorry this has happened to you – and to other people. You are an inspiration to me and many others. If you want to withdraw from twitter, or from anything at all, that’s your call. I hope you feel able to carry on with your good work, as good healthy affordable food and recipes are much needed. Take good care of yourself xxx
Reblogged this on Chimera Poetry.
If you haven’t found the Quakers yet, I recommend that you give them a try, because they are a supportive, nurturing, accepting community that I think you would find them a safe haven. Although you don’t have to believe anything specific in order to attend or be a Quaker, they have witnesses for peace and social justice which I think would resonate with you. They are open to all, believing that we are all equal.
It might help you refocus on the fact that most people are lovely, only a few are so damaged that they would vent their pain on another person. You can be assured that most people are horrified that you have suffered in this way.
I am sorry this has happened to you. Please keep up your good work – affordable, nourishing food and recipes are so much needed. It’s a good strategy to limit your exposure to anything that makes you feel bad, and increase your exposure to the things that nourish you – you are very wise. With love and all good wishes. Sue Mac xxx
Very moving blogpost, Jack. I hope the words of support from your fans in these comments serve as some comfort in a time where everything might seem so bleak. You are an inspiration!
First of all I’m SO pleased to hear that your stress (alluded to in previous postings) wasn’t about your relationship with Allegra.
Your experience is one of the reasons why I don’t subscribe to twitter, have a phoney name on facebook (just so I can see family photos on the other side of world) and rarely post comments on news stories. A couple of comments I have made received such appalling abuse I was shattered. I don’t need this in my life and my life won’t be any the poorer for not being part of social media.
Let’s hope and pray the police can find a way to lock up this fw.
Re the poem – if you substitute the word ‘child’ for ‘people’ – I’ve have found this very helpful in measuring the quality of relationships – several partners have missed out on those benefits in their childhood and consequences become very obvious as an adult.
Hi Jack, I have been “following” you with growing admiration ever since you first became known in public about two years ago, and I am so sorry you have become the victim of such horrible abuse. The internet has brought amazing benefits but also it has allowed some people to abuse others behind what they think is a cloak of online anonymity. That is so wrong.
I wish you peace and strength, and look forward to seeing you back in the pubic sphere, but only when you are ready to do so.
Dear Jack, you’re no shyer than I am or many, many other people in this world. We all fight to hold our own in unfamiliar and stressful circumstances, let alone in the public eye but not all of us do it as consistently and strongly as you do. Let alone maintaining such a kind heart in the face of such vileness, which I can only admire: it makes me want to hit back, every time.
Thanks for the poem, which I’m only adopting in its original form (rather than yours) because I think it will help, psychologically, to apply it to my own difficult family story.
Be kind to yourself and stay strong – but don’t be afraid to acknowledge weakness; paradoxically, that can be an even better example for others to see.
Reblogged this on Je suis à Paris..
Reblogged this on sweetaswords and commented:
I have a great deal of respect for this woman, and her response to the trolls as of recent that have attacked her is admirable. At the risk of sounding condescending, I will note that I am proud of her for her response and her strength in the face of this.
It can be terrifying to realise that we share this planet with such evil & bigoted creatures. This is the price we pay for free speech!
Try to dwell on the wonderful messages of support & gratitude because they are the majority. The love & admiration is stronger, these are the messages that should influence you & for every vile person who tries to put you down there are hundred, maybe thousands who are right behind you, supporting you & wishing you nothing but the best of everything.
There will always be evil in the world but maybe we need this to be able to see just how much love & goodness there is. I hope that you find that inner strength that you obviously have, the strength that has carried you through so much in the past & that you come through this dark period an even stronger advocate of what is right.
“That which does not kill you, makes you stronger” – F. W. NIETZSCHE
Stay strong & absorb all of the love & light you receive, not the negativity & evil.
I am so very sorry this has happened to you. I can’t begin to imagine what it must feel like.
I rarely use my Twitter account, so I didn’t know about this t the time but something flashed up on my Facebook account a day or so ago, saying that the young man in question had been arrested.
It saddens me deeply that someone like you, someone strong and spirited who has put so much good energy out into the world, has been treated this way. No one deserves it. Ever. But especially not someone so positive, who has inspired so many.
I sometimes forget how young you are when I read your words. I sometimes have to remind myself that you’re a young woman, a mother and that your circumstances have changed very quickly, in a relatively short space of time.
But you’re right, in your wisdom that an “eye for an eye” mentality isn’t the way forward. that bigoted people need to be pitied; that something so intrinsically evil in what they can say and do is a sickness that lives in the very root of the society we have created for ourselves.
I wish you happiness, success and good friends. I already know you have a supportive family because of your posts. We need people like you who stand up for what they believe in, who are open and honest and true.
I admire you. Immensely. I hope this gets sorted out properly and taken as seriously as it should be and that you can confdiently return to what you do best.
I left Twitter many months ago and I emailed them tell them they were being given the boot because they contravened my Terms and Conditions which do not allow women to be routinely sent death threats by the dozen on a daily basis by misogynists.
Yesterday I put a comment on Michael Buble’s Facebook page after he posted a photograph of a woman taken from behind, without her knowledge or consent and I got 300 abusive replies and some very nasty PMs too
The Internet is a male playground and it is awash with disgruntled males with appalling communication skills.
They tell us to man up, laugh it off, get a sense of humour, jump of a bridge, kill ourselves….anything, in fact, but accept that THEY are the problem and THEY need to change, not us.
Jack, reading through this has moved me so much. I am so sorry you have been subjected to such vile abuse. To those who say “It’s only words” I am reminded of a fellow teacher who told her class to each write an unkind or insulting comment on a piece of paper and the screw the paper up and throw it into a box. One by one the papers were retrieved, smoothed out and the words read out loud. The point of the exercise was that however hard the children tried they couldn’t smooth out all the creases completely. The effect of those words would always be there, even if you tried to “smooth things out”.
By not responding to the spiteful trolls you are the better person.
Please keep doing what you do and do not be deterred or disturbed by the actions of a small number. I am quite sure that for every troll who chooses to abuse you in this way there are hundreds of loyal supporters who love and support your work.
Oh and I love that poem too.
Wishing you and yours peace, good health and happiness xx
I log into Jack’s blog because I am basically interested in Jack’s helpful recipes. I can’t see myself as part of a fan club or a substitute for real friends,so find all this personal ,rather gushing commentary,especially to someone you have never even met,a bit “de trop” and embarrassing and am not sure that so much should be revealed and”shared”.
However,having read this “cri de coeur”, I have to say, firstly,that I do not know why so many people bother to get involved with Facebook and Twitter in the first-place. I was signed up for Facebook by a guest who thought it would be cool for an old lady to be in the swing of things. I did not know what “Facebook” was so did not object.When I did find out, I could not for the life of me see what the attraction of it was. Occasionally I have logged in when I appeared to be contacted by a “friend” or family member. Almost all the entries are sheer,trivial rubbish,with one generally uninteresting entry spawning a whole load of silly ,pointless comments afterwards. There is rarely a serious discussion – generally just lots of flattering,ego-boosting or supportive affirmations.Perhaps this is why people don’t like getting disagreeable,contrary comments,because the “code” had been broken.On one occasion I wrote to one of my young friends to say:”Why are all you all writing this silly,inconsequential drivel ?”. Her reply was:”I suppose because we are bored”. In other words : “This is time-wasting activity”. I rarely bother to look in now, even for friends or relatives.( Though I have posted a couple of entries,protesting at images included,which showed animal cruelty.) Far better,I think, to have a proper, warm telephone conversation.
As for these so-called nasty “trolls”,well,there are plenty of stories of how people’s lives have been devastated by such nastiness,with some youngsters even committing suicide,so why are sensible adults choosing to lay themselves open to abuse? I have to say you can easily avoid such situations,by immediately taking yourself out of the firing line. Lots of people lead perfectly happy and successful lives without being on Facebook and Twitter,you know.So I am sorry Jack,in my opinion you have partly yourself to blame by allowing the situation to escalate .
One of the commentators above has spelled out in detail a long list of really sad and dreadful things which have happened to her and which she has survived,no doubt because of her innate courage. The truth is that horrible ,hurtful things happen to all of us. The older you get,the more the list of negatives grows,unfortunately. I could bore you with my own long list of bad things,but the truth is that ,in spite of them, I consider I have had a very good life,because there are have always been some good things in my life. You need to ride out the bad times or situations,take them calmly and philosophically and,sometimes,keep them to yourself.If you portray yourself as a victim,and let people know how pained and devastated you are,some unkind people will target you even more – rather like sharks smelling blood. Look at the mechanism by which scape-goating occurs. My advice is to do what someone else suggested above:take it on the chin. Refuse to get intimidated and upset,put all this stuff out of your mind and get on with living your life,facing up to what gets thrown at you. Above all,counteract all the negatives by counting your blessings. You have lots of them.
I’m not sure staying off these social media platforms because of abusers is the answer, though. Why should trolls be allowed to spoil it for everyone else? Don’t you think they should be the ones to (be made to) leave?
I have to tell you that there is a real and growing problem on Twitter with men targetting women with rape and death threats whenever they comment – is it fair that the women should leave because men (and a lot of women too) won’t stop being abusive?
I don’t think it’s fair to see Jack is in some way responsible for what happened to her. She has a product that she wants to share with as many people as she can and she has a right to do so on whatever social media sites there are, where her audience hangs out. Why should that audience be taken away from her by abusers? Why should we give up anything and let abusers win?
I know you’re not a fan of social media and neither am I but I’m even less a fan of letting bad people continue to do bad things and expecting the victims to change THEIR behaviour! :p It’s almost impossible to ‘take on the chin’ a constant, unrelenting onslaught of rape threats. Many, many well-known women have left Twitter because of it. I posted a comment somewhere yesterday and got almost 300 abusive replies including that I and my cats should jump off a bridge! – should I now shut up and not express my view?
By the way, Jack IS a victim here. She’s a victim of online abuse. If she had the same abuse screamed at her outside her home, you wouldn’t expect her to move house and say she is partly to blame for it!
I’m trying to be as respectful as I can as I see you refer to yourself as an older lady and you’re a fellow cat lover. 🙂
I am so sorry you have been a target from such vile abuse. It is unforgiveable behaviour from those dishing it out. Despite it hurting, I admire your tough grit in sharing your response with all of us who love and admire you and what you’ve achieved. You show incredible strength in surmounting something which appears at times to be insurmountable. You do well not to respond, together with your request that others do not respond to these horrible trollers on your behalf either. By publicly ignoring these spiteful individuals only proves to show how insignificant they are. My personal view however is that both the organisations who run Twitter and similar sites, together with our legal justice system SHOULD be doing more to ensure that such behaviour is firmly stamped out once and for all.
I don’t use Twitter but have heard far too many instances where such abuse has happened to others, although It doesn’t help to know that many other innocent people are subjected to this unacceptable form of vileness. Let us hope Karma will triumph, and through their bad actions, the resulting consequences will one day help them face up to what they’ve done, and hopefully make them turn around their lives to a more positive outlook.
You are loved and admired by many Jack, and I know you will triumph and be even stronger once you finally put this horrible episode behind you.
It’s such a shame that Twitter has become such a toxic space and that the bullies are allowed to carry on forcing lovely people like you out of it. There have been so many incidents in particular of women and LGBT people being targeted for the trolls’ hate campaigns and you mustn’t forget that nothing you’ve said or done has brought this on. Your only ‘crime’ has been being a woman and a lesbian daring to speak out in public. Companies like Twitter need to get better at protecting people subjected to the kind of horrible abuse that you have been. Nobody should have to deal with it. I hope it doesn’t continue to upset you and that you can get all the support you need from your friends and family.
I just hope that for every evil, sickening tweet that’s gone out, there has been another positive comment sent straight back. It’s a shame that love and respect are so much louder than hate and anger. You’re a real inspiration and this post had me near tears. Thank you for reminding us all of this poem – it’s so true and important.
Hate might be louder but I think love and hope is stronger, and it’s clear for how many people you inspire with the latter two!
There is nothing I can say that will take away the bitter pain.
I do not understand why people feel they have to do such things.
Words can be the strongest thing there is, but they can also cause such terrible harm.
I too have been on the receiving end of abuse and death threats from this individual. People don’t understand how frightening it can be to be in this position. Unfortunately the police didn’t seem terribly interested when it was reported to them by myself and the many others he’s targeted in the same way – it often feels as if you’re on your own, dealing with this awful thing that’s just come out of the blue.
Your post is full of the decency, hope and humanity so lacking in the perpetrator of this crime (and crime it most certainly is). I am so sorry that this has happened to you but thank you for sharing this. Kindness will always win out.
I am so sorry about this. Modern life can sometimes be trying and vile. I trust that the tormentors will receive what they deserve. And I love your recipes and have nothing but enormous respect for you, and thanks for sharing the recipes and some of your life with us.
No more words, you’ve had so many …. I just hope you are seeing the good outweigh the bad.
Well maybe two words …. love and hugs. Xx
I agree, Love and hugs, the draw back to instant media is instant hate, sadly their problem becomes sickening for us. I too have that poem to live by.
You are the most wonderful of bloggers, you are someone I would personally love to spend a few hours chatting fixing the world. You have what it takes to be great; some people think they are better, but hey, they add little to the debate, except their bitter hate.
You will always be a winner, because you can rise above idiots
Don’t let the bastards grind you down – that is what I have on my wall!!
Unfortunately, this guy has been getting away with his online trolling and hatred for way too long – I first heard of him when he accused me of graverobbing (and my daughter of mutilating cats for fun) and we didn’t take him too seriously – just another online nutter.
It took up a lot of our time and caused no end of hassle for our business, but he’s hurt others far more – i’m very thick skinned.
I had thousands of messages from his ‘followers’ and my FB pages were clogged up with vile (and often misspelt) messages.
The story is here http://www.nikkipilkington.com/joshua-bonehill-nikki-pilkington-and-a-grave-robbery-that-never-took-place/
Well done Jack for taking the high road, but don’t let him chase you away from Twitter.
Very eloquent. I’m sorry you feel this bad, but the goodness outweighs the badness and you’ve done a lot of good.
I deal with people who report problems with social media a lot. I always tell them that people have said bad things about other people since time began. The only difference now is that you don’t have to stand outside their front room windows one by one until you hear them, they come to you.
Society is becoming desensitised to the point it is changing beyond all recognition. The only way to fight that, as per the poem, is to present it with an alternative of which you, and us, are part.
Take care x.
There are so many sage, intelligent and insightful remarks here- I wouldn’t presume to try and add anything of the same caliber, so simply put: don’t let the bastards grind you down, remember you are well loved!
Excellent article as always – and you’re right about peace being the only way. This kind of trouble is caused by only about 0.01 % of the population, or less. It seems more because they cause a disproportionate amount of trouble. But they’re few and already scared.
i am so sorry to hear what happened to you. You are wonderful is this kind of thing is just miserable and rotten. People really don’t understand how frightening internet threats and abuse can be and your words give all of us strength x
Thank you for your words Jack.
Peace to you and yours.
You are a cannonball. Thanks to you, the world is a slightly better place and the lives of many people (mine for certain) are slightly easier. Keep doing what you’re doing, keep being who you are. Don’t let them crush you, for the sake of all those who love you.
Sending you the biggest and tightest of hugs and a warming (though virtual) cuppa. This too shall pass, I promise.
I don’t know you, but your blog, cookery books and articles I’ve read have been a inspiration to me. I’m truly sorry that these is people in the virtual world that have made you feel so unsafe.
There is nothing I can do to make you or anyone who is a victim of similar trolls to feel better about the situation.
But just know you have many fans and people who respect your work.
Sending alot of virtual love to you and your family
I don’t know if this will help or not. As an elderly, retired ex IT Pro for over 40 years with experience of the internet before browsers & so called social networking sites, the sort of thing seen on modern platforms was (but seems less so as the platform loses it’s appeal) common place on Newsnet/Usenet boards.
It may be hard to ignore & I was not in public facing situation, but starving these people of the oxygen of a response is one effective way of (eventually) of shutting them up. They need treatment to my mind. There’s a big difference between a spirited exchange of views & downright vitriol (the word troll is apt & has been around to describe this situation for 30+ years).
Anyway keep up the good work, your practical approach to all things culinary & to life in general is good to see.
Don’t be afraid – there are plenty of us here who support you no matter what.
sorry youve had such a hard time,and youre right,we should feel sorry for these damaged people who live to hurt others.for what its worth,i think youre lovely xxx
Thanks for your post. i enjoy your writing, and your food. Please keep going. You make difference. You can count me as a supporter.
Dear Alchera,Thank you for managing to reply politely to my point of view .No troll you! Of course,it is wrong that the trolls are allowed to be nasty/vile or whatever and insufficient is being done to stop it. But ,even if it is at some cost, – whatever you think you are losing from being on Facebook etc. – surely,if it is being so destructive to your emotional and physical health and well-being,it is best to shun it. Why continue to keep going back for a pasting and complain when you do keep getting hurt? Think too of that old saying:”Sticks and stones may hurt my bones but words will never hurt me”. Not quite true ,of course – unkind or slanderous words are very hurtful or dangerous – but there’s a useful message there.
But think,on the other hand,how impossible or hard it is to control or stop all the physical/verbal/emotional/financial abuse which is happening in everyday life – not verbally or on paper , but face on.Not by strangers whose opinions you should not care tuppence about but by people you know and love.Unkindness,treachery and betrayal by them is especially bitter and wounding.Abuse takes many forms : emotional,physical,financial. Parents,family members, as well as strangers, abuse children. Strangers abuse each other ,racially,emotionally,financially.We are prey to stalkers,violent criminals,con – men et al.Children abuse other children and parents. The elderly are especially vulnerable to abuse by their families. (There is actually a charity dedicated to supporting elderly people who are being abused. Through Help the Aged, I had to seek their help when my older sister was being abused by her son and wife. I can assure you that both Social Services and the police were totally ineffectual in protecting her). Husbands and wives abuse each other,sometimes when they can’t help it.(I had 15 years of emotional,physical,financial abuse from my dearly loved husband when he became mentally ill but I would not walk away from a daily nightmare because it was not his fault and I had promised “in sickness and in health” etc. He refused medication for 6 years so I had the mental illness full on with no respite. My family was either dead or living at a distance,so I had to face up to it and get on with it,with the support of my sister and a couple of friends who kept in contact by phone.)m People are also of course,abused daily in their work situation. In many of these cases,it is hard to walk away because of emotional or financial dependency,or the interests of others to think about.
So,forgive me when I say,from experience, that having to face abuse day in and out,living or working with an abuser ,as so many people are doing,is much more toxic than suffering at the words of on-line trollers which you can escape.I did not say,of course,that Jack was responsible for being trolled. I said she was “partly responsible for allowing the situation to escalate”,once the nasty trolling had started. There’s that old saying:”Discretion is the better part of valour”. Be courageous and stick something out if you can but,if you can’t, there’s no shame in having the sense to protect oneself by withdrawing to fight another day.Even in the boxing ring there is a mechanism to stop one of them taking an unnecessary pounding,even though such macho chaps might find it hard to throw in the towel. An important life skill is to learn to take care of ourselves,avoid stress ,where we can etc. One useful technique is to recognise the worst case scenario in your life,which may or may not yet have happened to you(Mine was the death of my brother at 37,when I was 26) .It definitely puts so much else into perspective .
I’ve been a fan of yours ever since you started following me on twitter a couple of years ago. You turned up, I clicked on your profile and I thought “I have no idea who she is but she’s awesome”. (I think this was before the real fame started and the infamous Carrot and Kidney bean cumin burger” gained you well deserved publicity). Ever since then, you’ve been a tremendous inspiration to me. I’ve admired your tenacity, your strength, your sense of humour and the strong sense of justice. It’s you that really opened my eyes to what’s going on in this country and to some extent, your posts about what you’ve gone through in the past have in some way echoed my own experiences and still do in a away (carer to a disabled partner and stepson and battling through prejudice against our predicament and discrimination against my partner’s disability).
You have been a tremendous force for good and don’t ever forget it, or let people take that away from you. A lot of the abuse that’s been directed towards you, I feel is brought on by jealousy. You’re someone who has lived and experienced poverty, depression and god knows what else. And you’ve managed to become successful through hard work, talent and determination. And through all that you’ve done the right thing. There are people in this world who envy this and would prefer to see you back where you were. This country has a fetish for building someone up and then kicking them when they become successful. It’s happened time and time again and will continue to happen sadly.
However saying all that, I can understand where you’re coming from in regards to twitter. It’s become a window for all the hatred and bitterness out there. It used to be amazing, now not so much. I’m in the process of a little twitter break – when something makes you sit on the sofa with tears streaming down your cheeks and sparks off a depression that has been dormant for over 4 years, you know something is wrong. You know when you need to step away and heal.
I miss you like crazy on twitter (as do countless others). But what I and others feel is irrelevant. YOU need to do what’s right for you and no one else. So I’m not going to say the tired cliche of “don’t let the bastards chase you away, come back to twitter”, as that’s the last thing you need to do. Just like it’s wrong for people to act in such a manner that you feel unsafe on a social media platform, it’s equally wrong for anyone to say “man up and just block.” That is the sentiment of someone who hasn’t been harassed or abused online.
What I will say is that you do whatever you need to do in order to feel safe and to heal and know that you have the love and support of a hell of a lot of people x
Reblogged this on Mixed Bag.
Dear Ms. Munroe,
I do not always agree with you, however cannot conceive of the sort of mind that mounts these quite dreadful personal attacks on any individual.
I am also extremely shocked at some of the remarks that are made on all sorts of blogs,political, social and, totally innocuous and I do wonder why anyone would wish to be on social media if this is the sort of abuse that happens.
I do hope that you are feeling better and that you feel able to continue to put your point of view without fear or favour.
Your eloquent words have reached me at the best time. I too was trolled last week, not by people in the public eye, by people I know and trusted, one even lives opposite me.
Whilst I don’t have journalists on my doorstep I do have to walk amongst the people who attacked my reputation on social media every day. All I want to do is what you say you did above, draw my duvet over my head.
At least I know what has been said about me is untrue. But I still feel unsafe in the place where I live. It is most unpleasant.
I don’t know what you wrote or did to attract the abuse, but thank you for talking about it.
Trolls are utterly pitiable. I understand your not feeling safe, but please understand internet trolling is simply a very sad hobby for very sad and frustrated people who can only be “heard” by being provocative.
If it’s any consolation, I actively avoid all types of social media for this amongst other reasons. Today I was talking to a neighbour, minding my own business, when out of nowhere some young girl walked past, took the mick out of my accent and tried to verbally rip me to shreds in an attempt to intimidate me (not the first time I’ve been mocked by a stranger). So there are idiots looking to tear you down however much you seek to avoid it. I have always been disliked or judged by people who don’t know me. I know it’s crushing but please don’t surrender to the hate and keep on trucking.
Pity them, as you say, you really have to be in a sad place in yourself to be so hateful. *Lots* of people are rooting for you. Thank you for reminding me not to play into hate, it’s an important lesson.
Another poem for you Jack. Keep going and don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Spared – by Wendy Cope
“That Love is all there is
Is all we know of Love…” (Emily Dickinson)
It wasn’t you, it wasn’t me
Up there, ten thousand feet above
A New York street. We’re safe and free
A little while, to live and love
Imagining what might have been
The phone call from the blazing tower
A last farewell on the machine
While someon sleeps another hour,
Or worse, perhaps, to say goodbye
And listen to each other’s pain
Send helpless love across the sky,
Knowing we’ll never meet again,
Or jump together, hand in hand
To certain death. Spared all of this
For now, how well I understand
The love is all, is all there is.
It never fails to amaze me how you turn into negativity into inspiration – you are truly an angel, and I really hope that you understand what a positive influence you are and have on others, almost certainly many more people than you realise.
Jack, you must be a loving, sensitive and gentle person to write as movingly as you do. When you’re in situations where you’re out of your comfort zone, or facing hostility (online or otherwise), clothe yourself in the love of all who love you and care for you: in your imagination, one by one, ‘put on’ the love of each one. It won’t take the negativity away, of course, but it puts it in the context of all the good you do and what you mean to so many of us ‘public’ who admire you.And who love your recipes too!
Social Media is a concentrated version of real life. The difference is it’s also global. What we see are people behaving in a way that once was confined to their own sphere now spilling over into a much wider sphere. The world of humans hasn’t been a pretty place for a long time it’s just now we see it through the tunnel vision of social media making the perspective even worse. I’ve been trolled, impersonated and harassed on Twitter. I take a break, get some real life perspective and come back to share a petition I’ve just signed. I use Twitter rather then let it use me. When it’s not ‘working’ for me I filter it out for a while.
Jack I’m an occasional reader who nevertheless loves your blog and recipes (I am about to start pickling). I’m sorry this happened to you, it’s so awful and unnecessary. I hope you are able to put this behind you and that something is done both to help the perpetrator and stop them.
good for you! Twitter is so overrated anyway.
This is so rotten for you. I am constantly baffled at how (and why) people use whatever flavor-of-the-month social app to tear down other people. Apart from that, I wonder how they have the time. It’s everything I can do to live my own life, much less tell others how to live theirs.
What happened was assault, not free speech, and the folks at Twitter are accomplices and need to have their feet held to the fire, so to speak, for allowing such abuses to continue. One of the ways to hold social type medias accountable is to do exactly what you did, turn them off, tell said companies and everybody you know, why. Loss of revenue gets their attention.
Jack I’m glad you’re escaping those sad trolls but very sorry that means you’re missing out on support from your thousands of fans. Then I had an idea!
This morning, a week before an election about which I share the feelings you’ve made public, when I heard that the Lib Dems are offering the chance of a dinner with Hugh Grant to anyone donating before Monday, I immediately thought of you, and how many of your thousands of fans would love a chance to have a far more interesting meal with you if they donated to the Green Party! I’m broke myself but donated to the Greens for a chance to go to the Green Gala, and won, so hope you’d consider this idea, if winning donors are vetted before you give anyone the chance to meet you xxx
Not the most enlightened piece of advice, but here goes: most doorbells can easily be disabled! Have a look into how yours is power and switch it off, if people are hounding you! You’ve said before that you weren’t the biggest fan of doorbells anyway, so in an emotional emergency you can just kill them!
I’m sorry that such sad and bitter people have pushed themselves into your life and dragged their negativity with them. They are a small minority and mean nothing. I love your blog and wish you loads of love and happiness. X
I’ve never been on Twitter as it seems so much negativity and puerile nonsense finds it’s way there. I think it’s name says it all. Twits!
I am convinced that a proportion of trolls are sad people with not much in the way of self esteem. Sadly they seem to believe that they will only ever feel good by knocking people down to their level.
Responding to them is exactly what these people are trying to achieve so when someone is angry with them, then they have succeeded in making you do what they wanted you to do – give them attention.
Their trollery is then reinforced.
I always feel very sorry for trolls, their inner life must be hellish. But that’s their problem to solve not mine, so I do not engage. (I’m a bit crap at not engaging when they are bullying someone else though but I’m working on that too by saying something directly supportive rather than attacking the sad person who has nothing nice to say).