April 25th, 2006 at 09:54pm
Caz from The Spin Starts Here has announced her retirement from blogging. She says that she has made this decision because in the last few weeks she has
received some extremely nasty and threatening emails directed at my family – including my baby daughter. I have not published the contents of all of these communications, but let’s just say I have reason to be concerned by them.
Caz also says that
In the process an innocent woman has been targeted and “identified” as me on another site with “anonymous” folk people threatening to “pay her a visit”. I can’t tell you how disturbing that is – and I’ve had to contact the woman in question explaining what has happened and why she should be careful. Let’s hope she doesn’t think I’m a crackpot.
I doubt that anybody who has been on the receiving end of one of her campaigns (for lack of a better word) will be surprised that she receives threats, I personally (and half-heartedly) threatened her with a defamation lawsuit last year when there was an extensive campaign against me, and I can’t really say that I’m surprised that somebody snapped and started “real” threats, but the two are in very different categories, and the threats of physical violence are quite simply appalling.
I do think that Caz has brought this on herself to some extent by under estimating what enraged and annoyed people are capable of. Some of the things she has written have been quite nasty, vicious and demeaning, so I doubt that anybody can be honestly surprised that she has received a lot of hate mail, but there is an important difference between hate mail and threats of physical violence.
Let me take you back to the time when I was at the centre of her flamethrower of attention. A lot of nasty things were said about me, but they were only words. Sure it hurt for a while, but at the end of the day I realised that it wasn’t the end of the world, life would go on, and I would eventually leave the spotlight and carry on with my life. Ultimately this meant that somebody else would become the poor sod in the middle of her flamethrower, and that made me a bit nervous, as I realised that the entire purpose of her online presence was to annoy one person or another. Caz probably took things a bit too far, and she eventually landed on the inevitable person who would reach the end of their tether and do their best to inflict pain and misery upon her.
I’ll admit that I have had communications with people who are very annoyed with Caz, I think it comes with the territory…it’s just what happens when you’ve been “featured” on her site, it’s a club of sorts, but I have had no knowledge of any person actually threatening harm against her or her family, and if I had known about it I would have done what I could to prevent it.
No matter how nasty some of the things Caz wrote actually were, I don’t think she ever intended to make people feel miserable, she may have desired to portray it that way to her audience (in much the same way as Big Brother seems to drum up interest by having controversy), but I don’t think she ever intended to inflict misery. She was probably very naive to think that people would see it as a joke when they were on the receiving end, and it is probably a good thing that she is stopping, but I think it is agreeable that the means to the end were not desirable.
To explain my point more clearly, I will bring up something I don’t think I ever mentioned to anyone. Regular readers of her site might recall Troydanger having one of his phrases misinterpreted as a death threat against Caz’s baby late last year. Well following that Caz and Troydanger exchanged emails, and Troydanger informed Caz that I had received threats of physical violence after being featured on her site. After that, Caz sent me the following email:
I don’t do this kind of thing every day, but I am writing to you to apologise if you have received any real threats as a result of my post on TSSH.
You may be aware that my baby received a death threat from Troydanger this week. After contacting him about this, he told us he had heard from you that you yourself have received such threats from TSSH readers. If this is the case I apologise as it was never my intention. It does not excuse Troy’s behaviour either though.
I have to say my opinion of you has changed since I wrote my original post. In the comments on that first thread that started everything, you came accross to me like one of the many radio wannabes we had hanging around when I worked at 2CC many years ago, who quite frankly were annoying. There was one boy at the time in particular – about your age – who used to come in all the time and would tell staff that he was “going to take my job away from me” etc. I thought you might be like this boy, but I was wrong. You seem to genuinely love 2CC. I honestly don’t understand why – they tend to treat staff similarly to what you have blogged about your previous employer doing to you – but so be it.
I would never have posted about you if you hadn’t put up that original post on your site, but I think it’s important for people to have a right of reply, as I am sure you would certainly agree. We were only taking the piss out of you to start with, and there was never meant to be any malice in that.
That being said, after reading your blog since then you have kind of grown on me, and you seem like a nice kid. I think you’ve handled everything really well and with maturity. The readers seem to love you too (most of them, but hey, not all of them like me either) and who would have thought you’d become a celebrity? I’ve never seen anything like it in the time I’ve been blogging. I don’t know about you, but when you get past the weirdness of it, it’s actually pretty cool that they can’t get enough Samuel.
If you’re ever in Melbourne (the Australian coffee capital) we’ll shout you a cup of the city’s finest.
As I said earlier, Caz probably brought this all on herself to some extent, but that doesn’t excuse the threats of violence against her. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that there won’t be anybody receiving her flamethrower ever again, but I think there would have been much better ways to sort this all out than to have people threatening Caz with physical violence.
I understand that quite a few of my readers will be surprised to see me semi-defend Caz, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you turn on me now, but I’ve been honest about my thoughts and feelings on this matter, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s all that matters.