It feels like we say this kind of thing too often, but this past week online was kind of awful. One of our favorite tweeters was hacked; Hillary Clinton’s secret “vagenda” was exposed (keep reading, you’ll see); and then Gawker.com ended its run, meaning there was nowhere folks could go for reactions to what was happening. Yeah, the last seven days haven’t been what we would call “fun.” Here’s everything you might have missed if you kept yourself off of the Internet this week.
The Internet Rallies Behind Leslie Jones. Again.
What Happened: Continuing what was already a pretty bad few months on the Internet for the comedian and Ghostbusters star, Leslie Jones’ website was hacked Wednesday.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: It boggles the mind to think about what kind of summer the Internet en masse has given Leslie Jones. There was the upset over her character in Ghostbusters not being a scientist, the innumerable attacks by racist trolls that lead her to temporarily leave Twitter, and her return to Twitter which led to a triumphant trip to the Rio Olympics. Then, this week, her website was hacked, leading to the release of a number of nude photos and personal information, including her driver’s license and passport.
Unsurprisingly, the hack received a lot of coverage in the media–including an open letter to the Internet from this very organ–while Jones’ work colleagues and friends mobilized on social media to support her:
What’s happening to @Lesdoggg is an absolute outrage. Alt right, haters, trolls, “comedians,” whoever the fuck you all are, you’re just sad.
— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) August 24, 2016
so angry, disgusted and sad about this racist violent assault on leslie.
— Aidy Bryant (@aidybryant) August 24, 2016
May many (more) bad things befall the cowards who’ve attacked my friend, @Lesdoggg. They are the worst of humanity, where she is the best.
— Taran Killam (@TaranKillam) August 24, 2016
Yo real talk though..LEAVE LESLIE JONES ALONE!!! She has done nothing to deserve the treatment these BUTT holes are giving her! @Lesdoggg
— Jay Pharoah (@JayPharoah) August 24, 2016
I truly don’t know why people are so hateful towards @Lesdoggg. Why? She’s talented and wonderful. Why are people so pressed to be awful?
— Gabby SidiBae (@GabbySidibe) August 24, 2016
I was terrified when I did SNL. Leslie Jones went out of her way to be open, warm, friendly, funny all week. She is a GEM.
— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) August 25, 2016
This @Lesdoggg attack is troubling. The rampant racism percolating in society right now is shameful and sad. She made a movie, that’s it!
— octavia spencer (@octaviaspencer) August 24, 2016
Let’s turn our anger at trolls into love for Leslie Jones and into strategies to protect all the heroines who don’t deserve this bullshit
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) August 24, 2016
these acts against leslie jones….are sickening. its racist & sexist. it’s disgusting. this is hate crimes. this aint “kids joshing round”
— Questlove Gomez (@questlove) August 24, 2016
Oh, and one of the Presidential candidates got involved, too:
@Lesdoggg, no one deserves this–least of all someone who brings us so much joy. I’m with you. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 25, 2016
There were multiple hashtags for Twitter users to show that they were behind Jones, as well, with #IStandWithLeslie becoming the most commonly shared. The hack prompted conversations about the difficulty of being a celebrity online, the way such hacks are gendered hate crimes (with this one being unmistakably racist, too), and why the Internet cannot deal with successful black women.
The hack is currently under investigation by Homeland Security.
The Takeaway: While Laura Benanti catches some of the truth behind the attack below, it does little to make up for the awfulness of everything that’s gone down.
Imagine how absolutely terrified these racist, sexist trolls must be of Leslie Jones’ power, talent and brilliance.
— Laura Benanti (@LauraBenanti) August 25, 2016
What Happened: A speech by Hillary Clinton brought the political term “alt right” into the mainstream, prompting a rush to define it for those unfamiliar with the phrase.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: Ahead of a speech from Hillary Clinton Thursday highlighting Donald Trump’s links to the racist, hate-spewing elements of the far-right, the Internet tied itself in knots trying to define the term “alt-right,” initially reported as the target of Clinton’s upcoming address.
Many different media organizations tried their best to explain, but while that was happening, a war was unfolding on Twitter over the hashtag #AltRightMeans.
The hashtag was created by members of the far right, hoping to explain what’s so great about their bigoted worldview. Here are some of the less offensive tweets:
Who’s up for #AltRightMeans ? I’ll start. #AltRightMeans not being ashamed of being white. Let’s get this shared around.
— Kyle (@kLodeserto) August 25, 2016
#AltRightMeans whites deserve homelands of their own just as much as every other race.
— Backpfeifengesicht (@smdhtbqhfam) August 25, 2016
#altrightmeans recognizing that the beauty of the European woman must be preserved. pic.twitter.com/nHAczG97V6
— Reinhard Wolff (@whitewolfgeist) August 25, 2016
#AltRightMeans being honest about the fact that “equality” is a myth. pic.twitter.com/wJqp17AXJd
— Franklin (@TruthVictorious) August 25, 2016
And there are far worse out there. But as the hashtag spread–becoming the most popular trending topic on Twitter Thursday–it also got hijacked by those less sympathetic to the cause:
The #AltRightMeans thread is crazy. Seriously folks, EVERYBODY get 10 friends & go vote for Hillary.
These folks are nuts & not American!!
— Barbershop Politics (@knowpoliticsnow) August 25, 2016
White supremacy but for special snowflakes #AltRightMeans
— Kaili Joy Gray (@KailiJoy) August 25, 2016
As the media started to notice Twitter’s disagreement, things got slightly more surreal in terms of definition:
#altrightmeans believing vikings would love anime
— kept_simple (@kept_simple) August 25, 2016
#AltRightMeans My dwarf hamsters Tetsuo and Heydrich live in a habitrail made of stiffened gym socks.
— Matt Christman (@cushbomb) August 25, 2016
#AltRightMeans lengthy essays about how the Gor novels are brilliant
— Ahead By An MGK (@mightygodking) August 25, 2016
The war continues even now, because it’s the Internet.
The Takeaway: Meanwhile, the truth of the matter is this:
Having been on Twitter longer than six months, I’m quite familiar with what #AltRightMeans, thanks.
— Ken Lowery (@kenlowery) August 25, 2016
What Happened: Someone claims to have uncovered Hillary Clinton’s secret plan for the US. Their suggestion is amazing.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter
What Really Happened: You know, we’re really not even sure how to explain this, other than to just share the patient zero tweet and let you all see for yourself.
“Vagenda of manocide”
I can’t even get angry at this. (Well, maybe I can…a little.) pic.twitter.com/txnpkWTLqw
— Dani Daly (@danooli_dani) August 24, 2016
Here’s the strange thing, though: That’s not actually the first time that phrase has appeared on Twitter. As unbelievable as it seems, it appears to date back at least to 2014:
Today’s roadside signage at a nearby gun shop warns about “the Hillarybeast” and “its VAGENDA of MANOCIDE”. Sounds metal as fuck to me.
— Eric Pomorski (@cogwerks) November 13, 2014
Just because it’s old doesn’t mean that it’s not a perfect meme waiting to happen, though. Especially when so many people agree that it needs to be shared with the world as vocally as possible.
@section_sign OMG Vagenda Of Manocide needs to be in heavy-metal spikey font, ’cause it’s TOTALLY my new band name
— Capt’n Arrr (@captnarrr) August 24, 2016
@OhWettestFarm @section_sign some prefer Vagenda of Manocide’s earlier albums, before Hildabeast joined, but I think her shrill vocals rule
— Steve Bentley (@nicepersonality) August 24, 2016
Whatever a Vagenda of Manocide is, I think I want one. https://t.co/obRQcpXwAd
— Anne Billson (@AnneBillson) August 24, 2016
to be fair, id vote for anyone with a “Vagenda of Manocide” pic.twitter.com/vbEcgO7OBz
— Emanution Side B (@ManuclearBomb) August 24, 2016
At this point, all that remains is a multi-part investigative piece into quite why that sign was put up in the first place, with interviews with those responsible.
The Takeaway: The Internet really can capitalize on anything, can’t it?
VAGENDA OF MANOCIDE! Available for the next 21 days https://t.co/3vFZgIy2vW profits go to @abortionfunds pic.twitter.com/TpmZv8WPbI
— Lindsey ? (@lindseybieda) August 24, 2016
With This Kind of Attention, Maybe Lonely Isn’t So Bad
What Happened: The stars of HBO’s Girls took part in a campaign to promote body diversity, and not everyone was impressed.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: It’s possible that you’ve never heard about New Zealand-based lingerie, swimwear, and clothing house Lonely, and its Lonely Girls Project, which is, in their own words, an “ongoing journal series featuring candid portraits of inspiring women in their own spaces wearing Lonely, their way.” This week, the brand and the project both received a massive publicity boost when Girls creator Lena Dunham and star Jemima Kirke took part in the project.
Of course, media attention immediately followed, eager to support Lonely’s campaign (and show celebrities in their underwear). Twitter, however, was less convinced:
I’m loving Jemima Kirke and Lena Dunham’s unretouched photos for The Lonely Girls Project. You do you and make the haters seethe girls!
— Chelsea Victoria (@chelseavsays) August 25, 2016
I wish Lena Dunham would put some clothes on
— IVANOOZE (@PharoahtheGAWD) August 25, 2016
Why does Lena Dunham want us to look at her body so badly
— Leah Blair (@leahblizz) August 25, 2016
help i love the lingerie lena dunham is posing in but i’m not tryna support her or anything it’s not a statement. can i be free?
— Sophia Benoit (@1followernodad) August 25, 2016
The Takeaway: Whether or not you’re a fan of Dunham, the campaign’s success meant that you probably saw the photos either way… leading to this only slightly melodramatic response:
Social media assaulted me with an image of Lena Dunham in lingerie and my day is ruined
— ? (@caffeine_cynic) August 25, 2016
What Happened: As of Monday evening, Gawker.com is no more. An Internet mourned.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: We knew it was coming, but the end still came surprisingly quickly. Last Monday was the final day for Gawker.com, the former flagship of Gawker Media, with one final post from Nick Denton signaling its closure.
The online reaction to the actual closure, as opposed to last week’s announcement of same, was an odd one. On Twitter, there was a melancholy humor:
Farewell, @Gawker. Hope some other website will step up and finally publish my nudes.
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) August 23, 2016
we all scream
— Erin Gloria Ryan (@morninggloria) August 22, 2016
it’s true, dane cook finally took down gawker https://t.co/AJHyNSAPRW
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) August 22, 2016
Meanwhile, the media got to navel-gazing, remembering the company at its height while also considering what brought it to its knees, including two different accounts from those who were there, each describing the site as being murdered–something that prompted a third, parodic, take on the crime.
Of course, after the death, there have to be postmortems, and yes, they arrived, loudly proclaiming the importance of Gawker.com as a site, and Gawker Media as a company… which some didn’t appreciate, it seems.
really classy of Gawker alums to write all these delusionally self-aggrandizing pieces so we’ll miss the site less
— Owen Ellickson (@onlxn) August 22, 2016
I think Gawker getting shut down is a bad thing 100% no doubt fully true true, but enough with the hagiography.
— devin faraci (@devincf) August 23, 2016
Not to worry, though… the spirit of Gawker lives on, right? Right?
Big news. I have started up Gawker again. Made some editorial changes. It’s now pretty much just a fan site for The Clash. More info soon.
— Jake Fogelnest (@jakefogelnest) August 24, 2016
The Takeaway: It is a sign of how strange and terrible 2016 is that a site that delights in making fun of the high and mighty disappears when we need that kind of thing the most…
I miss Gawker so much https://t.co/uNX3yk1axn
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) August 23, 2016