(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014
(Thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch was introduced as a victim of trolling. She duly confronted the sad specimen who had indulged in abusive and threatening behaviour. But away from the programme, not everyone was happy to see Ms Mensch portrayed as a victim. After Ms Ford Tweeted out “Thank you so much for all the tweets and support with #TrollHunters”, the dissent began to appear.
Charlotte Booth’s response was typical: “Good subject to tackle but Louise Mensch has trolled/hassled many herself (incl my sister) See timeline of @twcuddleston etc”. What’s more, Ms Mensch has one advantage over her own (admittedly odious) troll: her tens of thousands of Twitter followers makes the whipping up of a hate mob very straightforward. Abby Tomlinson of Milifandom fame knows this. She was prompted to respond.
“Enjoying #TrollHunters on BBC 3. I'd like the opportunity to confront my Twitter troll & ask why - when's the next flight out to New York?” she Tweeted. No prizes for guessing that the subject of her message was Ms Mensch. Abby stressed that she was with Ms Mensch when it came to her own troll, though: “Not condoning what she went through, obviously, wouldn't wish it on anyone & she was right & brave to stand up to that vile man”.
But she let it be known what the Mensch massive had done to her wellbeing: “It still gets to me that she spent months writing false articles about me online/ generally making me feel awful about myself … 4,000 words about how she didn't like me, promising to write more when I turned 18, the way her followers then joined in”. And, as Zelo Street regulars will know all too well, Abby Tomlinson is not the only one Ms Mensch has gone after.
June Eric-Udorie also found herself targeted, for no reason other than pundit and writer Julia Hartley Brewer had passed adverse comment upon her. Ms Mensch was dismissive and patronising, as she was with anyone who dared to question her highly partisan and selective approach to the Gamergate row, and especially her defence of sexism row scientist Tim Hunt. She was right: those who said otherwise were liars.
It’s a pity that Ms Ford chose Louise Mensch as a participant in her presentation: there are, sadly, lots of women who have been targeted by the less adequate members of the male sex who would not have proved controversial. And the Mensch grip of facts is not always good: after establishing that her troll had worked at Heathrow Airport, she declared that she would be contacting British Transport Police.