UK Troll Sentenced To 18 Weeks In Prison For Rape Threats

Remember last year, when a UK politician was supporting an effort to get Jane Austen put on the 10-pound note and got flooded with rape threats on Twitter? No? I vaguely remember — vaguely, because it’s just one of the many, many, many instances in which women have received rape threats over Twitter in the last two years and it’s made the news. Plus, it seems like maybe the mildest thing in the world to try to get Jane Austen’s face on a bank note. Not that trolls are ever justified for making rape threats but … Jane Austen? Really? How does one manage to use Jane Austen as an excuse for rape threats?

Anyway, the troll, Peter Nunn, who is a grown man who has a young daughter, was sentenced to 18 weeks in jail for harassing MP Stella Creasy and activist Caroline Criado Perez. Some of the more horrific things he said included not just rape threats, but specific instructions on how to rape a “witch” (he made Creasy and Perez out to be witches because of course he did). He claimed in court that he was satirizing trolling, which, to me, indicates a basic lack of understanding of how exactly satire functions. And also that he’s bad at lying. And also that there is literally no lie that could make this behavior acceptable.

Anyway, big win for victims of online harassment in the UK! Big precedent worldwide! Free speech has limits! It’s worth prioritizing people’s physical and emotional safety over someone else’s right to say crude things on the Internet sometimes! Of course it had to involve a member of Parliament to actually happen, but, hey, a first step is a first step. Now if we could start taking that lead here in the US to protect victims of online harassment, I’d be a very happy clam. [Jezebel]