Woman Charged With “Malicious Communication” For #KillAllWhiteMen Tweet

Bahar Mustafa, a welfare and diversity officer at Goldsmiths University in London, has been charged by police with sending a communication conveying a threatening message and, separately, with sending a grossly offensive message via a public communication network for using the hashtag #killallwhitemen on her personal Twitter account. No, no one’s joking, here.

Remember when Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu and dozens of other women were specifically threatened with death and rape as part of a targeted harassment campaign carried out by thousands of people and spearheaded by a few very obvious culprits? Remember how they had to explain to the cops what Twitter even was? Remember how no one was arrested and charged with anything? Yeah, I remember that, too.

Which is not to condone Mustafa’s actions. What does the #killallwhitemen hashtag really do for racial and gender justice? What did it do for Mustafa and her work? But the fact that the police called this a “racially motivated malicious communication” is a little mind-boggling when 1 in 3 people in the UK willingly admit that they’re racist – you know, against not-white people.

It seems like justice is being unevenly applied, here, is the point. Mustafa has received death and rape threats, herself, but have the police been there for her? The House of Lords Select Committee on Communications decided last year that online harassment was covered under the 1988 Malicious Communications Act and under the 2003 Communications Act, but it smells fishy that with all the death and rape threats that are sent by UK Twitter users, the first high-profile case under that decision is against a woman of color.

It raises the question of whether or not the law is really the best way to settle conflicts involving online threats – we’ll see where the case goes.

[The Guardian]
[The Independent]

[Image via Twitter]

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