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Ashley Judd Calls Out Misogynist Twitter Trolls in the Best Way Possible

Ashley Judd Calls Out Misogynist Twitter Trolls in the Best Way Possible

Ashley Judd Calls Out Misogynist Twitter Trolls in the Best Way Possible

Good for her for standing up to trolls.

The Internet has always been a breeding ground for trolls. It’s where they got their name, where they thrive, and where they feel invincible. When it comes to prejudice, trolls aren’t afraid to show theirs. That means that the people most often affected by online threats and cyberbullying have been outspoken people of color, the LGBTQ community, and women. Take Lewis’ Law, for example, the “law” penned by Helen Lewis on Twitter that states that the comments on any article about feminism justify feminism. This, however, seems to apply not only to posts about feminism, but about or from any vocal woman.

Last week, Ashley Judd (who you’ll remember from the 2014 movie Divergent, among others) posted a tweet that said the team playing her alma mater, the Kentucky Wildcats, was "playing dirty & can kiss my team's free throw making a—." Not a big deal, right?

Apparently it was.

Shortly after posting the tweet, Judd began receiving angry replies that included gender-based slurs and even rape threats. In an op-ed on mic.com Judd cites one of the tweets, reading "I watched Simon Birch. Lousy movie, but I got to see Ashley Judd die." Seems a little extreme for a heated tweet about basketball.

One could argue that Judd’s tweet was actually pretty tame when it comes to sports talk, especially in the heat of March Madness. So why did it receive so much backlash? Well, when women occupy male-dominated spaces, such as sports games and internet gaming, they often receive threats--either for being opinionated where men think they’re unknowledgeable, or parading as a “cool girl” and allegedly not actually knowing what they’re talking about. Judd addresses this in her mic.com op-ed, when she brings up her uncle’s similar concern for the “dirty” playing of the other team: “Of course, other people, including my uncle who is a chaplain, also expressed fear that the athletes would be hurt badly. But my uncle wasn't told he was a smelly pussy. He wasn't spared because of his profession; being a male sports fan is his immunity from abuse.” When men trash talk sports teams, it is received as fun and expected banter. When women trash talk, they’re criticized for their appearance and their opinions, and are sent death threats.

In her op-ed, Judd opens up about being a survivor of rape, assault, and incest. She is clearly a resilient woman who has worked hard to heal and in turn wants to advocate for women who have experienced similar things. While these threats might be a trigger that would understandably make any victim shut down, Judd has announced that she will be taking legal action.

Threats are threats, and whether online or in person, they should be taken seriously. The law could very well be on Judd’s side. While internet trolls have not historically been persecuted very often, it has happened, and perhaps Judd’s position as a celebrity could get things moving. She has certainly made her point thus far...though articles about her situation still receive inflammatory and crass comments. 

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Stuart Mcdonald