One of the worst things that can happen to you on the internet is to be doxed and hounded by people who use your personal information to harass you. It happened to libertarian journalist Ashley Rae Goldenberg in 2014, and her harassers continue to brag about what they did. Their actions led to a torrent of rape and death threats against her and members of her family.
Goldenberg, whose private details — including her credit card details, phone number and personal address — became a target for harassment from the social justice mob on Tumblr when she started a blog called Communism Kills in 2011. She tells The Daily Caller that she first started the site after learning about the communists on Tumblr.
“I actually started only intending to write simple lessons about economics (my major in college), but because of the nature of Tumblr, I started getting more involved in combatting the prevailing social justice dogma there,” she says, adding that she was a target of social justice warriors even when she was writing about economics.
“They would see something about price controls, or the minimum wage, and cry ‘RACISM’ or ‘SEXISM.’ It obviously snowballed from there when I started posting about things like the gender wage gap being a myth,” says Goldenberg. “By about a year in, I would say every single thing I posted, for whatever reason, even if it was a selfie, was attacked by social justice warriors.”
The harassment came to a head when she posted a satirical limerick about the death of Mike Brown to Tumblr. “It apparently got people really mad since it used the word ‘thug,’ which is allegedly a racist slur now,” she says. “It was a pretty accurate account of what happened in the aftermath of the shooting, especially the part about the town being burned down.”
Goldenberg says that the backlash against her was unprecedented at that point. “It started when someone saw my poem, posted where they thought I went to college (it was wrong), and that they wanted my house burned down,” she says. “Someone else responded by posting my Facebook page, the Facebook page for where I went to college (the right one this time), and it escalated from there. People were contacting my college, telling them to expel me to the point where it appeared like they turned off all public comments on Facebook.”
She says that someone even found out who her boyfriend was at the time and filed a Title IX complaint against him, but George Mason University, the school she attended, fully understood the situation.
Goldenberg, who previously interned at The Daily Caller, says that her mother’s Facebook page was also posted and the harassers went after her. “They started sending my mother awful messages about wanting to rape her, rape me, rape my sister, and nasty remarks about her looks,” she says. “They even posted the contact information for where my mother works. Apparently, they thought it was possible to get her in trouble for what her daughter says online.”
The social justice mob posted another address, which wasn’t hers, instructing others to burn down her house. “The first time, they posted the address of a random family that just so happened to share our last name. Then, they posted my parents’ address. The problem is, I didn’t live with my parents and hadn’t for years.”
She says that her phone number was also discovered, which made it unusable.
She shared evidence of hundreds of harassing text messages and voicemails from social justice warriors dating to the time of her doxing.
Goldenberg, who spoke to police on the matter, says that it’s difficult to tell who is responsible for doxing her or spreading the dox due to the sheer volume of people behind the attacks. Only one individual, Bec Smith, a student at Stanford, has come forward to claim responsibility.
Campus Reform reached out to Smith, who now denies having taken part harassing Goldenberg. He says that he “doesn’t even know how to doxx people.”
Goldenberg tells The Daily Caller that the people who spread her private information were heralded as social justice heroes, and many others cheered them on and joined in by reposting her details over and over again. “Bec probably claimed responsibility to win those brownie points of being known as ‘the’ social justice warrior who tried to take me down,” she says.
Despite this, Goldenberg doesn’t necessarily believe Smith should be punished for what he may have done, but adds that the words they told her — “you are not free from the consequences of your speech” — is a rule that could equally apply to him.
“People should know Bec, years later, still brags about spreading around personal information that endangered the lives of my family members and loved ones for kicks.”
In many ways, the attacks on Goldenberg are reminiscent of the GamerGate debacle, when members of the gaming community were accused of harassing feminists in the game industry. However, in that instance, unchecked claims of harassment were enough to land feminists with primetime news coverage and stories in mainstream publications.
“I didn’t have thousands of people standing up for me against the mob, even though I was also a woman being harassed on the internet. I certainly never got invited to the United Nations, given a book deal, or given an entire sympathetic article in Time magazine because I was doxed,” says Goldenberg. “When I was doxed, people told me I deserved it. I was repeatedly told this was a ‘consequence’ for what I said. It doesn’t surprise me that my story never got any major coverage: people only care about the targets of online harassment if they check all the right ideological boxes.”
Disclosure: Ashley Rae Goldenberg is an associate of the author.
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