Tuesday, July 31, 2012

@rileyy_69 (aka Reece of Weymouth) and the ugliness of the Twitter mob

He is apparently 17, but looks about 12. Reece seems to live in a guest house in Weymouth, Dorset, and happened to be a little disappointed with the performance of Tom Daley and his diving partner Peter Waterfield in the Men's Synchronised 10m Platform Final. Like many disappointed fans, he took to Twitter. But instead of tweeting commiserations, he sent this:

Cruel and unfeeling, certainly: Tom Daley’s father, mentor, friend and guide died earlier this year of a brain tumour. But this Tweet was not a crime. Reece wrote what he thought: it was the sort of macho comment schoolboys hurl at each other every day. At this point, His Grace would like to issue a warning:


Instead of ignoring the insensitive Tweet (how many harassing and irritating trolls must he have?), Tom Daley decided to RT it, with the message: ‘After giving it my all...you get idiot's sending me this...’. He must have known that one or two of his 792,000 fans would leap to his defence.

And so they did.

But Reece, bear-like, stood to fight his course:

But then something began to give. Regret, guilt, sorrow began to well within his heart:

But it was too late. Daley fans were in no mood for forgiveness: like bloodhounds on the scent of a terrified fox, they pursued their victim, intent on tearing him to pieces. Sky got hold of the story:

 And suddenly Reece was trending across the world:

He issued a desperate plea:

But no retraction, excuse, remorse or apology was acceptable. Cornered, wide-eyed, he panicked as his hate-club swelled and his followers soared from the low hundreds to 50,000, The scorn and abuse poured in. The baying mob cast their judgmental stones of hate, and Reece responded in kind:

And what began as a hormonal teenage rant became apparent threats of harm:

Of course, these threats were part of entire threads of unpleasantness being targeted at Reece. Things clearly escalated. Twitter hashtags appeared, like #ThingsBetterThanRiley69, in response to which the mob consensus appears to be ‘being the middle person in The Human Centipede’. They wished him ill, harm, and deeply unpleasant trauma. One of the earliest tweets was an expression of hope that he might burn to death.

Reece is a boy; boys need to save face. Bravado, boasting, exaggerating, threatening... Such tweets are interesting in the context of the recent ‘Twitter Joke Trial’, in which an irate passenger apparently threatened to blow up Robin Hood airport because the weather had caused flight cancellations and frustration. He was initially convicted of sending a ‘menacing’ communication. The Crown Prosecution Service took him to court under the 2003 Communications Act, and Doncaster magistrates told him to pay £600 costs, a £385 fine and a £15 victim surcharge. The conviction in May 2010 was later upheld by a Crown Court judge.

But last week the Lord Chief Justice said a joke could not by definition be menacing: ‘If the persons who receive and read it, or may reasonably be expected to receive it, or read it, would brush it aside as a silly joke, or a joke in bad taste... it would be a contradiction in terms to describe it as a message of a menacing character.’

It soon dawned on Reece that he was fast-becoming a national target of hate:

and his plea was for honest and fair reporting: he had, after all, attempted to apologise as soon as Tom Daley had personally responded.

Reece’s threats are unpleasant, but not remotely credible. He is a lost and lonely child, who seemingly never had this:

But the Twitterati meted out their summary justice like pharisaical mobs tend to. We can choose either to hate and kill, or to understand and educate. When you’re a teenager and the whole world appears to be against you, you tell it where to go. When you're insulted, you return the insult a hundredfold. When you are abused, you hate straight back. Millions of unknown and anonymous people put up with this sort of stuff (and worse) every day.

What Reece did and said is foolish, insensitive and immature. Quite possibly, it was even a transgression of Malicious Communications Act 1988. But this would never have escalated into a criminal investigation and arrest if Tom Daley had simply decided to turn the other cheek.


Blogger Graeme said...

I trust you're feeling suitably righteous about it?

31 July 2012 at 10:44  
Blogger bluedog said...

You Grace, having read your earlier twitter thread which was, er, even more descriptive, your communicant wonders whether this isn't a hoax.

If Reece is a 17 delinquent living parentless in a boarding house you would expect him to be scarcely educated after years of truancy. But no, his tweets are all perfectly spelt and grammatically correct within limits. The expression is vividly dramatic and designed to shock, which it does. Reece presents as a very angry young, if it is Reece. But there is a distinct intelligence at work here.

Interesting to see how this develops and whether or not 'Reece' is recruited for reality TV shortly. Indeed, the whole exercise may even be a pre-marketing stunt for a reality TV show.

31 July 2012 at 11:10  
Blogger bluedog said...

Whoops, insert 'man' after 'young'.

31 July 2012 at 11:12  
Blogger Flawed Law said...

I can't agree. You don't have to look too far down his timeline to see that he is a deeply disturbed individual. He boasts of pushing a girl over, issues death threats on a regular basis and calls people "black cunt" and "paki".

If anything, Tom Daley has made a great intervention. Hopefully Reece will get the help he evidently needs.

31 July 2012 at 11:17  
Blogger Kirsten Whiffin said...

Look at this "if Tom Daley had simply decided to turn the other cheek", his Dad had passed, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't of been that easy for him to just let things like that go and Tom had only had 330,000 followers and they increased by atleast 300,000 in 3 hours after this happened,I'm sure he was asking for something that big of an impact but he sure got it, he called Reece an idiot and then the amount of people that went at Reece, but he was defiantly asking for it. He got his karma and not knows you can't go onto the internet shouting your mouth about and issuing death threats without a consequence.

31 July 2012 at 11:23  
Blogger Roger Pearse said...

Well said, your grace.

It's time that online lynchings were recognised for what they are: deeply painful for the victim.

31 July 2012 at 11:41  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Would this tit-head have had the balls to say what he said to Daley's face - I think not. Would said tit-head attempt to show Daley how it should be done - I think not.

The internet has spawned legions of castrated keyboard warriors who dish out abuse anonymously under the illusion that they are excercising their right to freedom of speech. Anonymity has empowered gutless sneaks and trolls to delude themselves that they are safe within their own delusions and multiple persona's to act with impunity.

Daley was right to report this abusive cretin.

With any Rights there comes Responsibilities - some people however, insist on learning this lesson the hard way.

31 July 2012 at 12:04  
Blogger Duncan said...

It was Tom's fault all along! Of course!

Thanks for clearing that one up.

31 July 2012 at 13:00  
Blogger Al said...

I've seen screenshots (sadly I've lost the link) puporting to be of earlier tweets of his (before yesterday) where he was engaged in islamophobic and racist death threats.

31 July 2012 at 13:02  
Blogger G* said...

He's only sorry that he didn't get away with being an arse!

First he tries to say he didn't know Tom's dad was dead. In the paraphrased words of Judge Judy: don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining. There is no logical reason why Reece would have mentioned Tom's dad in that context unless he knew that he was dead.

Secondly, his apology is trumped by thelater tweet:
"@TomDaley1994 why don't you respond to me you prick stop getting me hate alright I've said I'm sorry now fuck off"

Doesn't look like regret to me. More like another lie.

Yes, he's stupid,; yes he's a child; no, that's not an excuse.

31 July 2012 at 13:05  
Blogger Andrew Chrysostom said...

"Boys need to save face"

If this happened in a pub and he had threatened to kill people there, surely the defence that 'boys need to save face' and the fact that he's a 'hormonal teenager' wouldn't be taken into account. What rubbish, and disappointing from someone with a pleasant writing style.

"This blog does not allow anonymous comments." - presumably because you don't want people to hide behind the safety of anonymity when commenting on your work, so that they can be held accountable for their comments.

31 July 2012 at 13:07  
Blogger Ed Hye said...

Awful commentary.

Have you considered the possibility that most people criticising Rileyy69 after the apology were simply unaware that it had taken place? I can imagine a lot of people seeing Tom Daley's retweet and then immediately tweeting their distaste, without examining Rileyy69's timeline.

You characterise it as a witch-hunt against a poor, defenceless little boy, but faced with harsh criticism after an apology, a decent person would have reminded people they'd apologised. Even a 'STFU - I already said I'm sorry' would have done. Instead he got increasingly aggressive.

Smearing all teenage boys as if they're macho idiots who go around making detailed threats of murder and torture is stupid in the extreme. He may never have had a chance of hurting Tom Daley, but people who talk like that with such ease do end up attacking others in their day to day lives.

Perhaps the intervention of the law into his life will strike some fear into him and make him think about the consequences of his actions - God knows he needs it.

In your attempt to make Rileyy69 look like the victim here, you have forgotten something so many in today's society forget - the notion of personal responsibility. No one forced him to make horrible comments to Tom Daley, to start racially abusing people and to start making violent threats - he chose it himself.

Perhaps if people had inculcated this idea of consequence and personal responsibility into him at an earlier age, instead of coddling him through his rage-fits as you appear to want to do, he wouldn't have ended up the way he has.

31 July 2012 at 13:20  
Blogger JuliaM said...

I'm not as convinced of his remorse and regret as His Grace, it seems too much like that expressed by defendants in the dock, to me.

31 July 2012 at 13:22  
Blogger redpola said...

I treat this subjectively. It's fine to call me a cunt. It's not fine to suggest you'll stick a knife down my neck. If I don't even know you then the latter is even more horrifying and actionable. I don't expect the kid to get a criminal conviction against him but I do expect a more mature authority - parents or police - to have a word with him.

31 July 2012 at 13:23  
Blogger JuliaM said...

Andrew, I think you don't quite understand the term 'anonymous comments'. As far as Blogger's comment system is concerned, it just means you have to make up a name. It doesn't mean it has to be your real one!

31 July 2012 at 13:24  
Blogger JuliaM said...

Personal responsibly is something I'm very much in favour of, Ed. but I'd like to see Daley show some, too. Use the block option.

What I certainly don't expect to see is police. - who are currently engaged in a battle with the government over staffing figures, remember - wasting time on this sort of thing.

31 July 2012 at 13:26  
Blogger Nick Jackson said...

Tom Daley is an 18 year old boy who lost his father last year and had just seen a minor mistake cost him the medal his dead father always wanted him to win.

Why should he be expected to turn the other cheek when this nasty piece of work is abusing him and using the one thing that he knows will hurt the most to do it?

31 July 2012 at 13:33  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

What Reece did and said is foolish, insensitive and immature. Quite possibly, it was even a transgression of Malicious Communications Act 1988. But this would never have escalated into a criminal investigation and arrest if Tom Daley had simply decided to turn the other cheek.

And why should he? Reece is a pillock, and he behaved like a pillock because he was brought up in a society which encouraged him to behave like a pillock; the creator of that society was Cranmer's pin-up, Margaret Thatcher. There is no such thing as society, therefore you can act any way the fancy takes you, for all that matters is the feeling of the individual, ie Reece in this case.

31 July 2012 at 13:33  
Blogger Unknown said...

"We can choose either to hate and kill, or to understand and educate." Unfortunately the latter option would most probably be seen as a sign of weakness by this useless individual.

"Boy needs to save face" - boy has learnt that he can't count on his assumption of the anonymity of the internet behind which to hide and be a sniper.

A life lesson for the modern era.

31 July 2012 at 13:34  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

The actual lesson here is "Don't abuse people who have the social standing of Tom Daley." If the recipient of the initial post had been follow student Tom Smith instead, then no one outside of the exchange would have noticed. There would haven't been a ready-made supply of fans leaping to the defense of the victim. The angry cruelty of the first post would not have given way to the fear that comes from isolation. There wouldn't have been an apology offered. Indeed, there might have been a ready-made supply of people who don't much like Tom Smith and decided to join in the fun. No prosecution would have resulted from the internet savaging of poor Tom Smith.

So is Reece a victim? He is more like the man who decides to pick a fight with a black belt in karate and learns to regret his folly. His attempted apologies don't mean much in the face of the blacklash he didn't expect and for which he was unprepared. It could mean he actually felt guilty. It could also mean he found himself out-numbered and isolated and alone and he was just seeking to escape. What would he have done in the absence of the internet mob? Had he ever apologized before? Prior behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

That said, the mob is not guiltless. Mobs after all aren't too picky on whom they savage. People love to join mobs. They love to hurt and injure especially when they can feel righteous in doing so. People love to tear apart the weak so they can feel strong. They love to cull the reject from the pack so they can feel secure in their place in the pack. And what better place from which to do it than in the relative anonymity of a mob? I will not hold my breath waiting for charges to be filed against those who rose to the defense of Tom Daley.

There aren't any heroes in this story. Just a boy who suddenly jumped into what he thought would be shallow water and suddenly found himself in over his head. Just a mob that relished the idea of pushing his head underwater for the fun of watching him drown. And while everyone is slapping Tom Daley on the back, no one is paying the least attention to Tom Smith at all.


31 July 2012 at 13:37  
Blogger Steven Pringle said...

The lord Chief Justice is a political puppet. What he says is courting popularity.
I read the twitter Joke many times. having often been on the receiving end of threats. The Tweet was phrased as a threat and could not be reasonably be read any other way. Just saying you were joking does not excuse you from the results of issuing the threat in the first place.

31 July 2012 at 13:48  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

You live by the sword, you die by the sword.

31 July 2012 at 14:04  
Blogger John Knox's lovechild said...

If this had happened in a pub they would have gone outside and had a punch-up, no?

However it is the case that the internet, blogs, twitter and the rest give a lot of space to abusive halfwits which they would not otherwise have.

See the Guardian's belief blog for evidence of this.

31 July 2012 at 14:08  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

I hope Tom Daley ignores all tweets and any comments made over the internet to him as they might take his focus off getting a medal.

31 July 2012 at 14:08  
Blogger DSlushy said...

Am confused. Does this end with you blaming Tom Daley for having someone mock him for coming 4th in an Olympic event, and using his dead father to do so?

This riley kid could have apologised, then stopped. Closed his twitter. Didn't, mainly because this isn't his first time being an aggressively idiotic child online. Maybe he'll get some help now.

31 July 2012 at 14:15  
Blogger StarkRG said...

Trolls and bullies have no place in this world and need to be squashed. He was being a douchebag and pretty much got what he deserved. He, and other trolls and bullies, need to learn from this experience and not say hurtful things without thinking.

The fact that it's "the sort of macho comment schoolboys hurl at each other every day" is why people commit suicide. It's not something that should be brushed aside and be ignored. Bullying SHOULD be a crime. I think this idiot kid has served his punishment though, assuming he learns from it.

31 July 2012 at 14:20  
Blogger Whoever said...

Check the idiot's time line. He has been "hating" pretty much everybody he has had contact with. Picking on Tom Daley merely got him elevated into the public eye. The guy is an idiot and needs help or a cell.

31 July 2012 at 14:33  
Blogger Whoever said...

Check the guy's time line. He is agressive, abusive and racist in pretty much all his tweets. To date all the folks on here had no clue who he was - until he picked on somebody with high social standing. All his other victims are normal kids being abused by a bully. Why shouldn't action be taken against such a person? Tom Daley is merely the last person he has tried his luck with - I know a lot of tweet screen grabs have been taken by other victims and they will be shared with the police.

31 July 2012 at 14:38  
Blogger Gnostic said...

People can be absolute arseholes. So what's new?

31 July 2012 at 14:40  
Blogger Whoever said...

This ^^. Somebody looking at the individual beyond just what happened in the last day. Check they guys history and then form your opinions...

31 July 2012 at 14:41  
Blogger Old Blue Eyes said...

So there you are then its all Margaret Thatchers fault. If it rained continually from now till Christmas there would be some lefty on here blaming it on our ex Prime Minister.

31 July 2012 at 14:43  
Blogger Welsh Border Anglo Catholic said...

Your Grace, an interesting blog. What this young man did was comment on social media what he thought at the time, and as Chesterton wrote "Youth is the period in which a man can be hopeless". My concern is that too often we see the bully become the bullied (and rightly so some will cry!). But in letting that happen and even worse taking part we become the bully we despise. I do not condone his initial comments nor most of those afterwards, but we should neither condone the threats and threads he also received. I do not know Tom's religious beliefs if any, but turning the other cheek is difficult for the committed Christian let alone those without a faith.

31 July 2012 at 15:11  
Blogger Laura said...

This blog is unbelievable.

It completely fails to take in huge amounts of key facts, namely:

1. He isn't just some kid making jokes - as many other commenters have said he's made several death threats, rape threats, and racist abuse. This isn't about second chances, it must be his 157687634th chance. At SOME point he's going to have to take responsibility for the abuse he dishes out.

2. His apology wasn't remotely genuinely - he tweeted Tom Daley several times after that with further abuse, and death threats.

3. His Youtube videos are actually disturbing. He's not just a poor little boy, he's clearly an incredibly disturbed boy in need of help. Hopefully, police intervention will facilitate that help.

4. He revelled in a lot of the attention - his followers doubled and more, and he kept asking for RTs and new followers to "make him leave". Of course he never did. Not until he got arrested.

Talk about rose-tinted glasses.

31 July 2012 at 15:19  
Blogger Laura said...

This blog is unbelievable.

It completely fails to take in huge amounts of key facts, namely:

1. He isn't just some kid making jokes - as many other commenters have said he's made several death threats, rape threats, and racist abuse. This isn't about second chances, it must be his 157687634th chance. At SOME point he's going to have to take responsibility for the abuse he dishes out.

2. His apology wasn't remotely genuinely - he tweeted Tom Daley several times after that with further abuse, and death threats.

3. His Youtube videos are actually disturbing. He's not just a poor little boy, he's clearly an incredibly disturbed boy in need of help. Hopefully, police intervention will facilitate that help.

4. He revelled in a lot of the attention - his followers doubled and more, and he kept asking for RTs and new followers to "make him leave". Of course he never did. Not until he got arrested.

Talk about rose-tinted glasses.

31 July 2012 at 15:19  
Blogger ottermann said...

Wow, after reading the last line, I thought I was reading a blog posted by an American.
When are we going to stop blaming the victim in cases like this?
Reece shot his mouth off with an intentionally hurtful comment, but we should forgive him.
Daley simply retweets the comment and calls Reece an idiot, and now everything that happens to Reece is Daleys fault for not being a good Christian and turning the other cheek.
Why don't you judge Reece as you have judged Daley?
Sure, had Daley not re-tweeted, this wouldn't have happened. But remember, if Reece hadn't tweeted first, this wouldn't have happened either.
Until society starts holding people responsible for their actions, and i mean everybody, things like this will happen.
Reece is 17 and talks tough on twitter. But unless he learns that what he says can have repercussions, he's never going to have a good life. Stop coddling people like him and let them learn that life is a bitch for everyone, not just them. Some just overcome life, and some let life overcome them.

31 July 2012 at 15:27  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

I'm glad you turned the other cheek in your little spat with ASA earlier this year Cranmer.

31 July 2012 at 16:14  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Oh, hang on ...

Ah, but the ASA aren't some poor defenceless, troubled child. Is that your justification?

31 July 2012 at 16:17  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Great use of OMG Cat in the video clip! :)

31 July 2012 at 17:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

More seriously, there's a number of things going on here. Firstly, celebrities ought to expect abuse on Twitter and the like, it comes with the territory. Secondly, social media attracts trolls like beer does to wasps so they come with the territory too. Thirdly, the virtual world is often quite divorced from the real world and so law need not always be appropriate.

I don't blame Tom Daley for commenting. The subject is surely still quite raw and he's probably very disappointed with the event results. Also, he's pretty media-savvy but he's only 18 years old nevertheless. Retweeting that abuse was probably quite satisfying, and it's been done by others to good effect fairly recently.

The rebounding of the abuse has the feeling of natural justice about it, especially when the abuser's identity was nominally anonymous and his target is a real-world identity. Where this has gone wrong, in my opinion, is the involvement of the police.

The four core laws covering online stuff like this can be used rather widely. A little too widely, I think. If abusive stuff like this across the UK Internet was policed in an equitable way then large numbers of people would be in court. Using mobile phones or email or social media to harass and scare people one knows in their real lives is somewhat different to the common cuts and thrusts of forum interactions and newspaper comments sections and so on.

31 July 2012 at 17:16  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

The third story of the week confirming my decision to eschew Twitter.

31 July 2012 at 17:18  
Blogger IanCad said...

A kind post YG,

It is so difficult at that age, when he will never know as much as he does now.
The tolerance and grace I was shown at seventeen has been a lesson for me, and when temptation makes me want to throttle a little brat I always hark back to the immense kindnesses I was shown.

31 July 2012 at 17:36  
Blogger James said...

I think when adults try and offer mitigating circumstances and even in this case - place part of the blame with the person who was initially abused in a he-asked-for-it kind of way, it says so much about why we have unpleasant people like Reece in the first place. There will no doubt be a campaign against any further police involvement (in the name of libertarianism)and the whole human condition will be further pushed down the toilet. We have a generation of adults who just like to meddle with the norms of right and wrong and they need to be reminded as often as possible that their actions are far from helpful or nice. In fact the real villains here are the bloggers making excuses for such terrible behaviour and writing off threatening behaviour just as silly schoolboy pranks.

31 July 2012 at 18:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The the trouble with the internet, we forget we are reaching out to the whole World

Goodness my arse could end up on news at ten!

31 July 2012 at 18:07  
Blogger John Holme said...

When I read that the Police had arrested this misguided young man for his insensitive Tweet it sent a shudder through my bones, (metaphorically speaking that is). It is not the feelings of Tom Daley which are at stake in this case, it is the wider issue of freedom of speech / expression. Any youngster reading that a person is being investigated for malicious comunication for saying "You let your Dad down, I hope you know that?" however insensitive it might have been, it's an expression of his feelings at the time, and if that is criminalised then as the judgment of Lord Justice Sedley in DPP v Redomond Bate 1999 " Free speech includes not only the inoffensive but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative provided it does not tend to provoke violence. Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having. What Speakers’ Corner (where the law applies as fully as anywhere else) demonstrates is the tolerance which is both extended by the law to opinion of every kind and expected by the law in the conduct of those who disagree, even strongly, with what they hear. From the condemnation of Socrates to the persecution of modern writers and journalists, our world has seen too many examples of state control of unofficial ideas. A central purpose of the European Convention on Human Rights has been to set close limits to any such assumed power. We in this country continue to owe a debt to the jury which in 1670 refused to convict the Quakers William Penn and William Mead for preaching ideas which offended against state orthodoxy." This is a very slippery slope dear friends. And the Godernment are greasing it with PTFE

31 July 2012 at 18:17  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

JH: "When I read that the Police had arrested this misguided young man for his insensitive Tweet it sent a shudder through my bones, (metaphorically speaking that is)."

I think the media is misreporting this. It seems he was arrested under the Malicious Communications Act so it seems unlikely to be the first Tweet he sent that has caused the arrest.

31 July 2012 at 18:23  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Grace, unless he has an IQ level worth writing home about, the male of the species takes many years to mature. Decades sometimes, and all along if he also encompasses a reckless lifestyle, he might not even get there, as the inquest pages of the local press testify.

Should we prosecute all like Reece ? Hardly, the courts would be occupied daily, but we do need to prosecute a few, for the encouragement of the others. Only high profile cases though, so well done Reece. You will have your day in court and the criminal justice system will mill you for your misdemeanour.

Chin up young chap, think of all your peers who will benefit from the sacrifice you are to become…

31 July 2012 at 18:45  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@John Holme said ..." It is not the feelings of Tom Daley which are at stake in this case, it is the wider issue of freedom of speech"

Sorry, but I cry BULL SHIT. This sort of stupid argument really hacks me off (only marginally less than the "you've got nothing to fear if you've got nothing to hide" brigade).

This wasn't an ill-judged, off the cuff remark. These trolls (for his previous track record as well as his reaction in this case identifies him as such) deliberately target people with the intent of causing maximum alarm, distress & grief. They deliberately seek out people who are grieving or in distress and seek to rub salt into wounds. And they do so in the most cowardly of way, under the cloak of anonymity.

Do not confuse freedom with anarchy; liberty with licentiousness. Trolls are not trying to express opinions or present an argument - they are pure & simply trying to cause anguish & distress. They desecrate virtual graves. They stalk their on-line victims mercilessly - feeding off & relishing the anguish they cause.

Fortunately, this one chose a victim who could fight back. My hope is that it sends a signal to all the others.

Meanwhile, a councillor in Brighton is facing expulsion from her political party for expressing a valid conscientious objection (on a "free" vote issue!) to same-sex marriage. That's where the outcry should be. That's where all these champions of free speech should be banging the drum & sounding their horns. Instead they choose to defend trolls & pornographers. Talk about fiddling while Rome burns.

Could there be 2 more contrasting examples of teenagers in our country than Tom Daley & Reece. Our hope lies with the likes of Tom.

31 July 2012 at 18:57  
Blogger eddypfunk said...

The site of this guy on youtube and the words that he used in his tweets - before and after the 'Daley affair' - are pretty disgusting. What i find bizarre is that people enter freely into this world of social media as a choice and should therefore accept a basic understanding of the gamet(?) of human characteristics. Why oh why do famous people with 'wonderful' real lives feel it necessary to engage with complete strangers who in many cases have less than wonderful lives? Presumably they only want to hear adoring praise. The other shady character in this kitchen sink drama - olly riley or something - seems to have come out the winner. Although as far as i understand he is also a troll. Just not quite as nasty. Yet he chose to engage with a villain of the piece. Nobody has to engage with anyone - certainly not on the internet. If you really don't like it, don't do it. It is not as important as breathing. There is no reason for anyone to put their head on the block to have it chopped off. We are acting like these things are newspapers but the whole thing is so uncontrollable - surely in law every other person would have a case for libel through social media. Understand it for what it is and really if you will play with fire, then your fingers will get burnt. High profile people like Tom Daley surely have PR people to tell him not to dick about with twitter and Facebook, it just can't be worth it. Having 500000 people following you doesn't actually mean anything.

31 July 2012 at 18:59  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Perhaps we could avoid prosecution on this occasion. The lad looks light enough for the Inspector to be able to lift him off his feet by the throat. Would like to have go, you know...

31 July 2012 at 19:03  
Blogger eddypfunk said...

Celebrities tweet, by and large, because they are promoting a brand. The brand is the person. When the brand is attacked this is when these things come to the fore. This horrible little boy should be ashamed for who he is but i am not sure its Tom Daley's remit to point this out. All this story highlights is that some - lots - of people are truly vile for one reason and another - and that human beings collectively love to react in equally vile ways when they see they have the moral high ground to protect them.

31 July 2012 at 19:09  
Blogger Andrew Oakley said...

whilst i agree with much of what you say, its clear when you look at the longer timeline of the young man involved it is evident that there were many more tweets that were much more unpleasant and offensive. Once the police had been informed i don't see how they could have over looked this.

And i disagree with the idea that somehow its Tom Daley's fault, he has the right to retweet what he wishes to. And something which relates to a deeply personal loss could understandably be very offensive to him, why should he not mention it?

Also you ask if Daley should consider whether one of his fans would leap to his defence, what does that have to do with anything? If they do, they do, are we saying that he must make decisions about his tweets based on what others might do if he tweets them? he has said nothing offensive or hurtful whatsoever, merely calling the troll an idiot, so i don't get the point with that.

I think that if you deliberately insult a 'celeb' you take the risk of that person being offended and retweeting it. Surely the responsibility lies with the perpetrator of the 'offensive' tweet, not with the recipient.

31 July 2012 at 19:19  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Of course, there was a time when this kind of shenanigans would have been beaten out of the scallywag at school. This is the living result of a lack of discipline. Still, we can be confident that he is well recognised in his home town, and perhaps some public duty inspired alcohol marinated thug will aim a few kicks at his hide. If we are are really fortunate, he may be missing a few teeth this time next month...

You reap what you sow, what !

31 July 2012 at 19:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'What Reece did and said is foolish, insensitive and immature'.
Agreed. But the responses by the 'Twitterati'(and some on this blog) seem to be considerably worse as these remarks are made by what one would assume are' responsible adults'.

31 July 2012 at 19:53  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Len come on then, lets have the bible quotes, you predictable weasel...

31 July 2012 at 20:11  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Your Grace,

The bully deserves sympathy over the bullied?

There is a 1 year difference between the two people you discuss, yet one is help to a higher standard than the other- one is supposed to turn the other cheek and yet the other is excused due to age?

Are we not all human and therefore prone to give emotional reactions to situations? Tom Daley lost his father and yet this is not to be considered viz his reaction to hateful comments made by some bozo?

I am an orphan myself and know what it is like not to have a father and mother; the drive to want to think that you can live up to expectations that can't be quantified because they are not around.

I see Tom's reaction as that of a fellow human being and not that of a Cyberman. He is a human too and reacted in the way any of us would- an eye for an eye- and not some impossible 'turn the other cheek' Pontification for a foul mouthed thug.

31 July 2012 at 21:05  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@Len ... "What Reece did and said is foolish, insensitive and immature"

Cranmer's words little what this cretin - and his ilk - did. This wasn't just the indiscretion of youth. Trolls are cold & calculating. Their motive is to cause suffering & distress. Had Daley done well in his event I would bet good money that he would still have received some callous remarks about his father.

I have no doubt that the response of the Twitterati is equally savage & callous. I do not condone that either but there is at least a sense in which Reece brought this upon himself in a way which Tom Daley most certainly did not. Reece poked a hornets nest expecting some small sport no doubt. Instead he brought a deluge upon himself.

Len, I'm sure with your knowledge of scripture you need no reminding of the power & importance of words. What these trolls do is verbal GBH, and the consequences can be more damaging than the physical kind.

31 July 2012 at 21:08  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Has anyone noticed there is a marked uptake of Twitter related stories during the summer?

31 July 2012 at 21:17  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

PS- As usual both Dreadnought and Carl Jacobs get to the heart of the matter and make sensible comments on the wider issues this story brings up.

31 July 2012 at 21:25  
Blogger Jim McLean said...

I simply cannot believe that Tom Daley is being criticised for retweeting to his followers....have we all gone completely barmy?

If people choose to use a moronic and childish tool to communicate then just let them get on with it. It is not of any importance. It is a nothing issue.

The only thing we should be worried about is the fact that we are condoning the police - the POLICE - wasting their time and our money - investigating the moronic things that idiots say to each other.

31 July 2012 at 21:25  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Fellows, what we have here is a clash, not of personalities, but of beings. One, an achiever in his sport, and the other, a foul mouthed nobody. The REAL problem is thanks to the socialist education policy of one size fits all, we do foul mouthed nobody’s rather well in the UK, don’t you all think ?

It worries this man, it should worry the rest of you too...

31 July 2012 at 22:24  
Blogger Christopher Gillibrand said...

Imagine Your Grace what could have happened if they had had twitter during the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520, in the year of your ordination or thereabouts.

31 July 2012 at 22:54  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

"But this would never have escalated into a criminal investigation and arrest if Tom Daley had simply decided to turn the other cheek."

How true.

It's the difference between a virtuos cycle and a vicious cycle.

Despite the interpretation placed on Jesus' words, He wasn't saying simply roll over and ignore evil. He was asking us not to use the same methods as evildoers. To find a different way of responding other than lashing out and seeking "an eye for an eye". As Christians we should be better than that.

Unlike some, I don't pretend to know either of these young men. Reece may be all the things people are claiming of him.

"We can choose either to hate and kill, or to understand and educate."

31 July 2012 at 23:18  
Blogger David B said...

The more I read about Facebook and Twitter, the more I tend to feel a little smug about my decision to open an account with neither of them.

David B

31 July 2012 at 23:24  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

David B

What made you decide to blog? Just think you would be super smug if you abandoned this too.

1 August 2012 at 00:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This wasn't just the indiscretion of youth. Trolls are cold & calculating. Their motive is to cause suffering & distress."

The Death of the Grown-Up.

1 August 2012 at 01:20  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

If you lay down with dogs ,you get fleas.

1 August 2012 at 07:58  
Blogger Hamish said...

Yes, poor old Reece, being carried by the mob into the town square and strung up from a tree.

If only there were something simple and easy he could have done to stop it all, like, say, closing his Twitter account.

1 August 2012 at 10:40  
Blogger mich said...

woah, a long post with lots of good bits and you end with laying the blame at Daley's feet?

1 August 2012 at 11:33  
Blogger non mouse said...

The wisdom of Caliban!!
Treat s misguided young man and his "victim" like this ---

But Cameron, Brown, Bliar et all... float on top of the trough regardless.



1 August 2012 at 14:36  
Blogger Simon Just said...

This young man does need help, he needs serious psychiatric help on the basis of his Twitter timeline. The press statements from his father (of 11) today suggest Reese suffers from ADHD but refuses to take his medication. ADHD is not a valid excuse for acting in a way that threatens people the person doesn't even know.

This article refers to attempting to educate prior to judging. I actually tweeted rileyy_69 the relevant pieces of legislation PRIOR to him issuing the death threats because it was obvious to me where it was heading. He choose to ignore that information.

Education only works if people want to listen and accept the information being passed to them. If not and they choose to carry on down of breaking the law then they need to understand there can be serious consequences. Making illegal comments on twitter or facebook is no different than doing it in any other written medium - time some people woke up to that and ignorance of the law is not a valid argument.

Reese hopefully now will get some help that's required but it will also require him to be willing to accept that help. Sadly through his own choices using his name on his twitter account he's probably going to have to learn certain lessons the hard way. Those however were his choices and his alone.

1 August 2012 at 19:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inspector you make my case for me.(31 July 2012 20:11)
I will respond in Biblical fashion.
Bless you.

Instead of accepting Reece`s initial apology the' twitterati 'decided to ratchet up the pressure and made things considerably worse.

His Graces article shows an enlightened approach but whenever has a mob approached anything in an enlightened manner?.

1 August 2012 at 19:06  
Blogger Simon Just said...

This article ...


Has a much more balanced view in my opinion on Reese's behaviour and his own inconsistencies.

Sorry Your Grace but on this subject I think you are wide of the mark. Internet Trolls are just like bullies if they are left to get away with their behaviour they will just carry on until someone gets emotionally or physically hurt.

1 August 2012 at 19:17  
Blogger Downfader said...

Whilst I agree Riley is a "lost child" in some senses, he is however old enough to know right from wrong. I too read his timeline, he didnt take minor criticism well.

The problem we find is that the internet is a new medium. However the same social rules and laws should still apply. He knew full well that using Daley's Father in that tweet would be an emotive and cruel thing to do.

There are other lost kids too, those who are affected by people such as this. Look at the vile threats to Louise Mensch's kids, or how several teens have committed suicide because of internet bullying and trolling.

There are clear moral and legal lines that now need to be drawn.

1 August 2012 at 19:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Simon: "Internet Trolls are just like bullies if they are left to get away with their behaviour they will just carry on until someone gets emotionally or physically hurt."

Yes. I expect the reason trolls are trolls and bullies are bullies is ultimately much the same: social inadequacy and low self-esteem. It's trying to use power to compensate.

1 August 2012 at 20:47  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

And sometimes it's just to take the p*ss out of jumped-up, pretentious little twerps, don't you think?

1 August 2012 at 21:20  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

You suddenly don't seem to be able to pick a fight with many people here at the moment, Dodo, despite being rude to a number of them. Is it quite frustrating for you?

1 August 2012 at 21:42  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

DanJ0, what can you mean? I am a reformed, 'born again' blogger who has simply grown weary of petty squabbles.

Now bugger off and bother someone else. I see you're spouting your usual pompous twaddle on the thread above. Very impressive the way you trot out the same tired old liberal nonsense.

2 August 2012 at 00:01  
Blogger Simon Just said...

Another more well balanced view ...

this time from comedy writer Graham Linehan of Father Ted fame and who supported Paul Chambers throughout the Twitter Joke Trial.


2 August 2012 at 12:01  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Can't agree with YG on this one at all. The guy may be all sorts of thing that have been caused by being let down by society, but what he tweeted was clearly done to try and get to Daley and he was rightly castigated on Twitter for it.

However, taking it beyond Twitter was a mistake. If every insulting tweet to a celebrity (let alone the rest of us) was taken up by the national media then the news would purely be about bullying on Twitter! It was such a non-story it was ridiculous of any decent (or non-decent for that matter) media organisation to report on it.

This shows that there are 2 major issues that need to be dealt with:
1 - People using the anonymity of the Internet to abuse people.
2 - Media organisations need to return to reporting THE NEWS rather than non-stories or, worse still, trying to make the news (as evidenced by one woeful interviewing by the BBC at the Olympics).
1 can be dealt with by either ignoring (preferably with the block and report spam functions) or by retweeting and letting the collective conscience act in your defence.
2 will take a huge change in direction from all in the media.
Both need education to try to remove them!

8 August 2012 at 11:08  

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