"I hope you get hit by a truck"
It was like any other day, until my online life filled up with intense rage & hatred. Here's why.
I thought I’d take you through my yesterday, because it was both deeply weird and provided a great insight into New Zealand’s conspiracy theory crowd.
It all started in the early afternoon, when I started to get a bunch of weird emails titled things like “Horrible demon”:
These all came through to my burner account — firstname.lastname@example.org, which is basically on all my social media profiles. That account is usually full of tips and feedback, but also plenty of filth. Especially yesterday.
All the emails that flowed in went from zero to 100 pretty quickly. Here’s one of them:
You have made a huge mistake. Karma is a reality you WILL reap what you sow.
I urge you to wake up before it's too late.
Hitler and all the other dictators fell down eventually.
You are no different!”
“Hitler” by the fourth sentence! Yikes. It was all pretty weird to be honest. I’m used to getting lots of insults doing the work I do, but the volume was a little concerning. Then someone sent me a Facebook link that explained it all:
Billy TK Jnr had posted what appeared to be a complaint from me against YouTube conspiracy theorist Vinny Eastwood, submitted on a web form.
For the record, I’m no fan of lunatic conspiracy theorists — but I didn’t write that message or make that complaint. It reads how conspiracy theorists think journalists would write: “We will be victorious!”
Who the fuck talks like that?
You might remember Billy TK Jnr from this Webworm piece, An international assassin slips into New Zealand. Billy was the leader of a fringe conspiracy theory party in last year’s election that spouted dangerous health misinformation around Covid-19. His party lost badly (like, it was very embarrassing) which probably explains why he recently quit politics to become an “independent activist journalist”.
Vinny Eastwood is a conspiracy theorist-touting YouTuber, and would often feature Billy TK on his YouTube show.
Who made the complaint under my name? No idea. But I assume someone was bored and wanted attention, so listed my name and email address when they submitted the complaint. Vinny was close to being kicked off YouTube already, and so his fans were pissed:
“The role you have played in censoring & deplatforming him plus depriving him of access to the funds that rightfully belong to him as well as all the 1000s of videos that he has worked very hard on creating & collating over a 14 year period , is to say the least , ruthless & , mercenary.” [SIC]
Vinny started emailing me as well (from his iPhone, no less). Everyone wanted attention.
An echo chamber of right wing conspiracy types then just sort of started furiously masturbating all over each other en masse. It was a who’s who of Webworm favourites, including Lonely Lingerie’s Steve Ferguson, the man who got red-pilled over lockdown and became a Starseed.
Over the next few hours, it descended into accusations against me about things so vague I did start to worry about their imaginations.
I mean… “EVIL skeletons?” Surely you can get more specific than that. Some people tried:
That one was my favourite, mainly because it was from someone called STEAMY KIWI. I’d love to know what my conduct was, but STEAMY KIWI got bonus points for talking about my “sick perverted tickling film” (Tickled — out now on all good platforms!)
Eventually, a variety of these people were going live on YouTube, all talking about this thing I hadn’t done (but kinda wish I had):
“I’ve just lost 30% of my income and 90% of my audience TA DAY!” barked Vinny, as Billy TK Jnr looked blankly at his screen. All because of a complaint I hadn’t made.
What is my point? I’m not sure I have one, except to say that this is a perfect example of how the conspiracy scene is an endless loop of disinformation. Fabrications feed its audience and create an endless feedback loop of sloppy nonsense.
“You are an utter disgrace to the human race..Your day in court will come..!!”
“this is the only warning you will receive, stop being a asshole”
“You have made a huge mistake. Karma is a reality you WILL reap what you sow.”
At no point did anyone emailing ask me “did you make the complaint?” or “did you write the email?”
I guess my other point is that this crowd is pretty, er, unhinged. There is no hint of polite conversation or discourse. It’s straight to unbridled chaos, sent from an iPad:
It’s just angry, blind rage. And it can get pretty dark.
They kept coming in, and still are. And again, I literally didn’t do anything. For me, my day was spent shooting a documentary I’m working on. Occasionally I’d look at my phone and see… this stuff.
I didn’t leave these names and emails uncensored so you email them (please don’t, for real). I did it because I believe this stuff shouldn’t stay in the dark. If someone hopes I get hit by a truck or calls me homophobic slurs, I don’t have an issue naming them. And if Darron delivers your top quality firewood, I think it’s important you know how he thinks. How he rages.
PS: If you want to support Webworm, you can consider becoming a paying member. Only do this if it doesn’t cause you any financial stress.
PPS: If you want to share this post about my weird day, it’s webworm.co/p/firewood
PPSS: Here are some beautiful fat geese I met earlier in the week: