The News Minute editor harassed online for comparing Tamil film to Jab Harry Met Sejal
There were more than 30,000 tweets under the hashtag #PublicityBeepDhanya against Dhanya Rajendran.
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Be it one’s political leanings, views on matters of social justice and one’s preference of cinema, women get harassed online for just about any comment. Dhanya Rajendran, the editor-in-chief of The News Minute found herself on the receiving end of targeted online harassment and why? Because she tweeted something negative about Sura, a Tamil action film from 2010.
You may accuse the son of a BJP bigwig of attempted abduction, or you may just criticise a movie, the result is the same. Rajendran’s “fault” was that she said, “I had watched Vijay’s Sura till interval and walked out. Jab Harry Met Sejal has made break that record. Could not sit till interval.”
That was, quite literally, all of it. Of course, that was enough to outrage hardcore fans of Tamil actor Vijay, who took criticism for the movie as a personal slight to the actor and in turn themselves.
In no time, there were more than 30,000 tweets under the hashtag #PublicityBeepDhanya, with fans doing their best to dig up old tweets, post them out of context and character-assassinate the editor. And the tweets were as vile as they get. When men on the internet (or otherwise) attack women with words, it always tends be in pointed sexual references. They are also, in most cases, outright sexist.
While Rajendran did not back down - in fact, she filed a police complaint with screenshots of the abusive tweets - the attacks kept on increasing. “There was one guy who was the creepiest who tweeted my picture saying it is evident from my face that I have slept around a lot. I had put out a tweet asking people to report the tweet. I am sure atleast 200 people would have reported it but the guy is still on Twitter because Twitter does not understand Tamil,” she said to Indian Express.
“Twitter India blacklisted the hashtag immediately after I pointed out to them that they can’t talk about security for women when there is a hashtag that is an abuse trend. My only problem is I have access to Twitter people, so I could do it. What about so many others who don’t?” added Rajendran.
She also tweeted, breaking down the hashtag, about how it was a targeted attack, and not sporadic outrage.
Please to bear with my rant.— Dhanya Rajendran (@dhanyarajendran) August 7, 2017
So yesterday, according to trendsmaps, there were 31,000 tweets on that hashtag on me and 30,000 mentions (with or without hashtags).— Dhanya Rajendran (@dhanyarajendran) August 7, 2017
Is this kind of trolling unorganised? Definitely, not. Tweet was sent before 6 pm asking me to wait. And they started the hashtag at 6 pm pic.twitter.com/lwpYYQmyRM— Dhanya Rajendran (@dhanyarajendran) August 7, 2017
And then at 6.05 pm, the same handle tweets the hashtag. An organised activity pic.twitter.com/5YNI0EuHai— Dhanya Rajendran (@dhanyarajendran) August 7, 2017
Now all those screenshots that FBI and KGB have collected. In 2011, I was pulling the leg of a friend on Twitter. I manually RTed his tweet pic.twitter.com/gNzQqfvRYX— Dhanya Rajendran (@dhanyarajendran) August 7, 2017
So yes, I Rted a joke on Twitter, I said I don't like an actor's movies. Tweets from 2011, 2013 and 2017- Not like I tweet daily about Vijay— Dhanya Rajendran (@dhanyarajendran) August 7, 2017
So, bullying and abusing a woman is not a brave thing to do. And it is sad to think these are people living among us.— Dhanya Rajendran (@dhanyarajendran) August 7, 2017
Speaking to BuzzFeed, Rajendran said: "What is deeply disturbing is that they do not even find sexual abuses problematic and keep making false equivalence that if someone ‘criticised’ their actor, it is okay to abuse."
What Rajendran went through is what all women go through in the deeply sexist internet culture of India. All you have to do is say something, because troll armies are out there waiting to taste blood.