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.

 |  4-minute read |   07-08-2017
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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.

dhanya1_080717093841.jpgPhoto: Screengrab

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.

dhanya2_080717094007.jpgPhoto: BuzzFeed

dhanya3_080717094018.jpgPhoto: BuzzFeed

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.

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.

Also read - Rakhi: The brotherly embrace of oppression


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