Why Free Speech Isn’t An Excuse

As my online persona has grown over the last decade and a half, so has the volume of hate I have received. I have received letters at my home, had politicians come for me, and received every threat you can imagine, including one individual who told me that I was “too ugly to rape.” (Please, tell me, what is the corollary to this statement?)

After the Batali piece came out, my Twitter account was hacked, and I decided I needed to approach the issue from the distance of academic detachment, lest it overwhelm me entirely. I started researching the nature of online hate. I poured through academic journals. I tried talking to some of the people who sent me hateful comments (something I don’t recommend). I cried in my car a few times at the sheer terror of engaging with people who said they wanted me dead. I asked one

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