Christie Blatchford: Stephanie Guthrie trial makes one long for a time when death threats weren’t so easy to make


| | Last Updated: May 7 6:22 PM ET


Stephanie Guthrie, the super-smart young feminist who is the alleged victim in a case of criminal harassment that is now before the courts, talked about this casually, with a certain ennui.

“I get a lot of death threats,” she told Kevin Murphy, the lawyer who represents Greg Elliott, the 53-year-old Torontonian accused of harassing her.

“If I reported all of them,” she said, “it would be a full-time job.”

Let me be perfectly clear here: Mr. Elliott isn’t accused of threatening Ms. Guthrie, or anyone else, with death or anything else.

His harassment of her (and two other complainants, who haven’t testified yet) is alleged to have consisted of deluging her with unwanted Tweets, shadowing the events she organized, and keeping tabs on her movements by watching the hashtags she followed.

But others did threaten Ms. Guthrie, and if she is a tough cookie, with the big nuts to post her big opinions for the world to see, she could hardly be said to have invited the vitriol that rains down on her from time to time.

At one point in Mr. Murphy’s cross-examination, he was questioning her about the particular threats that had sent her in the summer of 2012 to Toronto Police.

This was in the wake of Ms. Guthrie having called out online a 24-year-old Sault Ste. Marie man named Bendilin Spurr.

Mr. Spurr had created, under his real name, a face-punch video game, wherein the user could punch a picture of the feminist blogger Anita Sarkeesian until his screen, and Ms. Sarkeesian’s face, turned red with blood.

Ms. Guthrie testified earlier at this trial, which has been on and off since January, that she asked the Twittersphere what to do.

“Should I sic the Internet on him?” she asked, and it was almost rhetorical, so swift and predictable was the resounding reply.

So she Tweeted “to prospective Sault Ste. Marie employers” and the local newspaper a link to a story about the game, asked Mr. Spurr “Do you punch women in the face IRL [in real life] or just on the Internet?”, and asked her Twitter followers to retweet the whole shebang.

That was the background to Mr. Murphy’s question.

So in the wake of that, she was getting these threats, and, as he put it, “They were very serious?”

Ms. Guthrie’s response was to read aloud a couple from the police synopsis of her complaint for Ontario Court Judge Brent Knazan.

“’I will shit fury all over you and you will drown in it’,” read the only one I can repeat. “’You’re fucking dead kiddo.’” Another came from a fellow whose Twitter handle was @—-Destroyerz, the four-letter word in question the C bomb.

“So, yeah,” Ms. Guthrie said, “they were serious.”

As an aside, I can’t tell you how sad this made me that this truly great young woman is being subjected to this stuff.

There isn’t a female writer, in the world probably, who isn’t routinely inundated with this sort of misogynist hate mail, usually focussing on our body parts and appearance. Social media has only made a cruel old world more so, for everyone, but the viciousness of the communications my female colleagues and I receive, particularly when we dare to take a contrarian view of something, is stunning. While I am inured to it, it enrages me that Ms. Guthrie, just 29 and such a bold spirit, should feel it too.

There isn’t a female writer, in the world probably, who isn’t routinely inundated with this sort of misogynist hate mail, usually focussing on our body parts and appearance

In any case, Mr. Elliott’s contribution to this dialogue was to remark, mildly in the circumstances and fairly I thought, that the online attack led by Ms. Guthrie and friends upon Mr. Spurr “was every bit as vicious as the face-punch game,” and to point out that since Mr. Spurr had only 11 followers at the time, Ms. Guthrie’s efforts could backfire and draw even more attention to his wretched video game.

Mr. Elliott was also concerned about the real-world effects on a 24-year-old, or, as he wrote at the time, “A guy makes a face-punch game which offends you and you want him destroyed?”

Mr. Murphy spent a lot of time questioning Ms. Guthrie about that, what responsibility she would bear or accept for the effects of her actions.

She disagreed with Mr. Ellliott’s view, she said. “I do not agree I wanted him [Mr. Spurr] destroyed,” she said. “How do you interpret his real-life consequences?” Mr. Murphy asked. “Depends what you mean by ‘destroyed’,” Ms. Guthrie said, adding that she wanted Mr. Spurr’s parents and friends to “know how this person spends their spare time.”

But the consequences of bringing down Internet wrath upon someone could be harsh, Mr. Murphy said.

“It depends,” Ms. Guthrie replied, “on what the person did, and what people think of it. He [Mr. Spurr] was the one who made his own bed and created the game.”

I gave them the information. What they chose to do with it is their own choice

Had he killed himself, she said, “It would be very sad if that happened, but if it did, it would not be my fault … he created those consequences, not me.”

On another occasion, a few minutes later, she said, “It would be a sad thing if he [Mr. Spurr] took his own life.

“I don’t cheer for someone to kill himself, Mr. Murphy.

“But again, he made that game, under his own name … he can deal with whatever the consequences are.”

As she put it of her role in alerting the online world, “I gave them the information. What they chose to do with it is their own choice.”

As someone said, and I can’t remember if it was Mr. Murphy or Ms. Guthrie, “What happens on the Internet has consequences off the Internet,” whether for Steph Guthrie or Greg Elliott. It’s enough to make me long for the old days, when hate mail had to be hand-delivered, and most people just didn’t bother.

The trial resumes May 14.

Postmedia News


Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre


Another great bit of well written journalism by Christie Blatchford,

This is one story that should not be making the headlines when our Courts are full of outragious abuses of process by Ontario's leading Criminal Organization, The Children's Aid Societies of Ontario.

Both the complainant and the accused spend too much of their time engaged in gender wars and Mr. Murphy was an idiot to have created such an internet game that while offensive in the extreme, was exactly the kind of behaviour that crosses the line and leads to police charges, that in an objective impartial world would NOT have a reasonable probability of a conviction.

Mr. Murphy knew or ought to have known that his "game" would result in charges and would cost him a fortune to litigate the criminal matter.

Our Police and Ontario Court Judges apply extreme feminist logic instead of legal logic or legal reasoning which in itself is contaminiated and corrupted with extreme feminist ideas about Gender Superiority.


Both Stephanie Guthrie and Gregory Elliott appear to  be a perfect match for each other, both want to engage in endless internet wars with each other and Gregory Elliot has fallen for every bait thrown his way by Gregory Elliott who has then turned to the age old feminist tricks of posturing before the court and in sum, asking for the court to convict Gregory Elliot for a host of reasons that included her conclusion that he had "creepy eyes".