Free Speech versus Violence

Kathy Sierra, one of the keynote speakers at SXSWi this year, is hiding in her home with the doors locked right now, cancelling events and fearing for her life. She’s been receiving rape and death threats from anonymous trolls in the blogosphere.

She writes…

‘Do not put these people on a pedestal. Do not let them get away with calling this “social commentary”, “protected speech”, or simply “criticism”. I would never be for censoring speech–these people can say all the misogynistic, vile, tasteless things they like–but we must preserve that line where words and images become threats of violence. Freedom of speech–however distasteful and rude the speech may be, is crucial. But when those words contain threats of harm or death, they can destroy a life.’

Read her post and pass it on. As danah boyd points out, we need to stand up in social solidarity. This is our community. We have a responsibility to protect our space and send a message: this kind of behavior is NOT okay.

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