12angrymen

How Scott Tobias Turned the Film Critic Community on Twitter Into a Thoughtless Mob

“I don’t see any need for arguing like this. I think we ought to be able to behave like gentlemen.” — Juror Four, Twelve Angry Men

Scott Tobias is a 41-year-old man who lives in Chicago with a wife and daughter. In 1999, he started work at The Onion, where he became the film editor at The A.V. Club — a print supplement that is bundled with The Onion in eight cities. According to Quantcast, The A.V. Club has a global monthly online reach of 1.9 million unique visitors. Tobias also contributes reviews to NPR, whose ethical handbook specifies this high-minded guideline:

Everyone affected by our journalism deserves to be treated with decency and compassion. We are civil in our actions and words, avoiding arrogance and hubris. We listen to others. When we ask tough questions, we do so to seek answers — not confrontations. We are sensitive to differences in attitudes and culture. We minimize undue harm and take special care with those who are vulnerable or suffering. And with all subjects of our coverage, we are mindful of their privacy as we fulfill our journalistic obligations.

At the beginning of this week, this seemingly mild-mannered man, who had graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature and had worked on a Master’s degree in Cinema Studies at the University of Miami, devolved into a defamatory diablo on Twitter.

Over two and a half days, Tobias, who has nearly 15,000 followers, posted approximately forty-nine tweets which implied that a man, who has nearly 6,000 followers, had wronged him. Rather than participating in a civil and constructive dialogue, Tobias preferred arrogance and indecency and used his influence to vilify this man on Twitter before the man had a chance to see or respond to his tweets. Tobias never thought to contact the man by email until the wrongful insinuations he had put forth had propagated among his peers. That man was me.

As Richard Cooper has astutely observed, when a figure on Twitter climbs his way up the social hierarchy after racking up followers like a rabid pachinko addict, there’s the risk that he’ll develop a weird and entitled attitude against anyone sending him a critical tweet. And Tobias became just that: a small-time ochlocrat who hoped to shut me down because I had the audacity to question his stance on a tweet widely perceived as unthinkable.

Tobias called me “vile” and “fucking insane” and “a miserable, hateful, shameless, sliming little cretin.” (The worst I had called Tobias was “spineless” when he would not answer a question.) He summoned the wrath of such cultural figures as Slate‘s Dana Stevens and Dan Kois, HitFix‘s Daniel Fienberg, and several others, who never thought to question Tobias’s position or investigate the facts. They preferred to feed Tobias’s blind and unthinking fury, which had emerged well after the underlying issue involving The Onion had been resolved. It came about because I had not removed a photo that was well beneath the mildly irreverent temperature set by The Onion in publishing such images as one featuring doctors hovering over a sickly Fidel Castro (published on February 26, 2013) or the infamous juxtaposition of 6-year-old murder victim JonBenét Ramsey (published on August 9, 2012). It came about because Tobias wanted revenge.

* * *

onionss

On Sunday night, The Onion had posted the above tweet during the Oscars ceremony. This thoughtless verbal assault on Quvenzhané Wallis, a nine-year-old actress nominated in the Best Actress category for Beasts of the Southern Wild, raised many hackles. The Onion deleted the tweet an hour later. Nobody at the time took responsibility.

That evening, on Twitter, I sought vital answers. Why didn’t anybody at The Onion or The A.V. Club wish to be held accountable for the tweet’s underlying misogyny?

On Sunday night, I entered into a seventeen tweet volley with two editors at The A.V. Club: Scott Tobias and Todd VanDerWerff. VanDerWerff was fair, civil, and unimpeachable throughout the exchange. When the imbroglio hit a low point two days later, it was VanDerWerff who provided insight into The Onion‘s operational structure and tried to mediate in the comments. On Sunday night, as The Onion was being profusely lacerated, VanDerWerff would respond with calm, kindness, and grace to a woman who had raised concerns about the casual sexism on The A.V. Club‘s forums:

mostwelcoming

By contrast, Tobias was hostile to dialogue.

sttweet3

So I wrote an article about the Onion‘s tweet and the exchange I had with Tobias. The article was accompanied by a photo of Tobias, with the “cunt” tweet positioned across The A.V. Club‘s logo to his left.

I cop to the possibility that it may not have been a good idea to put the photo up. But in the early stages of the affair, nobody had deemed the photo especially noxious. Before The Onion apologized for the Wallis tweet on Monday morning, nobody had said a word in my article’s comments about the photo’s apparently offensive qualities. It was only after I issued an apology to The A.V. Club in the comments that Tobias showed up, decrying my “non-apology apology” and bringing up the photo issue on this website. In examining Scott Tobias’s Twitter timeline, we discover that just before The Onion‘s apology, Tobias’s concerns about the photo had nothing to do with the tweet’s juxtaposition:

tobiasweight

The photo’s copyright did not belong to Scott Tobias. My subsequent investigation revealed that the photo belonged to The Onion, Inc. Tobias never had the right to assert copyright.

The photo did not libel or defame Mr. Tobias in any way. It depicted very clearly what I wrote about in the piece: a disembodied tweet lingering at a slight diagonal angle in The A.V. Club‘s environment as Scott Tobias stands with a reluctant grimace to the left. The photo did not sully Tobias’s image and likeness in any way. There was certainly no malice intended by this contextual abutment. It merely illustrated how misogyny exists in our culture, how it isn’t going away anytime soon, and how men often stand in place grimacing as the atavism continues.

Tobias’s motivation to remove the photo shifted from vanity to a case of hypothetical libel, as suggested by HitFix‘s Daniel Fienberg:

tobiasshift

It was clear that these guys didn’t know what they were talking about, but the suggestion of libel kept Tobias licking his lips. While all this was going on, I wasn’t even on Twitter.

* * *

I first became aware that something was going on when Tobias had left a comment on this website on Monday night. At the time, I was unaware of his public requests to remove the photo on Twitter.

When The Onion apologized on Monday morning, I thought that the matter was closed. I have said nothing further about The Onion, The A.V. Club, or Mr. Tobias on Twitter since that morning. (I would hold my silence as the nasty accusations, fallacious charges, contemptible threats, and scabrous suggestions, all instigated by Tobias, poured in over the next three days.)

I had stayed offline during most of Monday to get some work done. But I did briefly poke my head from the thickets of real life at 5:52 PM to offer an apology in the comments:

Since The Onion has stepped up to apologize for its tweet, I feel that I owe The A.V. Club a modest apology. While I still believe, as I specified in the piece, that The Onion and The A.V. Club should be beholden to some form of institutional values so that nastiness like this does not happen again, and while I feel that those who work for a publication should be intimately familiar with the way in which regrettable tweets set a tone, and while I feel that the seventeen tweets I offered over the course of 45 minutes (eclipsed by the scores of tweets from A.V. staffers over a period of seven hours throughout much of today, while I was busy working) do not constitute “mindless harassment,” I should have been more circumspect in contacting the people directly responsible for the Twitter feed.

In the interest of clarity, I should note that, even though I mentioned the “scores of tweets from A.V. staffers” in my comment, this was based on a cursory glance at Twitter on my phone in the afternoon, when I had tweeted a Richard Ben Cramer quote. I did not see tweets from Tobias calling for the photo to be removed.

What I did not know was that Tobias, not pleased in being challenged, had initiated a plan to condemn me on Twitter and attempt to destroy my reputation. (The complete timeline of events is presented in this detailed graphic.)

On Monday afternoon, at 1:36 PM EST, Tobias tweeted a public request for me to remove the photo. I did not see it. There was no Twitter notification by email. At 10:27 PM EST, Tobias tweeted a second public request. I did not see it. There was no Twitter notification by email.

Tobias had not emailed me.

At 10:25 PM EST, Tobias left a comment on this website, which I approved and read shortly thereafter. I replied at 10:57 PM EST, asking Tobias to address his concerns through formal correspondence.

Curious about what Tobias was referring to, I went to Tobias’s Twitter feed and learned that Tobias accused me of being “vile,” called me “fucking insane,” and had suggested to his followers that I had deliberately rebuffed him.

Again, I had not seen his tweets before then.

I am normally quite happy to remove photos when people ask. I have done so in the past. But Tobias’s harassing behavior is not how you go about getting a photo removed. And when I went to the trouble of getting the notice necessary to remove the photo, something that was not my obligation, the process took two days.

I was unclear about the copyright being asserted and I wanted to be absolutely pellucid on the facts. This was because I had not been entirely circumspect about The Onion‘s organizational structure with my initial article. For this, I was pilloried by Tobias’s peers as “a terrible asshole,” “a cunt,” “a real cunt,” “a fucking cunt,” “a world-class creep,” “an awful troll,” and numerous other epithets that flowed late into the night. I was condemned for being slow and methodical. I had not received a takedown notice.

I contacted people at The Onion on Wednesday and Thursday morning (including CEO Steve Hannah, TV editor Todd VanDerWerff, and HR Coordinator/Office Manager Theresa Lyon), apprising them of the full situation and instructing them that I would need something specifying (a) copyright information on the photo, (b) contact information for the aggrieved party, and (c) a statement asserting in very clear language why the material is not authorized, and also requesting a public apology. (In fact, I have yet to receive any apology, either private or public, from Scott Tobias or anyone at The Onion or The A.V. Club.)

It was never my job to educate Tobias about copyright law. There is a formal process to remove a photo. But despite working in the media business for at least fourteen years and being married to a lawyer, Tobias did not follow the procedure. As the detailed timeline demonstrates below, he was more interested in devoting his energies to harassment. (If you can’t see the image in full, right click on the image in your browser and select “View Image” and click again to zoom in.)

timeline_tobias3

The collective outrage was never about the photo. It was about power. In the 1980s, Heinz Leymann investigated mobbing, a collective form of harassment in the workplace which he defined as “hostile and unethical communication which is directed in a systematic way by one of a number of persons mainly toward one individual.” As cafes have increasingly transformed into offices, Twitter has created a new virtual “workplace” atmosphere.

When I learned what Tobias was up to on Monday evening, I informed him by email that he was harassing me and that I only wanted to deal with third parties. He continued to harass me and it caused people such as Darren Hughes to make violent threats:

10

Tobias’s tweets inspired a few hundred additional tweets from his peers which hurled more invective along these lines. As the timeline graphic clearly demonstrates, not once did Tobias seek to mollify his followers. He was the ringleader in a campaign built on collective harassment. It’s the kind of behavior one associates with 4chan, not purportedly high-minded cultural critics or people who work for The Onion and NPR.

Tobias’s tweets also inspired an effort by Slate staffers to suggest that I was a troll. It was precisely the linguistic switcheroo that Richard Cooper had identified in his essay on Twitter hierarchies:

The hideous term “trolls”, previously reserved for the kind of racist or neo-Nazi filth people put in YouTube comments sections to get a reaction, was now being used to apply to the phrases “yawn” and “one step up from a mumsnet post”.

From Dan Kois, Slate senior editor:

koistroll

From Dana Stevens, Slate film critic:

stevenstweets

The irony of cultural critics smearing a critic of a critic has not been lost on me, nor has the irony of male critics who who are more offended by a mild photographic juxtaposition than a misogynistic tweet directed at a nine-year-old girl. This upholds the very point that my piece and the accompanying photo argued: that institutional values within today’s cultural outlets prohibit an examination of casual misogyny. With professionals like this, who needs critics?

* * *

It was amazing to me how Twitter had inspired the 21st century’s answer to The Ox-Bow Incident. I was never contacted or afforded a perspective. There was one creepy “assistant professor” who was spending his time between classes harassing me and stopped doing this after I called his program coordinator. The narrative that Tobias created left zero room for painting me as anything less than a baleful menace. All I had done was put up a photo and raise my voice. I never insulted anybody during the Sunday night exchange. I certainly hadn’t killed anybody or defended phone hacking. The reaction was tremendously out of proportion with the purported offense.

Scott Tobias had turned the film critic community on Twitter into a thoughtless mob.

In the end, I decided to remove the photo: not because of the harassment and not because I was pressured. Even though Tobias had harassed me and publicly crucified me before I had ever had the chance to respond to his requests, decency and compassion were essential parts of journalism. He had not been especially decent or compassionate to me, but I wanted to believe that there was a decent human being somewhere inside Scott Tobias. I wanted to be kind when the others were being quite unkind.

beingkind

I took steps to get The Onion to send me a formal takedown notice and eventually heard back from A.V. Club general manager Josh Modell.

With the official takedown notice in my hands, I quietly removed the photo.

tobiasthanks

Within twenty minutes of the photo’s removal, Scott Tobias acknowledged this on Twitter. But he did not apologize for his conduct or for riling up his peers. Indeed, the tone here was rooted around celebration and “victory” rather than dialogue and decency. In Tobias’s mind, he had “won.” I don’t know if he has learned anything.

You can’t tar people because they haven’t responded to your timetable. I fully admit to being guilty of this in the past. Now that I’ve seen it from the other side through Tobias, I better understand why patience is essential. Without patience, we dehumanize ourselves by viewing other people as blank lemmings who fall into a natural pecking order.

I don’t know if the film critics who harassed me on Twitter are even cognizant of what they’ve done. Did Twitter turn them into monsters? I’ve certainly tweeted my share of foolish and angry sentiments, but it has never occurred to me to incite my friends to harass anyone writing something critical abiout me. As Nagasawa put it so well in Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, “A gentleman is someone who does not what he wants to do, but what he should do.” (To which Watanabe replies, “You’re the weirdest guy I’ve ever met.” To which Nagasawa replies, “You’re the straightest guy I’ve ever met,” just before paying the bill.)

The high road doesn’t get enough credit in American life. It takes a hell of a lot of courage not to respond to beasts who want to bring you down. They are so eager to destroy and shame that they lose their sense of humanity. Yes, we all make mistakes. And we can’t expect people to react in the way we want them to. But isn’t it better to behave like a gentleman?

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46 Comments

  1. Wow. Just wow. If you are “vile” and “fucking insane,” then the meanings of that word and term have changed while I was asleep last night. This is the danger of being a satirist: When everything can be made fun of, standards of behavior — or even decency — don’t exist. It’s hard for me to imagine either Erma Bombeck or Dave Barry acting like that.

  2. You decided in your anger at the Onion to pick a guy from the AV Club–which is totally separate–to pick on. You attached his photo, refused to take it down when he asked. You bullied someone until he stood up for himself and then called him a bully for even slightly standing his ground.

    How in the world can you not see that you’re the jerk here? I have no idea what you’re like the rest of the time, but based on this, you need to grow up.

  3. I think you should probably invest in some therapy, Mr. Champion.

  4. Your messianic complex is showing.

  5. tl;dr

  6. Incredible. YYou think you’re taking the “high road”? You’re engaging in a senseless witch hunt, and when you get called out on it, you double-down on your reprehensible behavior. In what sense is anything you are doing “kind”?

  7. One part of your post that I agree with: “The reaction was tremendously out of proportion with the purported offense.”

    Other favorites:

    “I wanted to believe that there was a decent human being somewhere inside Scott Tobias.”

    “There was one creepy “assistant professor” who was spending his time between classes harassing me and stopped doing this after I called his program coordinator.”

  8. If you really think that tweet was a “violent threat” then I’m probably going to take this entire article (which I read initially without any bias and it’s all news to me) with the most gigantic handful of salt.

  9. Just think of all the real work you could have gotten done in the time it took you to write this ultimately forgettable post. The only things more boring than inside-baseball stories are self-preserving inside-baseball stories. Lets all create rather than tear down.

  10. You can’t write a diatribe with a goddamn timeline and then call yourself courageous at the end.

  11. Your refusal to take the picture down, after reading this entire article and your timeline (well researched as they are) still comes across as spiteful. Your apology was condescending, and lacked sincerity. You deliberately acted in a way that caused Mr. Tobias to become angry. He acted poorly, but so did you Mr. Champion. I don’t see how you can claim to be completely innocent in all this (and forgive me for paraphrasing, but that is the general tone of this article).

  12. If anyone can read this in its entirety and not see you as a complete sociopath with a heavy martyr complex, I’d like to meet them.

  13. Just to clarify, “thoughtless mob” = people who have seen me act like an idiot and then stubbornly refuse to acknowledge my idiocy? If so, I can’t wait to see my thoughtless mob at Thanksgiving this fall!

  14. Mr. Champion. First of all, I thank you for raising the discourse. A 900,000 word recap of a Twitter war isn’t something the mainstream media is likely to cover, but it’s important that we stand up for our principles. This isn’t about misrepresentation, bullying, and tweets. And it’s certainly not about self-aggrandizement. This is about power and the patriarchy conspiring to shut up a white man just because he sprays all over the toilet.

    However, reading your last post on the subject, I came across a C-word I’d rather not repeat several times in the comments and in graphics of tweets you did not write. Why won’t you apologize for proliferating this filth? I’ll patiently await your apology, but do know that I’ve already started work on a blog post about your thoughtless malice.

    Still waiting,

    Sarah Nicholson

  15. Putting up the photo of the guy with the tweet next to him was (however possibly unintentionally) absolutely defaming. And asking for “patience”? This photo will exist in the ether of the internet forever. Leaving it up an extra day or two means that many more eyeballs seeing it and that many more people saving it to harddrives or appearing in caches. Do you not realize this? Given the fallout from the Onion tweet, this is the sort of thing that could really hurt the career of a man who had nothing to do with it, simply because you chose to make this association. Bearing in mind this is also after you went on a Twitter rampage against every AV Club writer you could find. I think they (including even Tobias) were all pretty nice about it considering you personally harassed each of them!

    As a dude who’s as bleeding heart liberal as they come, I have to say that there’s a certain subsection of people within that group who obviously care more about feeling like they’re “standing up to the man” or making themselves look good than actually doing anything constructive. Your intial post was a little bit of commentary (which I disagreed with, but could understand) on the Onion tweet itself, and then a lot of image grabs and grandstanding of you “standing up” to a bunch of writers who had nothing to do with it by harassing them on a social networking website. It was self-serving even compared to most of the commentary I’ve seen on this whole Onion mess, and it did nothing to stick up for the child wronged in this thing. Stop making yourself a victim in place of people who actually are victims in this whole affair, including the people you’ve personally chosen to victimize.

  16. uhhh yeah dude this post is something you’d find on a serial killer’s wall. Forget decency and compassion, the essential part of journalism you seem to be lacking is “self-awareness.”

  17. Just to be clear, not a thing you’ve done about this whole kerfuffle constitutes any definition of ‘taking the high road’ and the sense of martyrdom coming off your post is completely misguided.

  18. “I contacted people at The Onion on Wednesday and Thursday morning (including CEO Steve Hannah, TV editor Todd VanDerWerff, and HR Coordinator/Office Manager Theresa Lyon), apprising them of the full situation”

    Holy cow, you are nuts.

  19. Wow. I don’t know about “vile” but after reading as much as I could stomach of this thing I see how someone could arrive at “insane.” How could you possibly be so obsessive as to compile this thing, let alone do everything it documents? What leads you to do it? Do you think you’re accomplishing anything important by doing so? This is, by many peoples’ definition, insane behavior.

  20. In all seriousness, Mr. Champion, if it seems like everyone else in the world is crazy, it’s probably you. I follow some other AV Club writers on Twitter, but I don’t follow Scott Tobias, so I’m not sure what all has been said exactly from his account. I came here because I was interested in what was going on and I commented because I thought your post was ridiculous. No one “incited” me and I’m certainly not part of a mob. Did some people cross the line and say offensive, curse-filled things to you? Of course. Is this your first day on the internet? Just like the original Onion tweet, Scott Tobias has no obligation to apologize for anything said by anyone who isn’t him.

    The fact is that the original article you wrote was a bad idea. The picture you posted with it was a worse idea. If you were truly the “kind” man you claimed to be, you would have taken the picture down as soon as you were asked. The “Ed” in “edrants.com” is you, right? I don’t buy for one second that you didn’t have the power to take down that image from day one. A legal request shouldn’t have been required when you knew full well that posting the picture was wrong and basically admitted as much in your half-hearted apology. Now you’re playing the victim and calling Tobias a bully when he simply responded in kind to your baseless attack.

    To refute to specific points you made in this article:
    1) The fact that Tobias initially made jokes about the picture in no way proves that he wasn’t actually upset about being associated with that tweet from minute one and, even if he wasn’t initially upset and it took him a while to realize that people would now associate him with the tweet whenever his name was googled, that’s still okay.
    2) Saying that anyone who is upset about the way you’ve treated Scott Tobias must care less about Quvenzhané Wallis or misogyny in general is a false dichotomy. People can be upset about more than one thing at a time and you have no idea how upset or shocked any of the people commenting here were about the Onion’s tweet. Stop trying to pretend that attacking you is the same as attacking a 9-year-old little girl. Thanks.

  21. Ed, I even AGREE with your appraisal of the initial tweet (it lacked the proper satirical foundation to be funny and was thus needlessly exclusionary), but you need to acknowledge that YOU were the bully in this story and move on.

    Is everything really about you? You had a hissy fit because your concerns on a controversy which had nothing to do with you, dragged a stranger through the mud who had nothing to do with it solely for not validating you enough, and then took an encyclopediac accounting of every further perceived wrong and wrote a blooming manifesto about it! You’re a step removed from standing on the sidewalk outside this guy’s house and yelling. I’m aware that from the inside, these things can still hurt and you probably wrote this in that mindset, but take a step back and realize how ridiculous this whole thing is.

  22. Hmmm, can we go back to the column again? Here’s the points that struck me:

    1. Scott Tobias is right in that he shouldn’t have been associated with the tweet. I wouldn’t have called it libelous – he is a public figure so malice on Champion’s part would have to be proven (and I don’t see that), but from my experience as a former newspaperman, pairing the man with the tweet should not have been done.

    2. Scott Tobias’ assumption that Champion would be reading his Twitter stream that day, we see now, was incorrect. He should have sent his request by email.

    3. Tobias didn’t help himself or his cause by heaping abuse on Champion. I hope it made him feel better.

    4. Champion didn’t help himself by making the Onion jump through hoops to get the photo taken down. I hope it made him feel better.

    5. A little courtesy on anyone’s part, including the anonymous commenters above, would have made this easier to resolve. But that’s humans for you.

  23. Russell Quinn March 1, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    “Scott Tobias is a 41-year-old man who lives in Chicago with a wife and daughter.”

    That’s a really horrid way to open. Makes me sad.

  24. Dear Ms. Nicholson: I am grateful to you for calling me out with your consternation. The original draft of this investigative piece had 92 “cocks,” which was whittled down to 7 “cocks’ in the 43rd draft, before the Editorial Powers That Be decided that not a single “cock” belonged in the story. However, we did require a modicum of “cunts.” I am sorry if you were offended by our process. But at least one of our editors threw herself out the window. And we have spent much of the afternoon consoling her family. High drama, to be sure, but nowhere nearly as vast as this particular enterprise.

    By the way, did you get the details on the Stab Edward Champion event? We’ve still got a few tickets left and I may be able to talk to somebody about getting you into the balcony, although I can’t promise anything.

    Very truly yours,

    Edward Champion

  25. How does someone right an op/ed piece from the point of view of bulling via Twitter, when the incident involved the writer himself, without a trace of self-awareness?
    I mean he’s a participant in it, and it’s written entirely without any notion of doing anything wrong or personal accountability.
    This guy must have dissociative personality disorder and the world’s biggest persecution complex. Either that or he’s the biggest self-absorbed fucking narcissist I’ve ever seen.
    The irony is I agreed with his initial post about The Onion baring responsibility as an institution for whoever they let use their banner, but this incident isn’t about that. It’s about a sad person trying to feed his martyr-complex.

  26. Mr. Champion, you set out to troll various Onion writers and provoke them into an argument over Twitter.

    Throughout all of this, you’ve yet to reference your first Tweet. Let me do so for you:

    “Cowards at @TheOnion to hold accountable for silence on the tweet tonight: @scott_tobias @marahe @GenevieveKoski @tvoti @NoelMU @nathanrabin”

    You intentionally attempted to incite your followers to attack the “cowards,” as you called them because they were “silent.”

    You are not a victim here. You trolled various A.V. Club writers, baiting them with ad hominem attacks and attempting to convince your followers to hold the writers accountable for a tweet they had nothing to do with in the first place.

    And when one finally took your bait, you took it all the way to the Onion’s CEO. I don’t feel sorry for you, Mr. Champion. It seems your plan to incite your followers backfired, and you reaped a backlash. You fell victim to the very outrage you attempted to provoke.

    But if you’re going to tell the story, you need to portray how it began accurately, and assume the blame for inciting the entire exchange.

  27. You, Mr. Champion, messed up by mixing up “The Onion” and “The AV Club” at the very onset of this imbroglio. I think that is pretty clear for everyone reading about this.

    Now, you seem unaware about the AV Club as a website, because then you would know that it peddles in smugness, glibness and an all around superficial look at culture and I think that the frequent commenters on that site reflect that same perspective. I can imagine that most of those childish and hateful tweets you received came from the same people who frequently populate the AV Club’s commentary section and they probably attacked you by their own volition. I’m just guessing here. Just spend more than 5 minutes reading the comment threads (any article will do) and it will be painfully obvious to you that most of the commenters on that site bend over backwards to impress one another and a handful of the Staff writers with lame jokes, ironic misogyny/racism and ridiculous, pseudo intellectual analysis of pop culture trivia. Getting upset by the backlash is understandable but ultimately a waste of time and energy. You’re not dealing with the best of people.

  28. I support you, Champion, 100%!

  29. Michael Mirasol March 2, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Vile is the appropriate word to describe your misguidedness Ed. Unnecessarily implicating his family; provoking a reaction from someone who had nothing to do with the controversy you wanted to focus on; and making it all about how yourself. This is anything but the high road. Get over yourself.

  30. Nathaniel Pettengill March 2, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    I can say with certainty that Scott thanking you for taking the picture down was far more than you deserved.

  31. how could someone be so wrong and so sanctimonious at the same time

  32. I find it telling that out of all the dissenting comments, the only one Champion chooses to personally address — and in the most condescending, MRAesque way possible — is a woman who comments that his multiple uses of a gender slur are excessive.

  33. Wow. The worst thing about the Internet is that all the petty squabbles that used to be contained to private life are now blown up for all to see. I don’t know what your intention was in this post, Mr. Champion, but you didn’t come off well.

    Get a grip, already.

  34. Well I guess I can see why Tobias has more spare time than you do. It’s a full-time job being a self-appointed martyr.

  35. well it has been well said already but you are the one in the wrong, throughout the entire exchange. I was linked to this and now am spreading this out to see how many people does it take for you to realize that you are every insults that’s been thrown at you. You played with the fire that is internet, thinking you can control it, now get burned, well, charred probably. Good luck.

  36. What does AV Club/Tobias have to do with this? Nothing. You have serious problems. Not sure how you call yourself a “journalist,” but definitely putting out a APB on my site and all other movie sites i know to steer clear of you.

  37. Is this satire? It’s so over the top, but I honestly can’t tell. Maybe that’s what makes it effective satire! If that’s the case, good work satirizing the self-aggrandizement and self-perpetuation of Twitter scandal. If you’re serious, you come out looking very self-righteous, petty, and ultimately a bully.

  38. Tyler Dunnahoo March 4, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    “Articles” or “pieces” like this one give a good basis for why the internet should not exist.

  39. No, Mr. Champion…did YOU learn anything here?

  40. “If anyone can read this in its entirety and not see you as a complete sociopath with a heavy martyr complex, I’d like to meet them.”

    Just reposting that because it’s so, so true.

    Also, that opening sentence? You’re a horrible, horrible p.o.s. Just FYI. There is no galaxy in which you’re anywhere close to being right. I sincerely believe you have just outed yourself as an insane person to your readers.

  41. So I’ve been busy the last few days, so I only decided to check in yesterday and see how the great whine-fest is going about how horribly you’ve been wronged for making a factual error, being derogatory, etc. I notice that you have me screengrabbed, but unfortunately I can’t even see the tweet that you’ve preserved for posterity when I click on the window, because your layout is kind of unbelievable. For a guy that’s whining about not being notified through the proper channels you have some hypocritical nerve for screengrabbing me and leaving me to find out in this way. I expect you to get in touch with my HR people, send emails, etc. etc.

    You’re a remarkably rude and pompous man, consistently. I think you think you’re Matthew Arnold or Edmund Gosse or someone of Victorian erudition, trying to maintain proper standards in a deleterious world, responding aggrievedly with mock-horror whenever your hostility is met in kind. You’re actually a lesser Dale Peck.

  42. Wow.

    This is a bullshit article.

    Yes, Scott Tobias was mean to you.

    Who gives a fuck?

    Well you.

    But only you.

  43. Some of the comments up top are amazing.

    The article was long as hell and you sound like a crazy person. Enjoy not having a career because you’re a weirdo.

  44. You are clearly a complete dick.

  45. Wow, you are a complete cunt.

    Why even get angry about a pretty hilarious tweet from the onion (let along the insanity that this post is).

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