Sunday, October 14, 2012
"Last Wednesday afternoon I called Michael Brutsch. He was at the office of the Texas financial services company where he works as a programmer and he was having a bad day. I had just told him, on Gchat, that I had uncovered his identity as the notorious internet troll Violentacrez (pronounced Violent-Acres). It's amazing how much you can sweat in a 60 degree office," he said with a nervous laugh.
Judging from his internet footprint, Brutsch, 49, has a lot to sweat over. If you are capable of being offended, Brutsch has almost certainly done something that would offend you, then did his best to rub your face in it. His speciality is distributing images of scantily-clad underage girls, but as Violentacrez he also issued an unending fountain of racism, porn, gore, misogyny, incest, and exotic abominations yet unnamed, all on the sprawling online community Reddit. At the time I called Brutsch, his latest project was moderating a new section of Reddit where users posted covert photos they had taken of women in public, usually close-ups of their asses or breasts, for a voyeuristic sexual thrill. It was called "Creepshots." Now Brutsch was the one feeling exposed and it didn't suit him very well."
My man is doing all this over at Reddit, and you have to wonder what will happen next.
"The breadth of topics and dedication of users has made Reddit, which calls itself the "front page of the internet," the single dominant force in internet culture today, boasting over 3.4 billion pageviews this August. It reached a new level of legitimacy last month, when President Obama held a Q & A on Reddit. These days, Reddit is mentioned in the same breath as Twitter and Facebook by pundits expounding on the power of social media.
But Reddit's laissez-faire attitude towards offensive speech has led to a vast underbelly that rivals anything on the notorious cesspool 4chan. And with Jailbait, Violentacrez decided to create a safe space for people sexually attracted to underage girls to share their photo stashes. I would call these people pedophiles; the Jailbait subreddit called them "ephebophiles." Jailbait was the online equivalent of systematized street harassment. Users posted snapshots of tween and teenage girls, often in bikinis and skirts. Many of these were lifted from their Facebook accounts and thrown in front of Jailbait's 20,000 horny subscribers.
Violentacrez and his fellow moderators worked hard to make sure every girl on jailbait was underage, diligently deleting any photos whose subjects seemed older than 16 or 17. Violentacrez himself posted hundreds of photos. Jailbait became one of Reddit's most popular subreddits, generating millions of pageviews a month. "Jailbait" was for a time the second biggest search term bringing traffic to Reddit, after "Reddit." Eventually, Jailbait landed on CNN, where Anderson Cooper called out Reddit for hosting it, and Violentacrez for creating it. The ensuing outcry led Reddit administrators to reluctantly ban Jailbait, and all sexually suggestive content featuring minors."
OK, this guy is taking this troll thing to a whole different level.This is what you call testing the boundaries of free speech.
Anyway, now that Mr. Brutsch has been exposed, let's see how he handles it. I suspect, that like most trolls, he won't like the light shining on his true identity quite as much.
Flipper's campaign stops. Suddenly, we are in Sarah Palin 2008 mode again.
Of course, as is to be expected, the wingnut media has jumped out ahead of the story and is making it known that this racist has nothing to do with the Etch A Sketch express. Some winguts are even saying that it was "photo-shopped". Wait....is that a helicopter I hear? (What has happened to this country?)
No doubt the guy supports Romney, although Romney's peeps are distancing themselves from him.
"A member of Romney's campaign said it was "reprehensible,"
Still, I suspect that Mitt will welcome his vote. I just can't understand where some on the right believe that this is some type of media manipulated story.
"A photograph taken by Getty Images on Friday of a man wearing a racist t-shirt at a Mitt Romney rally in Ohio has caused controversy over Getty’s unsubstantiated claim the man is a supporter of the Republican presidential nominee. The photo showed a tight shot of the back of a bald-headed white man wearing a black t-shirt emblazoned with all-capitalized white lettering that said, “Put the white back in the White House.” Above the lettering at the nape of the man’s neck a Romney-Ryan sticker was neatly applied to the t-shirt."
"Unsubstantiated claim"? "Sir, are you a Romney supporter?" "No I am standing here at this Romney rally in the middle of nowhere because I wanted to work on my tan." Give me a break!
*Pics from Gawker and Getty images.