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Charlotte Dawson Speaks Out Shaken – Media Reporting Should Also Examine The National Vilification Of Tanya Heti

Charlotte Dawson denies bullying on 60 Minutes tonight as she discussed the dreadful twitter troll attack that ended up with an ambulance and police being called to her apartment early last Thursday morning. She ended up being hospitalised.

A Twitter follower says she alerted Lifeline who then alerted the Police after she saw Ms Dawson tweet a picture of a hand full of pills and a tweet which indicated she may take her own life.

Ms Dawson said in the interview she was very drunk and the next thing she remembers is the police and ambulance were there. However this since-deleted tweet would suggest she was suicidal. Ms Dawson is receiving medical care.

No one wants to see anyone in such mental anguish.

What has been met with cynicism were reports she had given an interview with 60 Minutes within hours of pleading for privacy and on the day she had been admitted to psychiatric care. The interview was paid for. It was a very strange PR decision indeed.

However Ms Dawson did look shaken in the interview where she talked about the effects the troll attack had on her.

Charlotte Dawson is a polarising personality, something that I don’t think is a negative thing, she has many fans, but also many people that are not so enamoured by her.

There has been a lot of compassion, support and concern for Ms Dawson from media commentators and her fans. Though since this incident there has also been a lot of comments on blog posts and forums about how some of her behaviour online is inappropriate. It should be noted Charlotte is an ambassador for Community Brave an organisation whose aim is to combat cyberbullying.

Here is a snapshot of that behaviour in a blog post I wrote last Tuesday querying whether Charlotte Dawson was the best person to be a spokesperson on cyberspace etiquette.

The cyber attack on Ms Dawson occurred Wednesday after she had been in the media talking about how she outed a “twitter troll” to her employer as well as discussing her new book. Because of this media coverage this woman has now been suspended with pay.

I would like to take the time to reflect on the other woman involved in this matter, Tanya Heti. Is she deserving of this excoriation by the national media or is she collateral damage in this sad saga?

There has been little concern about the mental state of this person who has been publicly humiliated and embarrassed nationally on radio, TV and print for the past five days. She is now infamous.

There is no doubt the tweet made nearly a month ago was unsavoury. I can’t find the original one but here is one that and shows she was trying to create mischief.

After Ms Dawson retweeted a tweet of Ms Heti’s  a fan of hers was deeply offended as her fiance had hung himself. Once this was raised Tanya Heti retorted back that she were her fiance would hang herself too. Not very classy behaviour by Tanya.

However on the night in question it appears she did end up apologising.

Ms Heti has not been on Twitter since shortly after that incident nearly a month ago.  Ms Dawson possibly thinking the apology was insufficient tracked down where Ms Heti worked contacted her and then reported the incident to her employer at Monash University. After the media onslaught of last week Monash have suspended her with pay whilst they investigate the incident and Ms Dawson has been praised in the media for her handling of this issue.

It is up to the individual to decide whether Charlotte’s crusade was appropriate however most of the mainstream media last Wednesday appeared to think so. Others may think after the apology was given to the offended party that it should have been done and dusted and the fracas left on Twitter. It is no surprise there is differing viewpoints on this.

It should be noted Charlotte’s actions did not merit the trolling attack on her last Wednesday night. However I am not sure Tanya should be smeared with the same brush as the Twitter trolls of last Wednesday night, however others might.

This case is very much in the public interest to be debated by the community and the media as politicians are now discussing whether legislation needs to be enacted and if this is the case the whole scenario needs to be closely examined.

However what was interesting that 60 Minutes did another interview over the weekend with  Charlotte asking about her online behaviour. Was this second interview the result of 60 Minutes finding out about the wave of online criticism questioning Charlotte’s cyber history?

In response to the question “So you have never been abusive and you have never bullied?” Charlotte responded:

“I don’t think so. I think people diminish what bullying is. Bullying is this extremely threatening behaviour and it is constant and it makes people feel threatened and terrified and I can’t think of anyone I have done that to.”

Unfortunately for Charlotte a lot of people would disagree with that statement and since she is a high profile Ambassador spokesperson for an anti-bullying organisation she is under scrutiny on this issue.

A person who said he was scared by her “can someone please kill Bryan Boy” tweet was Bryan Boy. The America’s Next Top Model judge tweeted he was scared and it was reported he contacted Police. She retweeted this tweet and he was mocked because of it.

I hope Charlotte recovers from this and gets back to her sparky best, however since she is a high profile role model on this issue maybe once well she may wish to reflect on her own online behaviour, acknowledge this,  and then she would make a great anti-cyberbullying ambassador for Community Brave.

In the meantime let us hope Tanya Heti is being supported by her friends and family as well as even though she is no cleanskin herself there is no doubt the last week would have placed her under extreme stress.

96 comments

1 Reality Raver { 09.04.12 at 1:07 pm }

AP – I can put a quick one up re: FWAW. Also will recap The X Factor tonight as well. Kind of like a double one last night and tonight rolled in together.

2 Kate { 09.04.12 at 1:30 pm }

If “Every nation has mob of nationalistic boneheads ready to stomp on heads, whether on-line or in person”CB you are the Prime Minister!

3 Culinary Boner { 09.04.12 at 1:31 pm }

Opinion noted, Kate

4 planb { 09.04.12 at 1:57 pm }

Yes, it is amazing they used to get away with it, isn’t it. Like the author of that article, ‘Memories of my Catholic schooling… generally aren’t fond.’

I was caned daily from the age of seven, and molested by my sixth grade teacher for an entire year. My family were worse, though.

5 Culinary Boner { 09.04.12 at 2:19 pm }

Sorry to hear about your experiences, planb
Based on my Catholic school experiences – especially in the earlier part in the 1960s – instilling fear and dread seemed to be a goal in itself. Though the latter years were better as most of us older kids worked out which of the Christian Brothers to stay clear of and which sports or activities (e.g. choir) were best avoided. Some weren’t so lucky though. The real irony was how the schools would obsess about rooting out homosexual lay teachers, but cloister and cosset perverted paedos.

6 Paul { 09.04.12 at 3:12 pm }

CB – I am slightly bemused as to why both you and he who shall not be named are so desperate to move the goalposts on this topic.

This thread is about trolling on the internet.
It is not about pedophile priests or deaths in Afghanistan. They have as much to do with the original subject as to what I had for breakfast this morning. Ditto Georgie’s earlier diatribe about teachers which was frankly more disturbing because I now know she works in education despite barely being able to string a sentence together at times.

A cynical person might even think that those so willing to move the goalposts at every opportunity may be a little concerned themselves at the actual thread topic.

Back to the original topic.
Did anyone watch Can of Worms last night?

What did they think of the debate?

7 Culinary Boner { 09.04.12 at 3:20 pm }

Paul, the issue is more broadly about bullying and your own contributions raise the additional issues of perceived legality and comparative ‘criminality’. Fair enough if you want to stay bemused. I’m just raising the other stuff to get some sense of proportion to this issue. Trolling is a ‘first world problem’ in comparison and I have said consistently that it’s an overblown issue in the media simply because it’s new, and therefore newsworthy. I didn’t watch Can of Worms. So I can’t comment on that. Over to others who did.

8 brain dead dave { 09.04.12 at 3:23 pm }

You’re pretty silly to be watching Can Of Shit and attempting to make some sort of intellectual mileage of it , given your appalling record of bullying and trolling here.

9 Reality Raver { 09.04.12 at 3:25 pm }

Paul – They discussed this issue on Can Of Worms and Q&A and on both of those shows I turned over too late and missed the discussion. What did you think?

10 Daze { 09.04.12 at 3:29 pm }

I would say, Paul, that’s because we are all drained on the CD topic, so leave off with your school teachery slaps slaps.

CB, misinformed u yesterday, Gene Simmons was on 7mate again, this morning 1 or 2 am. I read it was axed. Anyhow have a look at your guide if you want to catch the show anytime.

That’s all.

11 Paul { 09.04.12 at 3:46 pm }

RR,
It was quite an interesting episode.

Guests were Kris Smith (first time I had heard him speak), Mia Friedman and Adam Richard.
Kris and MIa were initially in the Yes camp to naming and shaming internet trolls. Adam was in the No camp. However by the end, Mia had changed her mind.

Kris was quite convincing in portraying how upset he was with people attacking his family on the internet. You get the impression he would half kill them if he ever met them face to face.

The show also commsionned a Roy Morgan survey which showed that 70% plus Australians wanted internet trolls named and shamed.

They also threw to the audience afterwards and a member iof the audience spoke up. He was a self styled troll and I don’t think I have seen a sadder, more pathetic species of human in my life.

To his credit at least he had the guts to show his face, I guess.

12 Culinary Boner { 09.04.12 at 4:40 pm }

“…and I don’t think I have seen a sadder, more pathetic species of human in my life.”

Didn’t Dicko host this show?

13 @En_gy { 09.04.12 at 4:43 pm }

Thanks Culinary Boner.

My Raging Reality Boner just disappeared as I remembered that horrible image of Dicko with a baby suckling his ample breast.

14 planb { 09.04.12 at 5:12 pm }

Paul –

‘This thread is about trolling on the internet.’

Well, it’s not really. The other one was. This one’s about Charlotte Dawson is a big fat mole! Who said mean things. So is a bully. And dobbed on some poor girl/woman. Is a double bitch, therefore. And deserves all she gets, and should just have turned off the internet. That seems to be the gist of the argument.

Someone on the other thread was complaining aboutr the terrible injustice of Mamamia’ s comments being monitored and deleted. I have never visited Mamamia and probably will never visit there again, but I was revolted by the comments I saw, undeleted. Which were savage and unkind and along the lines of what I paraphrased above: ie bitch deserved everything she got and then some.

But I did find an interesting essay there by Helen Razer that I recommend to everyone. Will link once I work out how…

15 planb { 09.04.12 at 5:18 pm }
16 brain dead dave { 09.04.12 at 6:30 pm }

Interesting as it is, Ms Razer’s essay isn’t about trolling on the internet but rather her experience of celebrity stalking, which predates the internet and often involves physical proximity of the offender, sometimes with tragic results ie John Lennon.

Can Of Worms….Chrissie Swan is talented and funny but some token D-listers attempting to cash in on the topic(for some) du jour as light entertainment doesn’t mean much. Same with knee jerk reaction surveys.

Pardon me for not caring what Poh, Julie Goodwin or whoever think about contemporary social issues.

17 Georgie { 09.04.12 at 6:33 pm }

Wow En_Gy, that looks like some drunken foray into the world of bondage a la madame lash. You wild theengy you…

18 @En_Gy { 09.04.12 at 6:34 pm }

Absinthe with make a young man do some strange things.

19 Georgie { 09.04.12 at 6:40 pm }

Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.

20 @En_Gy { 09.04.12 at 6:42 pm }

Georgie, I don’t know who are you are… but after that last one I’m reading all your tweets in an Ita Buttrose voice 😉

21 Georgie { 09.04.12 at 7:02 pm }

Ita’s probably not the most accurate voice to dub me En_Gy, I don’t lisp for a start and she’s a good bit older and a lot more proper too – sort of plum-in-mouth. I’m more your garden variety tomboy and was a bit of a wild-child.

Oh, hang on, the penny just dropped funny bugger. Absinthe – lithp.

22 Culinary Boner { 09.04.12 at 8:00 pm }

I like the overall snarkiness and piss-taking of Raver’s site.

So on an issue which is everyone is taking more seriously than usual there are of course going to be 2 camps.

Both on CD (who I don’t recall anyone here calling “fat” or a “moll”) and on the what needs to be done, if anything, about trolling.

I will continue to play Barney Gumble – http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lslrtxjAP11qgybds.jpg

to others who’d prefer to be Ned Flanders on this issue –
http://deadhomersociety.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/treehouseofhorrorv6_thumb.png%3Fw%3D512%26h%3D384 *

Though we should all realise that Homer (who’d be both a troll and a victim at the same time) will be the ultimate winner in the end –
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Qf46AE1jGoc/Tp-UwGT_9kI/AAAAAAAAVOs/vW1QMwN9v8E/s1600/simpsons4.jpg

* oops, I meant the following, sorry Ned -http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100419011937/simpsons/images/1/15/NedFlanders3.gif –

HAPPY 24th season The Simpsons!!

23 @En_Gy { 09.04.12 at 8:21 pm }
24 Georgie { 09.04.12 at 8:26 pm }

Lol CB – “Though we should all realise that Homer (who’d be both a troll and a victim at the same time)…”

Homer has a lot in common with Charlotte then?

There are some here, who’d like us to take everything more seriously – but for some reason ‘RTV and serious’ just don’t seem to go together.

25 Georgie { 09.04.12 at 8:37 pm }

Now pay attention everyone, you’re getting off topic again – no fun allowed remember. It’s back to work, work, work…

26 Reality Raver { 09.05.12 at 9:36 am }

Hey Plan B just want to say thank you for your comment, you are a long term commenter of this site and your comments are valued. Also it is harder to write going against the flow of comments than with. This issue will have dissenting views and in fact there are no winners from this whole scenario.

27 Kate { 09.05.12 at 9:45 am }

@En_Gy Wow that looks like some crazy stuff. Both guys in that pic are gay right? So what is the point of posting that? I guess you are still annoyed that CD did block you and now you’re tying to get some revenge by posting crap. That is truly something a “Pest” would post.

28 Culinary Boner { 09.05.12 at 10:07 am }

*gasp* –

29 planb { 09.05.12 at 10:07 am }

That was really nice, RR. Thanks.

30 Kate { 09.05.12 at 10:18 am }

I wonder if the other guy in the pic is happy about that???

31 Culinary Boner { 09.05.12 at 4:10 pm }

Presuming this isn’t some sinister, made-up, ironical “troll article” that’s fooled the SMH, the following is a sad indictment of the slide to a ‘super nanny’ state via personal mis-use of the law:-
http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/neighbour-cant-cop-jolly-whistle-20120904-25cn4.html
Extract: “Of all the noises that can be emitted by the body, I would have thought whistling is the least offensive. But now you can be threatened with an AVO if you purse and blow? What next? AVOs for burpers, farters or stomach grumblers? Aren’t AVOs served when someone is in fear for their safety? How does whistling fit into this category? It demeans their very purpose.”
and
“My friend has no intention of changing his behaviour. He told the police that he would see his neighbour in court before he stopped whistling. The fact that three police were sent to pass on the message only added fuel to the fire. Especially, as he pointed out to them, no police had yet responded to his calls to the same station about a stolen bike. I’m guessing a stolen bike hardly raises an eyebrow.”

Note to self – better stop mouth-trumpeting the Benny Hill theme whilst gardening in the front yard.

Back firm-and-fast on-topic, today’s article by The Australian’s Janet Albrechtsen (paramour to Michael Kroger? still??) nails the Dawson trolling issue quite succinctly:
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/ask-not-for-whom-the-belle-trolls/story-e6frg7bo-1226465055788.

Last week Friday had a Blue Moon didn’t it?
An article in which I agree with more than 5% of what Albrechtsen has written? (Including the amusing KRudd jab)
And reports McDonalds is going vego?
Strange days.

32 Culinary Boner { 09.06.12 at 11:25 am }

* Must also quit whistling the theme music to “Gazula is Here” –
http://home.alphalink.com.au/~roglen/gazula.htm

33 brain dead dave { 09.06.12 at 11:34 am }

I got a neighbour from hell ,Boner. Just a small sample of her grievances :
* complaints about a Buddhist monk chanting in the adjacent back yard
*complaints of petrol fumes from a car being idled in the driveway- okay , but the car runs on gas ffs.

Nothing I like better than opening the side window and treating her to some Black Sabbath in summer.

34 Culinary Boner { 09.06.12 at 2:09 pm }

BDD, Sabbath is way too melodic. If only you was my neighbour. This summer you should instead try her out on the most annoying music in the world – gangsta rap.
I enclose a sample (ear plugs recommended) –
http://www.killerchops.tv/bert-ernie/gangsta-rap-video_1e49f8d31.html

35 brain dead dave { 09.06.12 at 2:54 pm }

Thanks Boner. That and “Ear Bleeders” Vol 5 ( a sample CD chockers with “explicit language” and abrasive nu metal I found) should do nicely.

The old bag has already threatened to hang herself- without any encouragement from Twitter.

36 PollyB { 09.26.12 at 1:24 pm }
37 brain dead dave { 09.26.12 at 1:33 pm }

Hard to find a blacker pot than Ms Daw$on.

38 Culinary Boner { 09.26.12 at 1:33 pm }

Spotted that as well, PollyB.

Tsk, tsk Charlotte and her Igor – Alex Perry. Tsk, tsk.

Guess shitbagging someone’s appearance in the media is okay when your targets are bogans, footy chicks and others who are outside the bitchy clique of the ‘fashion darlings’. Hypocrites, pure and simple.

39 PollyB { 09.26.12 at 2:45 pm }

Yep, they are hypocrites and glad that the real Charlotte Dawson has been exposed in relation to such a high profile event.

40 Culinary Boner { 10.08.12 at 9:47 am }
41 Georgie { 10.08.12 at 10:29 am }

It’s been interesting watching this saga unfold CB. The average Joe has never had any power to address the sort of injustice metered out by the likes of Alan Jones and Kyle Sandilands before, other than as an individual choosing to stop listening or to pick up the telephone.

Right or wrong, after this experience, Alan Jones will no doubt think twice before shooting his mouth off, because the pendulum has swung back to the other extreme and the balance of power has shifted. This treatment certainly had an effect on Kyle.

42 brain dead dave { 10.08.12 at 10:35 am }

The guy hasn’t got cancer….he is a cancer.

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