I am glad that I left politics before the onset of digital warriors. All I had to deal with was radio talkback which was odorific enough. However, the nasty stuff was at least on the air rather than insidious types hiding behind a keyboard.
It’s different now and Sara Templeton has taken a brave step and forced the digital provider to identify where the trolls were hiding.
This article in Stuff https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/128230199/i-am-eggstein-young-nat-jessee-mackenzie-admits-trolling-female-politicians-resigns-from-national-party identifies the guilty parties. They were Bryce Beattie and Jessee MacKenzie.
Here’s a photo of them at the National party conference last year.
Bryce Beattie, left, and his flatmate Jessee MacKenzie, right, at a National Party conference last year.
Beattie was revealed as the holder of the household IP address after Templeton successfully made an application to the district court under the Harmful Digital Communications Act.
Templeton said she was pleased MacKenzie had confessed to his trolling, but wished he did it on Wednesday rather than let his flatmate “carry the can”.
“I know that the feedback has been rough. I hope he (Beattie) is getting lots of support.
“To me this was never about a witch hunt over one person. It was mainly about raising the broad issues.”
This is a big lesson for both young men, who will not be so brave now that the cloak of anonymity has been removed. This is a warning to all those who undertake this sort of misogynistic carryon. I bet all parties have enthusiastic young members who delight in hiding behind their computers and harassing people from other parties. This is a message for them all. It is unacceptable and good on Sara for not giving in.
The National Party has, quite correctly, chucked them out as members and Christchurch has been saved from the nastiness they would have brought to the community board one of them was intending standing for.
The story was featured throughout the media, even in Auckland. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/two-young-nats-resign-after-female-politicians-harassed-online/
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