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December 18, 2016

‘Vanity Fair’ editor sues Twitter troll for giving him a seizure

by John_A

Who knew trolls can use social media not just to dish out death threats but to cause someone actual physical harm? A Twitter user who went by the name @jew_goldstein very recently tweeted a GIF with rapidly flashing graphics at Vanity Fair and Newsweek writer Kurt Eichenwald, a known epileptic and Donald Trump critic. Shortly after that, Eichenwald’s wife replied that the auto-playing animation gave Eichenwald a seizure and that she called the police to report the assault along with the info they have on the user.

@jew_goldstein’s account has since been suspended, but you can see a screenshot of the message below, courtesy of Mediaite.

@jew_goldstein This is his wife, you caused a seizure. I have your information and have called the police to report the assault.

— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) December 16, 2016

The weaponized tweet went out a day after Eichenwald had a face off with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on TV. In fact, this is the second time someone tweeted him a seizure-inducing animation this year. Back in October, Eichenwald wrote in Newsweek that someone pinged him with a video of “flashing circles and images of Pepe flying toward the screen” after he wrote about how the President-Elect’s businesses could undermine national security. He was able to drop his iPad before the animation triggered a seizure that time, though — he wasn’t so lucky this time.

In a series of tweets he sent out after the event, the editor announced that he’s taking a Twitter break to pursue a case against @jew_goldstein.

Last night, for the second time, a deplorable aware I have epilepsy tweeted a strobe at me with the message “you deserve a seizure’ on it…

— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) December 16, 2016

…it worked. This is not going to happen again. My wife is terrified. I am…disgusted. All I will be tweeting for the next few days are…

— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) December 16, 2016

…copies of documents from the litigation, police reports etc. Once we have the lawsuit filed, we will be subpoenaing Twitter for the…

— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) December 16, 2016

…identity of the individual who engaged in this cross-state assault. At this point, the police are attempting to determine if this is…

— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) December 16, 2016

…a federal crime because it appears to be cross state. This kind of assault will never happen again without huge consequences. This…

— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) December 16, 2016

…individual will be going to court, and he will be paying a price. And if any of you others ever try this again, I will make sure it…

— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) December 16, 2016

…happens to you. Online anonymity does not protect criminals. Thats why subpoenas exist. You are facing a criminal investigation and a…

— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) December 16, 2016

…lawsuit. So if any of you others think about trying this “cute” prank, consider the consequences. They will be severe.

— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) December 16, 2016

Keith Lee, a lawyer based out of Birmingham, Alabama, posted an analysis of the situation on his blog. He examined whether what happened to Eichenwald could be legally classified as an assault and whether you can sue someone for a tweet. He concluded that “there is no reason to think that someone cannot be held liable for assault delivered electronically across great distances.” But since what he’s written is all speculative, we’ll just have to wait for Eichenwald’s updates on the litigation.

Via: The Verge

Source: Mediaite, Kurt Eichenwald (Twitter)

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