The art of the smear

I saw the photo first, me in a bloody wash of red with “RACIST” pulsing over my face. A couple of clicks brought me to this:

“In the darkest shadow of Bloomberg’s glossy office building in Manhattan, you may find a woman by the name of Dune Lawrence—a ‘journalist’ who has built a career on writing salacious articles about China.”

That was my introduction to TheBlot, a website I hope you’ve never heard of. The article went on and on: I’d been kicked out of China for poor job performance and eked out a living on minimum wage. My appearance was ravaged by “years of consuming hormone-packed fried chicken and stressing over money.” Now, I’d found a way to save my sinking career by writing negative articles about China and taking kickbacks from short sellers. In a cinematic scene set at Kentucky Fried Chicken, this Internet version of me laid out a strategy: “ ‘Bashing the Chinese could be a profitable niche for me,’ Lawrence said to a source while biting off a juicy chicken leg quarter at KFC. ‘The Chinese don’t vote, the Chinese don’t sue people, they just sit there taking the s—. How much better can it get? I am making a living out of it!’ ”

It was difficult for me to keep reading. In addition to all the lies, the story was laced with creepy sexual imagery: I’d had my “panties ripped off” and was like “a dog wagging her tail trying to attract a mating partner.” I felt overwhelmed; it was as if something heavy were pressing into my forehead. I wanted to fight back, and I also wanted to hide. I haven’t been able to do either.

Read this Bloomberg piece by Dune Lawrence, on how online trolls destroy lives and careers, now.

2 thoughts on “The art of the smear

  1. Well, that was scary…. But it is true, there is nothing you can do with innuendo and smear-tactics. At least in the US you can sue them and still do something about it.. when was the last time you heard a defamation case being judged in India with a verdict for payment of damages?

    • That is precisely the knowledge that empowers the trolls — from both sides — here. There are no consequences.

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