A debate over online harassment started with a tweet from New York Times tech reporter Taylor Lorenz. For International Women's Day, "please consider supporting women enduring online harassment," she said. "It’s not an exaggeration to say that the harassment and smear campaign I’ve had to endure over the past year has destroyed my life." This seemed to enrage Tucker Carlson, who attacked in her in a segment about "powerful people claiming to be powerless" on his Fox show Tuesday, Variety reports. The Times defended Lorenz Wednesday, accusing Carlson of a "calculated and cruel" campaign to encourage viewers to step up the harassment. More:
- Carlson's attack. Carlson scoffed at Lorenz's tweet Tuesday. "Destroyed her life, really? By most people’s standards, Taylor Lorenz would seem to have a pretty good life, one of the best lives in the country, in fact," he said. He also described Lorenz, who reports on social media and Internet culture, as "far younger" and "much less talented" than other leading Times reporters, the Washington Post reports.
- "Calculated and cruel." "In a now familiar move, Tucker Carlson opened his show last night by attacking a journalist. It was a calculated and cruel tactic, which he regularly deploys to unleash a wave of harassment and vitriol at his intended target," the Times tweeted Wednesday. "Taylor Lorenz is a talented New York Times journalist doing timely and essential reporting. Journalists should be able to do their jobs without facing harassment."
- Fox defends Carlson. Fox issued a statement defending Carlson, who named Times journalists last year that he claimed were working on a story about his house in Maine. "No public figure or journalist is immune from legitimate criticism of their reporting, claims or journalistic tactics," the network said. "Carlson, on his show, revisited his own anger about the idea that where his family lived in Maine would become more widely known." The AP notes that no such Times story appeared and the journalists Carlson named reported harassment.
- More harassment. Lorenz continued to speak out this week about the "vicious harassment campaign" she has experienced and accused Carlson and other conservative commentators of mobilizing "armies of followers" against her. She shared one message she had received that said, "I hope you cry yourself to sleep every night. I hope you take your own life. I hope you live all your days in fear. You are the scum of the Earth. Why are you still breathing." It went on to repeat "Kill yourself" 11 times.
- Carlson keeps it up. Deadline reports that Carlson attacked Lorenz again on his Wednesday night show, calling her a "deeply unhappy narcissist." He also fired back against the Times' statement, saying the paper "believes that anyone who disagrees with them is committing assault." His guest, Sean Davis from the Federalist, said Lorenz "harasses kids and teenagers" like Claudia Conway for stories.
- She says he did something "very weird." Lorenz said it was "very weird" that in a screenshot of her tweets, Carlson and his team had edited out the picture of a blobfish she uses as an avatar and replaced it with her photo, which they had apparently pulled from elsewhere on the Internet, the Guardian reports. "I'm not saying my face doesn’t exist on the Internet,” she tweeted. "I’m saying I don’t have it on Twitter intentionally for when ppl take screengrabs."
- International Women's Media Foundation speaks out. The IWMF, which launched a new resource center this week for journalists experiencing harassment, denounced Carlson's remarks and noted that online harassment often leads to physical violence. "Coordinated attacks against women journalists by major news networks not only threaten a journalist’s livelihood, but her life itself," the group said. "Lorenz is a legitimate journalist whose work should be applauded, not attacked."
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