Should Fred Pawle be bashed, raped and killed? Wilko supporters say yes!
Do you remember yesterday when Matt Wilkinson called for the inclusion of sharia law in our judicial system?
The Quiksilver Pro champion become overheated when he was called a “yobbo” and “not pretty” in a headline in the sports section of The Australian newspaper and said, “Who thinks this guy deserves a flogging?”
Wilko’s pals, which include the former ASP chief Brodie Carr, surf journalist great Tim Baker and ASL editor Wade Gravy who included a photo of the writer of the story, were universal in their condemnation of the headline and the story contained within.
Their case stuttered when it was revealed that if you moved beyond the headline (which was written by a sub-editor) the writer had actually called Wilko’s surfing “the most beautiful in the world” and “fast and brutal…a refreshing alternative.”
A few minutes ago, the writer responded in The Australian with a piece called The Day a Pro Surfer Wanted Me Flogged.
“Yesterday I became the target of a social media mob who called for me to, among other things, be bashed, raped and killed.
“Nothing new or, to be honest, disturbing about that. Keyboard warriors are as ubiquitous and harmless on social media as cockroaches on a balmy night.
“What was unusual, though, was that I was being pilloried for saying something nice. If vitriol and incitements to violence can now be triggered for expressing compliments, then, at the risk of sounding grim, free speech in this country is in serious trouble.”
“Why was he offended? Did he actually read the story? Or did he think I’d called him “not pretty”? His followers certainly thought so. Amid the hundreds of messages telling him how pretty he really is were other messages vehemently agreeing with his opening conclusion, which soon degenerated into suggestions of rape and murder. Lovely people, Wilko’s followers.
“All harmless fun, of course, to which I was oblivious until my 17-year-old son, who has the same name as me, contacted me to ask why he was copping abuse on Instagram.”
“We are living in increasingly intolerant times. Wilko’s instinctive response to an imagined slight was to incite a mob into a frenzy of fury.
“The right to be offended now extends to words intended as compliments, and the mob responds like an overcrowded cage of rabid Pavlov’s dogs. We are facing a generation of young adults to whom opposing arguments are not ideas to be contested, but justification for two dismally immature emotions: fleeting moral vanity and raging hatred. Neither of these emotions is essential to a normal, healthy life, or society, for that matter.
“More disturbingly, among the mob were three surf journalists. One of them, Nick Carroll, whose recent biography of his former-world-champion brother Tom describes him as the “world’s best known surf writer”, ignored the obviously dark, anti-journalistic forces at work and instead posted a sycophantic message to Wilko: ‘I think you’re pretty.’
“When even journalists run with the bloodthirsty pack, we are in a dangerous situation. When the pack is responding to an imaginary slight, the danger becomes ubiquitous. Who will they turn on next?
“Does Wilko think he made a mistake? Was it an impulsive act that he now realises was unwise and even a bit uncool? He won’t tell me. I messaged him last night, then again this morning, asking if we could talk about the storm he unleashed. I also left a message with Neil Ridgway, the marketing manager at Rip Curl, Wilko’s main sponsor. Neither replied.
“When I woke this morning, I noticed that Wilko had taken down the offending post from Instagram.”
Read the full story here (I didn’t cut and paste it all. She long!)