I had a rather abrupt experience with people slinging shit at me on the Internet. I am not a lawyer, but I definitely looked at my options with a few. As it turns out, it's hard to find a lawyer to take on a libel case for less than half a million dollars. Up front. Even if it's super-provable. That is how hard it is to file a libel suit against a media organization. (Weirdly, it's really easy to find someone to file a suit against an individual. I suppose it makes sense as one person doesn't have a whole legal team, but you'd think that a random person casting aspersions online would be harder to win a suit against than an actual media outlet with real editors making provably false statements. But then I'm not a lawyer, so what do I know?)
The thought that brought me joy that I wanted to share is the following: how sweet would it be if #HusbandOfAnAsianLady actually managed to raise that kind of cash and then blew it trying to take on Gawker in an attempt to make "we heard he pooped on the floor" a legally actionable thing? I really want this to happen. A lot. I bet Denton drops a million on it just for the lulz.
To take a more serious turn, because I've been learning all this stuff and have been meaning to share it with you anyway:
Chuck Johnson and I would have to prove actual malice in a libel suit because we are both considered public figures and you can say the most vile, hateful, awful things to or about people classified that way and have it be called "satire" or "opinion" or "heated rhetoric." As long as there is no intentional factual inaccuracy it's fair play. A regular private citizen, should you ever run up against a situation where you think you might need protection, does not even have to prove malice. Simple publishing of defamatory statements is enough.
Further, if you find yourself the target of a really creepy and sustained campaign of harassment or stalking online, here is a list of the state and federal laws governing online stalking and harassment.
There's disagreement, and then there's trolling, and then there's libel, and then there's ohshitscary. Just because it's the internet doesn't mean you have to tolerate the last two, particularly as a private citizen who isn't expected to just take people vocally hating them to disturbing levels in stride.
You owe nothing to people who wish you harm. It is not your job to be fair, or empathetic, or kind to them. The Internet can be crazy-making. Self-protection is a thing you are allowed to do. Women tolerate way more than we should online. And on any scale, it's totally okay to simply decide that you're not going to play anymore.
Hell hath no fury like a woman who's finally decided she won't belong to anyone but herself.
TL;DR: Dear people who think it's just peachy to wish or perpetrate harm on others and then get all butthurt when they refuse to be your victim: