Loath as I am to front-page this juvenile behavior, it has gone on long enough and I felt it necessary to address it for those out there in Cyberland who are wondering what this is all about.
For four days, a woman named Denise Romano has been incessantly tweeting falsehoods about me with the specific intent to paint me as a bully. As she has ignored my attempts to engage her and determine why she is on a mission to disparage me as a bully, my only recourse is to memorialize it so that I can tweet this post whenever Ms. Romano tweets about me.
This “dispute” as it were arises from this Twitter exchange regarding Nicole Sandler. Ms. Romano casts the exchange as me encouraging 10 or 20 people to gang up on Ms. Sandler because I disagreed with Sandler about a political issue. Any fair reading of the exchange demonstrates the falsity of this “gang up” narrative.
I’m not a bully. Full stop. And, despite Ms. Romano’s claim that I am lying about such, I have never uttered a single cross word toward Nicole Sandler outside of my requests that she call off her attack dogs. Indeed, outside of this ongoing campaign to disparage me, I have never engaged Sandler or Romano in any sort of political discussion or otherwise.
But you don’t have to take my word for it.
Anyone is free to go search topsy.com to determine who is saying what to whom. If you are inclined, click here, here, here, here to view Ms. Romano’s tweets. Click here, here, and here, to view tweets in which I address Ms. Romano, or here, here, and here for those in which I address Ms. Sandler. Or you can take a look at this screenshot wherein Ms. Romano takes my tweets and manipulates them to cast me as some sort of liar and a bully who is in denial.
If I were truly engaged in any sort of harassment towards Sandler or Romano, wouldn’t there be some evidence of it on Topsy? If Ms. Romano were truly compiling a blog series on bullying featuring me as the star bully, wouldn’t she have (as I have) taken screenshots of any relevant alleged behavior? If this issue arose because, as Ms. Romano claims, Sandler had the temerity to disagree with me about President Obama (that claim is also made here), why has she not provided some evidence of that claim? one would think that she should be able to produce some evidence of my nefarious behavior, especially considering that Ms. Romano has been claiming since December that I am a bully. You don’t have to take my word for it. The Internet is forever and Topsy is an excellent resource.
Make no mistake. Ms. Romano’s ongoing campaign is about me, and any attempt to claim that my ego has resulted in my wrongly assuming that her “educational tweets” are about me falls flat on its face:
And lest you think it unfair of me to lump Sandler and Romano in together, one need only read Ms. Romano’s twitter stream and the conversations that she has with other people about me to realize that rehabilitating Ms. Sandler’s image seems to be her primary goal in all of this. (Example here and continued here.) She even went so far as to tally the purported insults lobbed against Ms. Sandler to compare them to those she perceives as having being lobbed (by me?) against her!
Ultimately, What Ms. Romano has seemingly been trying to do is to whitewash the actual misbehavior – Ms. Sandler’s misbehavior in calling me a “b*tch”, calling @goldietaylor an “a**hole,” calling @adept2u (former DKos blogger and current blogger at The People’s View) an “a**hole,” and telling @vcthree (who has contributed to The Grio) to “f*ck off” — and attribute all misbehavior to me.***
As has been pointed out to me by multiple people, the privilege attendant to any belief that Ms. Sandler should be able to call people names without consequence is astonishing. Why Ms. Romano has decided to target us (we are all black) while simultaneously ignoring and excusing Ms. Sandler’s behavior is a question that answers itself once posed. Indeed, Ms. Romano has gone so far as to intimate that the four of us are some sort of “fam” or group that works together in concert to bully people. I don’t know why she thinks this – perhaps she actually thinks that all black people know each other?
Ms. Romano’s tactics are transparent, as are Ms. Sandler’s. The reason I keep such pristine records (including chirpstories) is to protect myself against smear campaigns such as these. Being a woman of color and an activist, I do not have the luxury of allowing such charges to go unanswered.
I don’t call people “b*tch.” I don’t call people “c*nt” and I can’t imagine that Ms. Romano truly believes that sort of behavior is acceptable in political discourse under any circumstances. I have asked Ms. Romano repeatedly to stop her disparagement of me, and were she an expert on cyberharassment as she claims, one would think that she would respond to my repeated requests. Other Twitter users (whom Romano will surely call my “minions” have tried to explain to her that they don’t see me as having ganged upon Ms. Sandler. (See here, here, and here.) I have repeatedly expressed my dismay at her behavior (example here), and civilly have asked her to explain why she is behaving the way she is. Her response (not to me – she never responds to me, only about me) has been that she has seen no evidence of my being able to carry on a mature and healthy discussion –
– all the while continuing for days on end to pollute Twitter (specifically the “ConnectTheLeft” hashtag) with passive aggressive sub-tweets about me. She even has gone so far as to claim I think cyberharassment is a joke –
Hopefully with this post, she will finally realize that I don’t think her behavior is a joke.
I wish I knew what Ms. Romano’s motivations are and why she feels it acceptable to carry on this crusade against me. Even assuming that everything I have said about the exchange with Ms. Sandler is a lie (it isn’t). Even assuming that I got 10 to 20 people to gang up on Ms. Sandler and attack her (I didn’t) for how long is Ms. Romano going to tweet about me while feigning that her tweets are not about me? This “dispute” occurred in December, yet three months later, Ms. Romano still tweets about it. Will she still be tweeting about it three months hence? Will she post her disparaging tweets at Huffington Post? How many times do I need to ask her to stop before she will? How many times do I need to specifically ask her to explain to me why she is behaving this way before she responds to me (and not to other Twitter users)? How many times do I need to tell her that I find her obsession with me to be creepy?
This needs to stop.
I have no grudge against any of these people nor do I expect them to like me or my politics. I simply want them to stop polluting Twitter with this juvenile grudge-based harassment. Therefore, I will maintain this post and continue tweeting it until the behavior stops (even though I am certain that this post will be used to further cast me as a bully, probably because I’m “angry” and “black.”)
I have tried to resolve this absent writing a post about it to no avail. We have an election to win and Republicans to keep out of this country’s collective vagina. I simply do not have time for this.
***Follow the links to read about @vcthree’s struggles (“To Be Young Gifted and Black“) and @adept2u’s struggles at DKos (“How Markos Moulitsas Taught Me To Call Them The Tea Party“) (he was part of the banning that disproportionately affected bloggers of color at DKos.)
***posted edited on 3/7/12 5 pm to remove references to Ms. Sandler’s visit to Congressman West’s office based upon her assurances that she has contacted Ms. Romano and asked her to stop. -ABLxx