Emily Bazelon of XX Factor on Michael Brutsch, AKA Violentacrez, the Redditor moderator outed by Adrian Chen of Gawker as the troll behind /r/creepshots:
Here’s why I feel a bleat of sympathy, though, for Brutsch, who turns out to be a 49-year-old computer programmer working at a Texas financial services company. Or worked, I should say, since he says he lost his job after being outed. Brutsch comes across as loathsome and pathetic in Chen’s telling. But he’s now not just one of thousands of loathsome and pathetic trolls—he’s the one whose story has gone viral and whose disabled wife stands to lose her health insurance as a result.
So? Big mistakes earn big consequences. Brutsch did a lot of terrible things, and I don’t feel bad at all that his employer did not want to retain his services after they found out about those things.
But there’s something so unsettlingly selective about the way in which we punish the few people whose bad Internet behaviors become mainstream notoriety. When prosecutors enforce the law to go after criminals, they’re supposed to do it uniformly… I wish Michael Brutsch could bear his share of responsibility and sprinkle the rest onto all the other trolls out there.
Don’t we all. But as Bazelon says, “Brutsch was king troll”. The most egregious offenders earn the worst punishments; some get away scot-free. I’m not going to feel sad that one person involved in this misogyny got caught and punished just because not everyone did; if I hold out for 100% victory I’ll never get to celebrate.
I feel sorry for Brutsch because he’s obviously a poor, stunted excuse for a man who needs therapy and more, importantly, Jesus. I refuse to feel sorry for him because he got the just reward of his ugly behavior.