Imagine you have a daughter. (If you do have a daughter, I suggest that for this thought experiment you use an imaginary one.) She’s eleven years old. Now imagine that she’s just been (allegedly) raped by a 38-year-old man. Imagine how you feel, the torment and anguish. And now imagine how you would feel if the (alleged) rapist accused her of raping him.
That’s just what’s happened in Springfield recently. Can you conceive of how the mother feels? Or how the child feels? If you’re a decent person, you hear that story and feel sad, disgusted, and frustrated, and – the feelings run the gamut. But if you’re a writer at Turtleboy Sports, which is run by Aidan Kearney-and funded by city council member and Worcester Republican City Committee Chair Michael Gaffney, blog, though, you delight in the story and use it to target your political opponents – in this case, yours truly.
Here’s what the blog Michael Gaffney sponsors did
At a time when most people in Worcester have turned against Turtleboy and think the blog can’t get any
lower, they delve even further into the sewer. Exploiting and making a joke of the Springfield child’s sexual assault, Turtleboy Sports published an article describing what happened (by simply reporting what was already published in the Springfield press), and they used a portrait of me as the main photo. In tiny letters, they wrote that I was not at all involved in the story, but that “we like” the photo. Of course, most people didn’t notice that, least of all my friends who got in touch to warn me that Turtleboy was “after you again.”
But there it was: my portrait, posted in the article itself and on Facebook with the headline, but without any disclaimer that I had nothing to do with it. I wasn’t worried for my reputation: people in Worcester and elsewhere know me, and they know my character. But I was absolutely revolted.
Here’s why they did it
There were only two reasons Turtleboy Sports, which Michael Gaffney funds, would do this:
- They really thought people might believe I was the person involved, and it was their way to get revenge on me for exposing how hideous they really are. (Also, they think I’m behind a petition against them, which seems to be upsetting them)
- They thought it was a funny way to taunt me, and they wanted to do so for the same reasons listed above.
What it shows about them
What sick, disgusting people. What kind of person who, when hearing about a child being raped, lets
their twisted mind wander to “This is great to pin on my enemy” or to “Wow, this would make a great joke!”
What kind of demented, unfeeling person do you have to be? Apparently you have to be someone like the disgraced ex-school teacher Aidan Kearney or Michael Gaffney, his patron. Sexualizing children is a pattern with these people. They and their blog apparently thought it was funny to accuse a rapper of child rape, and they published sexual fantasies about the “Catch me outside” girl.”
How they lied about it
After posting their article, though, they took it down, realizing that purposely associating a member of the community with child rape is extremely libelous, and would easily put them into legal jeopardy. While I was discussing with a lawyer whether to send a simple cease-and-desist letter, which would result in the article being taken down, or actually suing them, which would have forced a public lawsuit that would have revealed who was behind the site, someone sent me a message saying the picture had been removed.
Of course, Turtleboy Sports is known as much for its lies as it is for its bullying and sexualization of children. Instead of just taking the picture down, they posted a lie about why they did it. According to their explanation, “So when we shared this blog we didn’t use a cover photo since we didn’t have a picture of the perp. When that happens and we share it it automatically uses a stock photo that we’ve used a lot. However, the individual in that picture has nothing to do with the story.”
Two problems with their explanation
First, that’s not how Facebook works. When you share something on Facebook, as virtually everyone knows, the social media site pulls only from the page you’re posting, not somewhere else. I’ve posted many things, and I’ve also operated many business pages, and neither I nor anyone I know has ever had Facebook post a “stock” photo. It just isn’t how Facebook works.
Second, what they wrote is in direct contradiction to what they wrote on their website. They posted my portrait, and underneath it they wrote, “Pictured above is Red Danny Margolis, the communist creator of the failed Turtleboycott. He has nothing to do with this particular story, we just like the picture a lot.”
Of course I’m no communist, as I’ve written here before, and I’m not behind the boycott; other people who hate them are. But this quote by them is absolute evidence that they lied to their readers, and that they lied about how the picture was posted. From that, we know a few things:
- They’re absolutely terrified of a lawsuit
- They’re completely unrepentant about joking – again – about the rape of children.
- They lie to suit themselves as second nature. This is just an example, of course, as we already knew. We’ve seen them do it before, both on their Facebook and website posts, and on the floor of the city council.
What this means for our city
Even though we know all this, we’re left with the uncomfortable fact that there is a blog just across Worcester’s border, in Holden, with a big following that thinks it’s cool to joke about the rape of children.
We also have a city council member, Michael Gaffney, who doesn’t bat an eyelash when people joke about child rape over and over again.
Is that someone we really want located anywhere near the leadership of the city? Elections are in
November. If you really want to boycott the blog that trivializes one of the most evil acts any human can perpetuate, make sure Michael Gaffney is ousted.
And Michael Gaffney, I know you’re reading this: I’m sure you feel proud of yourself for planting a few flowers around election time, but, really, is there no level to which you won’t stoop? How do you think the mother of the girl in Springfield – or the child herself – feels? Have you no empathy? What’s wrong with you?
Image: Stock photo published by the European Parliament for International Women’s Day in 2010, and used under a Creative Commons license.