Sunday, January 3, 2016

Toronto man charged with 'criminal' tweeting gets crowdfunding help with legal bills

Only The Internet Can Save Gregory Alan Elliott - Milo Yiannopoulos, Breitbart News:

November 17, 2015 - "His name is Gregory Alan Elliott. He has been on trial for three years, in a costly Canadian court battle with drastic implications for free speech. For two years, he was banned from the internet, where he previously earned much of his income. His artwork, hanging in a local coffee shop in Toronto, was recently defaced by a mob of enraged activists.

"Crippled by loss of work and the ongoing court case, Elliott and his family have been forced to turn to an online crowdfunding campaign to cover their legal costs. What did he do to bring about such persecution?... Elliott criticised feminists on the internet.

"The story begins in 2012.... Stephanie Guthrie, a young Toronto woman looking to raise her media profile, had a bright idea: she would lead a Twitter mob against a critic of professional feminist whingebag Anita Sarkeesian....Her target was Ben Spurr, an unruly video games designer who had created a game that allowed players to punch an image of Sarkeesian in the face.... Guthrie plotted to 'sic the internet' on Spurr, in a way that would 'impact his real-life experience'.... Elliott, a well-known local artist who closely followed Toronto’s online political scene, objected to Guthrie’s plan to ruin Spurr’s life. Online mob justice was 'every bit as vicious as the face-punch game,' he tweeted....

"In November 2012, Guthrie accused Elliott of 'criminal harassment' on the basis of his tweets. She was joined by ... Toronto feminists Heather Riley and Paisley Rae. With no evidence showing that Elliott’s tweets were in any way threatening – the arresting officer, Jeff Bangild, admitted as much in court ... Elliott was arrested, detained and charged by the Canadian crown....

"According to Gregory Elliott’s son, Clayton, the Canadian courts initially sought to detain him for the duration of his trial.... Eventually, the Crown was persuaded to grant bail, although, as part of his bail conditions, Elliott was prohibited from using 'the internet and any device with access to the internet.' A graphics designer by trade, this was crippling to his career. Before he even had a chance to figure out how to continue doing his job of 17 years with these restrictive bail conditions, he was fired without cause. Forced to withdraw his pension early, the 55-year old father of four has spent more than $50,000 in legal fees, and still owes a further $40,000.

"Guthrie and Riley do not need to win their case. Without a serious surge in his crowdfunding campaign, Elliott’s livelihood has already been destroyed. The process has been the punishment – and it is still not over yet.

"Christie Blatchford of Canada’s National Post describes how his accusers 'convened a meeting of friends to discuss how Elliott should be publicly shamed; they bombarded their followers with furious tweets and retweets about him (including a grotesque suggestion from someone pretending she was a 13-year-old that he was a pedophile); they could and did dish it out.'

"Paisley Rae, one of the women who accused Elliott, has mates at the Toronto PD.... Twitter archives show that Rae has maintained a friendly relationship with Detective Jeff Bangild, the officer in charge of the Elliott case, since early 2012. In 2013, while she was still a complainant in the Elliott case, she was still giving Bangild public pep talks on his social media presentations.... Rae, with her close connections to Toronto Police, dropped out of the trial. But it didn’t matter. Elliott had already been charged....

"Freedom of Tweets, a campaign launched today on behalf of Gregory Alan Elliott ... hopes to raise the $100,000 paid by Elliott in legal fees, and repair some of the damage to his livelihood and public reputation.

"The campaign is co-ordinated by an acquaintance of mine, Lauren Southern, a ferocious Canadian libertarian activist.... Southern told me today: 'I hope that supporters of free speech on the web will recognise the importance of this case, and lend their support to Gregory Alan Elliott. Some good can come of this if we show the world that the public will be galvanised when an individual’s free speech is threatened.'"

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