‘Please don’t do this to me!’

I don’t really know what ‘reddit’ is or why it is.  I barely know what Gawker is. Every once in a while someone send me a link to some site like ‘Jezebel’ saying, “You might like this,” or “I think you would hate this” or whatever.  But ‘reddit’ is apparently another one of dozens of ‘content aggregate sites’ on the web where people post shit and other people look at it and they post +1 and similar stupid stuff.  And although I don’t really understand ‘reddit’ nor do I care about it, it has passed in front of my radar recently because other news sites I follow have been reporting on some dude named Michael Brutsch.

Fat and creepy looking, plus he has a (surprise!) goatee. Looks pretty much like I expected he would.

Brutsch is one of reddit’s “power users” who has, for years, specialized in trolling and what he affectionately calls ‘creepshots’ (and others have called ‘child pornography.’ I’m not sure they fit my definition of pornography, but they don’t make me like Brutsch). ‘Creepshots’ are where Brutsch or his followers scour the web looking for pictures of under-age girls who look sexually provocative for ‘wank material’ or they photograph under age girls they see in public. So, yeah, they follow 14 year olds and leer at them, then post the pictures they snap online and make comments about the girls.  Illegal? I don’t know. Fucked up and creepy? Definitely.
Brutsch served as a moderator (or sorts) for ‘reddit’ and established his own moderation policies for ‘creepshots.’ Among other things, he would immediately delete any pictures that were of women/girls old enough to give legal consent. Anyone who crossed him would be hunted down and harassed on the Internet by Brutsch and his cronies. Among other things, they would flood their network of sites with the targets real name and contact information coupled with insults and accusations. And he and his cronies did all of this from behind anonymous user handles.  Brutsch used ‘Violentacrez’ as his screen name, and, as Violentacrez he was infamous. Brutsch/Violentacrez is unpaid (he does (or did) this for fun), but ‘reddit’ is owned by Conde Nast, who disavow any role in the creepiness of 49 year old men posting pictures and comments that describe their sexual fantasies involving young girls and pictures they have appropriated from facebook and other sources.
Cutting to the chase: The residents of ‘Gawker’ and ‘reddit’ were caught up in some sort of flame war.  Adrian Chen of Gawker somehow found out that Violentacrez = Brutsch and called up Brutsch to tell him that he was going public with the information. Brutsch begged him not to, citing the fact that this would embarrass his family and cost him his job, ignoring the obvious — as Violentacrez, he made his reputation by bringing grief to other people. But when the shit lands on his doorstep, he begs Chen to show some mercy and let him off the hook. He tells Chen that his wife is disabled and this will embarrass his son (never mind that as Violentacrez, there was nowhere Brutsch wouldn’t go in his attempts to humiliate those he though of as his online enemies and he had no qualms about invading the lives of others by posting pictures of teenagers in his online gallery). I’m glad to say that Chen didn’t listen. After the news got out, Brutsch was let go from his position at a financial firm’s IT department, presumably because he had been moderating a glorified porn site and championing free speech by fucking with people from an anonymous account while on the clock. Ooops.
Why are these Internet tough guys always such pathetic, fat worms in reality? When they finally reel out enough rope to hang themselves, they always seem to think that they don’t deserve to be on the receiving end of what they have been dishing out.  What’s up with that?

10 Comments on “‘Please don’t do this to me!’”

  1. Drance says:

    Because the internet is another way that modern society coddles cowards. Technology has given these man-children the perfect way for them to vent their desperation with drastically reduced potential for retaliation. The anonymity that one can find by default on the internet emboldens these yellow-bellied a-holes, who aren't man enough to speak out in reality. This whole paradigm makes me sick on a daily basis. I can't stand this trend where pussies get to heckle their betters from a great distance. I was on the receiving end of such pussified internet attacks about a decade ago, when I was working on an albeit crude philosophy website. Some d-bags started spamming my forum with all sorts of attacks. I finally found out that they were some former coworkers. When I threatened to pay them a nice visit one day at my old job, they quickly degenerated into scared pieces of shit, telling me they would call the cops if I tried to hurt them. Typical. Bottom line: these pukes give manhood a bad name.

  2. Stephan Poag says:

    Drance: It reminds me of nothing more than when war criminals finally get hauled into court for war crimes they almost always plead their age and infirmity. Ratko Mladic's lawyers argue that it is 'cruel' to subject an old man to a lengthy trial, never mind what he ordered to be done to civilians and prisoners. Pinochet's lawyers made the same argument. General Franco? Same story. The list goes on.
    I'd have more respect for them if they were defiant to the end — I still wouldn't like what they did, but if you are someone who likes to harm others, you shouldn't be surprised when people want payback.

  3. John says:

    Actually Franco never stood trial, he died still in power.

  4. Stephan Poag says:

    Whoops! Thanks for keeping me honest.

  5. Glad this scumbag got got.

  6. This is the sort of stuff that makes you think seriously about unplugging. Everyone has to weigh the costs/ benefits if they're going to be active online (especially if they have kids). You hear more and more of this sort of thing and just realizing this guy is one of many dirt bags out there gives me pause to think.

  7. Zanazaz says:

    I think he got off easy. He should have been prosecuted. Of course I guess someone could file a civil suit and sue his ass, but I doubt he has anything worth anything.

  8. Melan says:

    I think you are thinking of Augusto Pinochet.

  9. Stephan Poag says:

    add: A quote about Brutsch from a New Yorker on a cyber stalking issues: The only kind of lawyer he (he=Brutsch) has hinted at hiring is a plaintiff’s attorney who would work on a contingency fee and help him sue Gawker. On what grounds, he didn’t say, but one guesses that he’s thinking about the so-called reputational torts—suits for defamation, or invasion of privacy. Irony has no dominion here.

    Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2012/10/amanda-todd-michael-brutsch-and-free-speech-online.html#ixzz29kotWLRI

  10. Stephan Poag says:

    That thought has crossed my mind. Of course, if you quit the field, characters like Brutsch can declare 'victory' for their side in the culture war by default. And, yeah, it does feel like a culture war at times. Although I find myself questioning whether the field is worth fighting over.
    I don't know what is best for kids, but I don't think shielding them from douchebaggery is preparing them well for the world as it is. How is a kid going to learn that Brutsch type behavior is not acceptable or worthy or admiration otherwise?

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