Ashley Judd blasts women-hating Twitter trolls

Ashley Judd blasts women-hating Twitter trolls

In the wake of actress Ashley Judd’s pledge to press charges against the misogynistic (women-hating) cyberbullies who attacked her during March Madness this week, experts on bullying and violence against women praised Judd for standing up for herself and raising awareness of this growing social problem.

A University of Kentucky alumna and one of the most famous fans of the men’s basketball team, Judd found herself the target of sexually threatening Twitter trolls in response to her tweet criticizing Kentucky’s opponent during the South Eastern Conference championship game. The undefeated Kentucky team is scheduled to play tonight and Judd is likely to be cheering them on. Whether she’ll be active on social media during the nationally televised game remains to be seen.

“Certainly I wouldn’t want anybody to be bullied, but what’s hopeful about this situation is that Ashley Judd is a strong woman who has a voice and has power to say this is not acceptable,” says Sarah Katula, PhD, an advanced practice nurse at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill., and leader of the hospital’s domestic violence council. “Ashley Judd will not be bullied. She will not be a victim to this. But there are other people who don’t have the resources she has and will feel like a victim. How do we protect the more vulnerable population?”

In an interview with MSNBC, Judd said she plans to file police reports “about gender violence that’s directed at me on social media.” She also retweeted some of the most vicious sentiments to her 245,000 followers, writing, “I apologize for exposing others to such content. Awareness & acceptance precede action” and “I’m glad the #onlinebullying & specifically #onlinegenderviolence we all experience is being discussed.”

Judd’s experience is a teaching moment that parents, educators and others in a position of authority can use to talk to children about violence, bullying, empathy and using technology responsibly, according to Katula.

“It’s easy to hide behind technology, where you can’t see someone’s hurt or pain,” Katula says. “I think we need to do a lot better at educating people on emotional intelligence earlier on.”

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  1. If you tweet, there are always going to pro and con responses to your opinions.

    I don’t feel sorry for Judd because she has the freedom to keep her opinions to herself or only share them with her friends, but she decided that she wanted to share them with the world.

    Tough luck Ashley, but you exposed yourself voluntarily.

    • So…. “Tough luck Ashley” but commenting on a basketball game means you deserve to have people tweet that they will rape you? What a man you are, gman

    • Gman; you’re a mysogonistic moron. She deserves being threatened because she expresses an opinion? You don’t understand the constitution or the law. Or how to be a human…

  2. “How do we protect the more vulnerable population?”

    For starters one can stay off social media. Find something important to do with your time.

  3. People have the right to disagree with Ashley Judd or anyone else. The point is, they do NOT have the right to make violent threats, just because they disagree.

    • That’s where you’re wrong Shoobey! Freedom of speech is a right that we’re all born with and are lucky enough to enjoy in this country.
      As long as their words don’t turn to actions, they’re not breaking any laws.
      Judd should stop moaning and not burden the courts with idiotic lawsuits. If she’s hurt by the commentary, then she can just turn it off.
      I don’t know how this crap is considered newsworthy on this site. Reporting on how some spoiled crybaby actress was cyberbullied has nothing to do with health information, and devalues the other useful information that can be read.
      Any more of these junk stories and this site is headed for SPAM!

      • Per Wikipedia, this is the definition of Assault: “In common law, assault is the act of creating apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact with a person.”

        So…they’re breaking common law. Is it enforced? Ashley Judd thinks so, since she’s pressing charges.

  4. Wow…JoMarch way to reach into personal and hateful name calling to someone you have never met before. They could possibly be ignorant of the issues or ill informed, but bravo on the first strike sexist attack. Unfortunately or fortunately the internet is anonymous and that has its pros and cons. This is fact so far. While no one deserves to be threatened, how one acts in the face of such threats is more a testament to one’s character and understanding of the world. This is perhaps a generational misunderstanding on the issue. If you have grown up with this online culture everyone knows what the “correct” responses are…boot them, ignore them, report to admin and /ignore them, mute them, OR (for our more vengeance fuelled individuals) respond in kind like a school yard shooting match. I dislike the last way, but sometimes people need to vent back and I’m not going to judge them for that. These trolls will, and do, attack as voraciously and unapologetically males as they do females AND with the same sexually insulting rhetoric. They want attention, drama, and above all else goad a person into doing something drastic. She has handed them that on a silver platter. She may think she is on the road to the last laugh, but trolls are definitely taking this as a huge victory. It’s not likely (yes, still possible) that these particular trolls will have anything happen to them, but her decision to battle them like this is going to inspire others to attack more. And again, not just women but men as well.
    IRL we insulate ourselves with people, in general, we like. We don’t hold conversations on a daily basis with someone who will randomly just demean you for their own sadistic pleasure. At least I hope that everyone is selecting friends and acquaintances in this manner. This insulation usually provides civility, respect, and understanding. When one goes on social media, that insulation is gone. Nothing. Zero, Nada. That means you will likely experience the warmth of human affection and the fridge chill of human resentment every day. If someone believes they are owed niceness on the internet, I hate to be the one to do this but………Welcome to the human race where there are, in fact, terrible people! While you’re here please try to refrain from elevating these people to any podium or discussion where their ideas can be taken seriously. The vast majority go away if you pay them no heed. Thanks and have a great day!
    It’s also just ridiculous to think that this is just a female problem as any youtube trolling will inform you that this behavior has nothing to do with gender positions in society, but daggers individually fashioned to inflict the most mental anguish on its target. Ashely Judd is very protective of her identity as a woman in society. Great! All the power to her! But if she loved or was publicly protective of puppies…puppies would be the focus of the trolling. Sex is simply the most easily definable trait we can identify when we interact with someone. If they poke at that and get a reaction, guess what they are going to continue to poke. Also, in no way should these trolls be considered in any conversation where there are serious threats to one’s own personal safety. If people got a penny from every threat or insult they got while online community would be filthy rich. We don’t want the real and serious accounts of threats of violence/stalking/harassing to be drowned out like the boy who cried wolf. For the 1% of those people (yes I made that up, but it’s realistically even lower) who find themselves in a serious situation it can be very frightening, but Ashly Judd is not one of those people right now. And you may respond with, “how do you know that?” and I would say, “Because I have been on social media and I understand it. If you don’t then stop trying to argue against something that just blatantly is.” Treating this situation of trolling is doing nothing positive for the victims of IRL/OL abuse.
    WHEEEeeeeew……like I said before sometimes you just need to vent. If you made it this far thank for reading hahaha.

  5. To Elizabeth and JoMarch:
    Who’s being sexist here? Take a good long look in the mirror.

  6. I think some people have missed the point of why this was published. The story was shared so that parents could use this as a teaching moment for their children regarding violence, bullying, empathy and the appropriate use of technology. Believe me, if you had any idea of what teenagers are subjected to in online posts, you would realize that this is highly relevant information. Teenagers have committed suicide, based on in school and online bullying.

About the Author

Lisa Parro
Lisa Parro

Lisa Parro, health enews contributor, is manager of content strategy for Advocate Aurora Health. A former journalist, Lisa has been in health care public relations since 2008 and has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. She and her family live in Chicago’s western suburbs.