The Internet is flooded with sexual harassment and death threats, mostly aimed at women. Why does some men feel free to write just about anything to women who takes a stand on the web? Nominated for FIPA 2014 and Input 2014.
This reportage takes a closer look at the phenomenon of misogyny and hate speech on the web and we meet women who are used to receiving severe threats. They are well known Swedish journalists, bloggers and debaters and on camera they quote some of the horrid comments they have received in emails and comment fields. “You are a slut and a whore, and you have only two weeks left to live”, “What you need is to be fucked to pieces with a baseball bat” – these are but a few examples.
We also meet 21-year-old Julia, an ordinary Swedish girl who wrote a post on clothing giant H&M’s Facebook page and received thousands of threatening and humiliating comments. In her post Julia questioned the fact that H&M had launched a clothing line with images of late rapper Tupac Shakur, a once convicted sex offender. Very soon her post was flooded with comments such as “Scum, commit suicide”, “Now I’m gonna rape you and ask H&M to print a sweater with my face on it” and “Do you want to be humiliated, because I would gladly piss in your face”. Most of the threatening comments where left on Facebook for over a month before they were erased by H&M.
Reporters Nicke Nordmark and Hasse Johansson confronts some of the men who threatened Julia, to ask why they did it. “It was just an expression, I don’t want her to get raped literally”, says one. Most of the men confronted says that what they write on the web doesn’t mean that much and that it is “just Facebook”.
The program stirred a huge debate in Sweden when aired in February 2013, and the topic of Internet hate on women dominated the conversation in social media for a long time. Posts on the subject was shared 110.000 times in Sweden, a country with a population of 9.5 million people.