@LiamStacey9

On Saturday, the news of Fabrice Muamba’s cardiac arrest during the Tottenham–Bolton FA Cup tie flooded through Twitter. The news itself was deeply shocking. And the vast majority of people’s tweets on the subject were respectful.

But there were a couple of tweets from one Twitter account in particular that were deeply offensive. The account, @LiamStacey9, has since been closed, likely by the user himself.

The tweets themselves are not fit for publishing here. They were disrespectful, deeply offensive, racist and suggested that Muamba had died. (The good news today is that Muamba has been speaking, and his condition has improved from critical to serious.)

Stan Collymore forwarded the tweets on to South Wales police.

In news that I expect is related, Liam Stacey, a 21-year-old student from Pontypridd, appeared at Swansea magistrates’ court yesterday and admitted a racially-aggravated public order offence. He will be sentenced on 27 March and has been told that he could be jailed over the comments.

Stacey will have a criminal record for the rest of his life. He may spend some time in prison. And he’ll likely lose his place at university. In one short moment, his life was changed forever.

I am not sad about this. His comments were offensive and my view is that legal action is appropriate. Online hate is rife, and when this is combined with racial abuse, it is simply unacceptable. In fact, even without racism, my view is that more should be done to close down on mindless hatred.

Since the developments, online trolls have started popping up, publishing Stacey’s address on the internet and basically inviting people to take the law into their own hands. This sort of behaviour is, in my view, no better than Stacey’s behaviour at the outset.

I watched with interest this evening (on iPlayer) Richard Bacon’s exposé of online trolls. The key takeaway for me was that it seems that these people are not aware of the damage they cause. And where they troll celebrities, they believe that the celebrities are deserving of the abuse, almost simply for being in the public eye.

Online hate is a big problem. Children, adults, celebrities and people outside of the public eye are all victims. The trouble is: those that dole out the abuse don’t seem to be the sorts of people who care.

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One Response to “@LiamStacey9”

  1. What I’ve been reading | DavePress on March 21st, 2012 12:00

    […] @LiamStacey9 : Tangential Ramblings – "Online hate is a big problem. Children, adults, celebrities and people outside of the public eye are all victims. The trouble is: those that dole out the abuse don’t seem to be the sorts of people who care." […]

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