Michael Nolan was just your typical bogan. He was obsessed with the Roosters in the NRL, taking annual trips to Bali, drinking beer with his mates, and going to the gym. One day in November 2015, he made a grave mistake. One simple word, but it changed his life forever.
Slut. One word. That’s it. No context.
But Australian provocateur and radical feminist Clementine Ford would have none of that. She was on a crusade. Despite other comments more harshly critiquing Ford for her appearance and beliefs and alleged sexuality, she immediately clicked on Nolan’s Facebook page, which listed his employer as Meriton Apartments. Like any rational person on the internet, Ford publicly mentioned Meriton in a Facebook post, asking for this evil monster to be fired for saying such awful, hateful slurs against womankind.
Faced with immediate backlash from Ford’s weaponized fan base, Meriton Apartments fired Michael Nolan. Ford returned to her Facebook page, jubilantly announcing to her 180,000-strong baying-for-blood worshipers that she was thankful a man—seemingly for the first time in human history—had faced repercussions for bad behavior. The crowd cheered. Justice was served.
Until the next controversy.
Clementine Ford is a feminist who is no stranger to controversy. In fact, she thrives on it. Ever since she was a columnist for the Sunday Mail, a News Limited newspaper, in the late ’00s, Ford’s brand has been about being an outspoken feminist who laughs in the face of manbabies who can’t handle strong, “intimidating” women. But this is all a lie. In a previous article about online provocateurs, I said:
Much like [Milo] Yiannopoulos, Ford baits people into reacting to her, and uses it to fuel her income. The radical feminist will say something outrageous on Facebook or Twitter, which will inevitably have a few anti-feminist commenters. Ford will cherry-pick a few of these responses, and display them to her followers as “proof” of the misogyny, rape and death threats she faces constantly. This makes her look like an innocent victim, and not an online provocateur cashing in on those who are so willing to be outraged.
Since Ford’s fan base are almost entirely male allies and intersectional feminists, they do not bother to look any further into her claims. And why would they? On first glance, Clementine Ford appears to be an innocent victim of an evil patriarchy that sets out to destroy her. Her opinion pieces for Daily Life, the lifestyle section of The Age/Sydney Morning Herald, just reiterate the endless harassment she receives from whiny men, and what we as women face from them, the manbabies. Her memoir, Fight Like a Girl, is a beginner’s guide to intersectional feminism, and it does a much better job than other books in the biz. It’s full of us vs. them language. If you’re not one of us, you’re basically a whiny MRA manbaby who can’t handle women, or a—God forbid—anti-feminist woman who just hates herself and is a Stepford blonde who lacks even the vaguest outline of a personality.
In the past week, Clementine Ford has been back in the news. Big surprise. The story began simply. It started with a community radio station in Byron Bay, in the Australian state of New South Wales. The co-host of Bay FM’s show Banterstan, criticized a YouTube comedian Isaac Butterfield, and told her audience to heckle Butterfield at his upcoming Byron Bay stand-up routine. Butterfield responded on his YouTube channel by telling his fans to let Bay FM’s Facebook page know the co-host’s behavior was unacceptable. This news somehow reached Clementine Ford, who immediately took to her Facebook and Twitter accounts to show her support for Banterstan:
Cry baby MRA? Apparently Ms. Ford is stuck in a time loop and thinks she is still in 2015. No matter. Ford had already weaponized her audience into action. Despite not taking any effort into looking into Butterfield’s channel—because she already knows he’s a fascist, Nazi, Islamophobic, woman-hating MRA manbaby by virtue of him disagreeing with her—Ford and her cult latched onto any insult they could, turning Facebook and Twitter into a schoolyard.
If you think being polite to Ford’s almost-200,000 cult of devoted fans will help out your cause, you’d be wrong, because her weaponized fan base will just laugh at you:
Totally owned those manffended manbabies, manirite Ford and Co?! But, wait, there’s more:
It doesn’t matter that the sheer majority of Ford’s fan base hadn’t even watched Butterfield’s video. They didn’t need to. They just know he’s an arrogant entitled whiny manbaby because their idol told them so. And even if they did watch his video, they had to give up two seconds in because it was so awful.
If Butterfield didn’t have 600,000 YouTube subscribers, he would have ended up the same way as Michael Nolan and the rest of Ford’s long-forgotten Enemies of the Moment. Remember the autistic man on the train? The schoolkids suspended for “harassing” Ford? The other schoolkids who asked Ford questions that lead to her abandoning her talk at a Melbourne high school? Of course not. Because Ford’s weaponized fan base won.
It’s not like Isaac Butterfield or Michael Nolan or any other Patriarchal Villains of the Day are perfectly innocent themselves. That is not the problem. The problem lies in people with privilege like Clementine Ford claiming they are oppressed, who have the ability to destroy careers on a whim. Non-Australians looking in on this current internet drama would have no idea Ford is a woman of privilege. She lives in Brunswick, a well-off suburb of Melbourne known for its hipsters and mobsters (two groups with money). She says the word example as “ix-arm-ple”, which betrays her upper-middle-class background. Any working- or lower-middle-class Australian will say the word as “iggs-am-pl”. She has the ability to get people fired. She sics her lynch mob on anyone she deems evil enough. It doesn’t matter if they are bad people or not. Because they’re men. And all men are bad.
But don’t try and call her a misandrist, because her fans will tell you she’s joooookinnng. Of course she’s joking. You just can’t take a joke. Hmm. Sounds like those sexist men, eh? But her opponents aren’t joking…ever. The manbabies are always evil misogynist fucks sidling up with patriarchy and oppressing us women with misogynistic jokes.
There’s no point fighting against a weaponized fan base. The only way to fight back with your reputation and dignity intact is to have a weaponized fan base of your own. A few years ago, Clementine Ford attempted to attack “classical liberal” YouTuber Sargon of Akkad, calling him “Sarbutt of AssFace” in an opinion piece. What she didn’t expect was for him to have fans. She quietly retreated, pretending it had never happened. She’s done the same with Isaac Butterfield, mocking him for having less followers than her on Twitter. Great argument! She knows she has influence. She knows her game-plan: bait anti-feminists, screencap, laugh, repeat.
This is not just a Feminist on the Internet issue. Right and left-wing and centrists alike utilize weaponized fan bases to do their bidding. If you have any semblance of an audience, you will have fans. Male allies of any persuasion are particularly susceptible to supporting women online. Feminists and anti-feminists have opinions they are almost literally willing to fight to the death to defend. Echo chambers have only strengthened their resolve.
Gamergate, a controversy the collective internet would rather forget, was filled with weaponized fan bases: pro-Gamergaters (anti-feminists) and anti-Gamergaters (feminists). In 2014, an indie visual novelist by the name of Zoe Quinn and two co-creators released a text game called Depression Quest, and it was revealed video game journalists allegedly wrote biased reviews in favor of Depression Quest. These journalists allegedly didn’t reveal their working relationship with Quinn. In the other corner, you had Eron Gjoni, Quinn’s ex-boyfriend, who posted a manifesto on WordPress about how Quinn cheated on him with some of these journalists. This event—Burgers and Fries—coincided with another controversy, Gamers are Dead, and culminated in an almost all-out online war. Quinn’s weaponized fan base—the mainstream media, games journalists and feminists—set out to destroy Gjoni’s reputation and prove video gamers were evil. Gjoni’s weaponized fan base of right-wingers, video gamers and anti-feminists, attempted to fight back. Fan base against fan base. Who won? Well, of course it was those with the most followers, the biggest influence: The anti-Gamergaters. The feminists. Zoe Quinn’s weaponized fan base. Eron Gjoni is barely a footnote in Goobergrape history books.
A similar thing happened with the 2016 United States Election. The same forces who “fought” in the online culture war that was Gamergate, gathered again with their fan bases, attempting to destroy the lives of anyone who was not them. Democrats and left-wingers weaponized their fan base into saying The Other Side were Russian bots, racists, misogynists, Islamophobic, a basket of deplorables, and they even convinced themselves socialist Bernie Sanders was right-wing. The Republicans and right-wingers weaponized their dutiful soldiers into believing The Other Side would start World War with Russia and the Middle East, that billionaire Donald Trump was just a regular guy, and a wall would definitely be built between the United States and Mexico. Despite the former having more influence, the latter won, and Donald Trump was elected President. Even though they lost the Election, the Left’s weaponized fan base hasn’t stayed quiet; on the contrary, they’re louder than ever. Will they win? Only time will tell.
Weaponized fan bases are so common simply because echo chambers are so good at doing their job. We are more divided than ever. Nobody wants to hear what The Other Side is saying, because their minds are already made up, and why would they want to hear from the fucking enemy anyway? Those folks are evil, and we’re pure angels. Why would we want to give the Literal Devil a fair chance!?
This article will probably be ignored in the annals of history. Clementine Ford’s fan base will have already made up their mind before reading this article. They will think these things:
- This article is written by a manbaby who has too much time on his hands.
Nope. This is written by a woman
- Okay then, you’re one of the fifty-three percent of white women who voted for Trump, you internalized misogynist.
I’m Australian, so I can’t vote for Trump, but nice try. Also, Clementine “ix-arm-ple” Ford, who is incredibly privileged, should be the one you’re telling off.
- Russian bot!
Nope, I’m Australian. Bit of a distance from Russia.
- This article is written by a woman with no fucking self-respect. She doesn’t care about the True and Honest Equality, she only cares about hanging out with boys who will abandon her the moment she grows a spine
Nice way of saying women who aren’t feminists can’t have their own opinions. Nope, I’m not doing this for the boys, but nice try.
- You’re a man pretending to be a woman.
Again implying that women can’t hold different opinions.
- This article is written by an alt-right MRA troll!
Nope, alt-right MRAs are just as pathetic as Clementine Ford. Just look at Milo Yiannopoulos or Sargon of Akkad. And Isaac Butterfield is not alt-right or an MRA.
- Centrists are just as bad as the alt-right, because they support alt-righters.
Nope. Centrists are those with a mixture of Left- and Right-wing opinions. Nice generalizing.
- Lol! Can’t handle a woman with an opinion, can ya?
Same to you! Ford has the right to an opinion, but she’s simply a provocateur who cherry-picks responses just to show herself as a vic-tuhm.
- Don’t you have anything better to do with your time?
- You’re totally overreacting, broflake. So triggered!
Talk about downplaying PTSD. It’s not very nice to say someone having an opinion is “being triggered”. It’s also not very nice to tone-police.
- You’re totally sealioning. We’re allowed to be angry.
Sealioning is a made-up word used by the far-Left to “tone-police’ (another made-up word) perceived enemies. Sure, you’re allowed to be offended, but it doesn’t mean we have to take you seriously.
The gist of this is that no matter what you say, you will always be perceived as the enemy. Your reputation, dignity and career will be down the sink the moment a privileged soul like Clementine Ford with a massive weaponized fan base decides you are the Current Enemy. It doesn’t matter how much you apologize, how real your groveling apology is: YOU ARE THE ENEMY TO THESE PEOPLE.
White Wolf Publishing, the company behind Vampire: The Masquerade, a roleplaying game, has been accused of supporting the alt-right by the far-Left. In response, White Wolf apologized profusely, promising to do better. How did the far-Left react? They didn’t. White Wolf’s attempts at an apology never penetrated the walls of the echo chamber, so they still believe the company is horrible (“a bunch of Swedish edgelords” and “Nu-White Wolf” are some of the insults used by far-Left gaming subreddit Gamerghazi). Instead, these far-Left souls found something else to accuse White Wolf of, and it’s solidified their beliefs. The same thing happened after YouTuber Total Biscuit’s death. Total Biscuit attempted to make amends before his death, but was still perceived as worse than Hitler after his death. Promising to do better is not enough to the weaponized masses. They want more. And more. Because you’re never good enough.
The most terrifying thing is there’s no way to stop these people unless you yourself have a weaponized fan base to fight fire with fire. Because no matter what you do, they don’t care. You are evil. If you have the gall to disagree with their idol, then you are bad. You are everything wrong with the world. Hitler incarnate. There’s no such thing as shades of gray, because anything gray is not us and that’s not good enough. People like Michael Nolan and Isaac Butterfield are not perfect people. A quick gander at Nolan’s personal Facebook and he’s said some things that would be considered problematic. Isaac Butterfield has fallen for fake news stories like the Russian feminist who threw acid at men on trains. His fan base can be just as toxic as Ford’s, especially the Butterfield fans who created a change.org petition to have Banterstan taken off the air.
But what other solutions do we have?
Until then, toxic online culture will reign supreme, and who knows how many casualties will lie in its wake?