This week I was branded a “slimy Jew”, a “rabid Zionist” and “filthy racist scum”.
It all started on Saturday night when sinister tweets began appearing on my timeline, claiming I’d been “tripped up” and had been a “naughty boy”. Next came a barrage of links to a message board on Muslim website Ummah.com.
The top post was headed: “i am pledging allegiance to the caliphate”. It read: “salam my sisters and brothers we should get out of this evil country and pledge our allegiance to the Muslim sharia law and get out of evil west. who wants to join me so we can wage war and jihad against the corrupt west.”
A computer boffin identified the message had originated from the IP address address Richard.Ferrer@dailymail.co.uk.
Evidence: I worked at the Daily Mail six years ago. I ‘m now editor of the Jewish News. Verdict: I’m guilty of “attempting to entrap Muslims on an Islamic forum” for a Daily Mail propoganda (sic) piece”. The Twiterazzi don’t let facts get in the way of fury.
Next morning I awoke to a deluge of abuse. “I’ll put you in a f***** ash tray”, volunteered @1_itk. “You look like any Jew you ****”, ventured @MuxAFC. “Pathetic little creature”, noted @Murphy88. “An absolutely immense twat of a human being” remarked @Yung_Mu.
Mrs Ferrer (top defamation lawyer and fiercely protective of husband), spotted my stiff upper lip quiver over my bowl of Shreddies and pledged to sue the next person to defame me.
She’s quite a lady.
Later, at the hairdressers, she got a text from a Muslim friend seeking reassurance that her husband wasn’t an Islamaphobic stooge. She phoned in a rage, demanding we seek “six-figure settlements” and “recover legal costs in full”.
She also told me to unload the dishwasher.
Things stepped up to a whole new level when Daily Mail Twitter watchdog @DMReporter chipped in, telling its 45,500 followers: “MAGNIFICENT – Daily Mail caught trying to incite extremism on Islamic community forum”. It was retweeted 596 times.
@DMReporter, which claims to shine a light on bad journalism (it proudly ran a “Give up churnalism for one day” campaign) then asked @metpoliceuk: “Is a Daily Mail journalist posing as a Jihadist on Islamic forums inciting racial hatred?”
The Morning Star swiftly followed up and Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorist hotline confirmed it would investigate. I received a tweet from The Morning Star requesting a comment and a call from journalist Assed Baig of Turkey’s Anadolu news agency. Meanwhile, Media Guardian started to sniff out the story.
Things had become serious enough to dignify the nonsense with a tweeted clarification: “I left Daily Mail in 2008” and: “Hack into the Daily Mail’s IP address with a proxy? I can’t even change the font on my blog” (a claim that those fortunate enough to work with me can certainly back up).
That did the trick. For about five minutes.
The next round of tweeting was more creative. Some trolls decided to cut-and-paste my picture next to their slurs. I found myself simultaneously outraged while wondering if I could send them a more flattering headshot. Others spent time designing arrows and cool backgrounds using illustrator graphics.
My wife was still demanding retribution as I settled down to watch the Wimbledon men’s final. I spotted William and Kate at Centre Court. I could’ve sworn they were defaming me but couldn’t lip-read. Meanwhile, my mother was phoning every five minutes to check if I was still alive and wearing a jumper (she’s worried the weather is about to turn).
The next morning the Daily Mail confirmed the message had not originated from its offices and I was not on the newspaper’s IT database. In fact, after six years they didn’t have a clue who I was.
My guess is the author wanted to publicly defame two birds with one stone by libelling a Jewish journalist and the Daily Mail in one fell swoop. It was almost Mission Accomplished.
By Monday afternoon the trolling had died down, aside from a few eager latecomers. “Racist bigoted pro-apartheid knob” wrote @Senssay and “Absolute f***** bellend” declared @conor_cymex_.
They must have been away at finishing school in Switzerland over the weekend. Now the baying mob no longer want my blood.
They suddenly seem far more interested in the latest @TheDailyKitten post. They really are the cutest kittens ever.