Columnist David Bullard has made a reputation courting controversy on social networks and in the media. But even by his standards his activity on Twitter yesterday marks a new low. Criticism poured from all around the country, including via many well respected journalists, after he accused rape survivor and journalist, Michelle Solomon, of lying about her experience and looking for attention.
Here’s how things started:
By this time, tweets from disgusted men and women started pouring in and it even became a brief topic of discussion on a Power FM talk show, hosted by Eusebius McKaizer, who is a rape survivor himself.
This was apparently the last straw for Mish Solomon, who wrote a column for the Mail & Guardian yesterday titled ‘I’ve had enough. And so should you’.
“I still didn’t take the matter further after Bullard began regularly harassing me about my rape and calling me Twitter’s “terminally unhinged” and “a few chocolates short of a box”. That is, until today.” writes Solomon. Bullard’s tweets represent nothing less than the hate and violence meted on rape survivors when they are not only not believed, but punished for daring to speak. I’ve had enough, and any decent South African has had enough.
Solomon has called on “all South Africans that want a South Africa free of sexual violence and supportive of rape survivors” to report Bullard’s offensive Tweets, along with Tweets from anyone else who undermines rape survivors and their plight.
As for Bullard himself, he remains unapologetic and stands by his comments.
Bullard may be enjoying the oxygen of publicity over this one, but – to paraphrase Oscar Wilde – here’s hoping that there really is something worse than being talked about: will the backlash against Bullard’s online vitriol may yet prove to be a career limiting move, as it was for FHM journalist Max Barashenkov last year?