So, we recently came across a post by a Facebook page called “Providence Fight Club”, and I personally found it rather unsettling.
First of all, who the fuck is “we”, exactly? This page has a whopping 219 likes and is called “Providence Fight Club.” Doesn’t exactly seem like a crack team of investigators or victim advocates. Then there’s the fact that there is exactly NO substantiating evidence to support the allegations against this guy. Don’t get me wrong, he sure looks like a fucking scumbag. And he could very well be a dangerous predator, I don’t know. All I know is that if you’re going to smear someone across the internet with serious allegations, you better have some receipts, somewhere. I looked. There’s no public arrest record, no allegations outside of what’s posted on this one page. That’s an issue in and of itself. And they took it a step further by encouraging people to bother this guy at his places of employment, which is just not O.K. This is why we have due process and a court system. Because violence and harassment are in fact, illegal. And make no mistake, despite what they make claim, that’s what this page is inciting.
“We are in no way advocating vigilante justice.” – The page that posted pictures of an person, full name, work places and phone number and encouraged followers to “pay him a visit or call him at work.” For what? To drop off an Edible Arrangement?
If that’s the case, Providence FIGHT Club, that’s not how people took it.
And let’s not forget, most importantly of all – there is absolutely no evidence to corroborate these claims available to the public at this time.
Which certainly doesn’t mean this kid is innocent, but it doesn’t indicate he’s guilty, either. We’ve already seen how these internet mobs can play out. If you’re going to publish something regarding another human being, you better do your due diligence and come with some proof. And under no circumstances should you ever be inciting violence, come on now. Yes, rape is a terrible crime. But assault and harassment are crimes, too. And honestly, from a look at the rest of the posts on this page, they aren’t particularly interesting in vetting information, or doing any research, or even so much as the public interest, really. It appear they’re just interesting in stirring up drama.
When questioned about the lack of proof, the page did what any rational individuals would do and….just kidding. They hit the bitch button and just starting blocking and banning people who didn’t agree.
That’s always a good sign.
And when you’re not actively doing any research and relying on hearsay to determine what you post, like Providence Fight Club, you are engaged in a constant and malicious crapshoot. Maybe this one really is a sexual predator, and the next one isn’t, and you’re none the wiser either way. Not to mention, that posting this shit and encouraging people to take matters into their own hands doesn’t just hurt the alleged offender – it hurts the alleged victims as well, by negatively impacting any potential ongoing or future investigation and/or criminal case. And yes, this was brought to the page’s attention – but they don’t give a fuck, because online mobs are exciting!
Trust me, I see these sort of things in our inbox frequently. And I always pass on them. Not because I don’t believe victims, or want to protect purported domestic/sexual abusers. But because first and foremost, we are not the police. We cannot protect victims, and blasting accusations all over the internet can put actual victims at actual risk, without being able to offer any of the protections that law enforcement and the courts can. And furthermore, we are not the police – meaning we can’t prove these allegations beyond a shadow of a doubt. We just don’t have the resources. When we do write stories, we vet them. We research things before we blast them all over the place. The internet is written in ink, not pencil. Once something is out there, it’s out there. You can’t undo it. I don’t know about the assholes behind Providence Fight Club, but I personally couldn’t live with myself if I wrote something that resulted in a victim being harmed or killed, or resulted in an innocent person being ruined. I just couldn’t. It’s unfortunate to know that douchenozzles like this are out there who are perfectly fine with it.