Corn Fed Venison – It Looked Good On Paper!
I had this idea that I was going to rope a deer, put it in a stall, feed it up on corn for a couple of weeks, then kill it and eat it. I now realize that this definitely wasn’t the brightest idea I have ever had.
The first step in this adventure was getting a deer. I figured that, since they congregate at my cattle feeder and do not seem to have much fear of me when we are there (a bold one will sometimes come right up and sniff at the bags of feed while I am in the back of the truck not 4 feet away), it should not be difficult to rope one, get up to it and toss a bag over its head (to calm it down) then hog tie it and transport it home.
I filled the cattle feeder then hid down at the end with my rope.
The cattle, having seen the roping thing before, stayed well back. They were not having any of it.
After about 20 minutes, my deer showed up — 3 of them. I picked out.. ..a likely looking one, stepped out from the end of the feeder, and threw.. ..my rope. The deer just stood there and stared at me.
I wrapped the rope around my waist and twisted the end so I would have a good hold. The deer still just stood and stared at me, but you could tell it was mildly concerned about the whole rope situation.
I took a step towards it…took a step away. I put a little tension on the rope and then received an education.
The first thing that I learned is that, while a deer may just stand there looking at you funny while you rope it, they are spurred to action when you start pulling on that rope.
That deer EXPLODED.
The second thing I learned is that pound for pound, a deer is a LOT stronger than a cow or a colt. A cow or a colt in that weight range I could fight down with a rope and with some dignity. A deer– no chance.
That thing ran and bucked and twisted and pulled. There was no controlling it and certainly no getting close to it. As it jerked me off my feet and started dragging me across the ground, it occurred to me that having a deer on a rope was not nearly as good an idea as I had originally imagined.
The only upside is that they do not have as much stamina as many other animals.
A brief 10 minutes later, it was tired and not nearly as quick to jerk me off my feet and drag me when I managed to get up. It took me a few minutes to realize this, since I was mostly blinded by the blood flowing out of the big gash in my head. At that point, I had lost my taste for corn-fed venison. I just wanted to get that devil creature off the end of that rope.
I figured if I just let it go with the rope hanging around its neck, it would likely die slow and painfully somewhere.
At the time, there was no love at all between me and that deer. At that moment, I hated the thing, and I would venture a guess that the feeling was mutual.
Despite the gash in my head and the several large knots where I had cleverly arrested the deer’s momentum by bracing my head against various large rocks as it dragged me across the ground, I could still think clearly enough to recognize that there was a small chance that I shared some tiny amount of responsibility for the situation we were in, so I didn’t want the deer to have it suffer a slow death, so I managed to get it lined back up in between my truck and the feeder – a little trap I had set beforehand…kind of like a squeeze chute.
I got it to back in there and I started moving up so I could get my rope back.
Did you know that deer bite?
They do! I never in a million years would have thought that a deer would bite somebody, so I was very surprised when I reached up there to grab that rope and the deer grabbed hold of my wrist.
Now, when a deer bites you, it is not like being bit by a horse where they just bite you and then let go. A deer bites you and shakes its head –almost like a pit bull. They bite HARD and it hurts.
The proper thing to do when a deer bites you is probably to freeze and draw back slowly. I tried screaming and shaking instead. My method was ineffective.
It seems like the deer was biting and shaking for several minutes, but it was likely only several seconds.
I, being smarter than a deer (though you may be questioning that claim by now) tricked it.
While I kept it busy tearing the bejesus out of my right arm, I reached up with my left hand and pulled that rope loose. That was when I got my final lesson in deer behavior for the day.
Deer will strike at you with their front feet. They rear right up on their back feet and strike right about head and shoulder level, and their hooves are surprisingly sharp.
I learned a long time ago that, when an animal — like a horse — strikes at you with their hooves and you can’t get away easily, the best thing to do is try to make a loud noise and make an aggressive move towards the animal. This will usually cause them to back down a bit so you can escape.
This was not a horse. This was a deer, so obviously, such trickery would not work. In the course of a millisecond, I devised a different strategy.
I screamed like a little girl and tried to turn and run.
The reason I had always been told NOT to try to turn and run from a horse that paws at you is that there is a good chance that it will hit you in the back of the head.
Deer may not be so different from horses after all, besides being twice as strong and 3 times as evil, because the second I turned to run, it hit me right in the back of the head and knocked me down.
Now, when a deer paws at you and knocks you down, it does not immediately leave. I suspect it does not recognize that the danger has passed. What they do instead is paw your back and jump up and down on you while you are laying there crying like a little girl and covering your head.
I finally managed to crawl under the truck and the deer went away.
I was pretty beat up. My scalp was split open, I had several large goose eggs, my wrist was bleeding pretty good and felt broken (it turned out to be just badly bruised) and my back was bleeding in a few places, though my insulated canvas jacket had protected me from most of the worst of it. I drove to the nearest place, which was the Co-Op. I got out of the truck, covered in blood and dust and looking like hell. The guy who ran the place saw me through the window and came running out yelling, “What happened?”
I have never seen any law in the state of Kansas that would prohibit an individual from roping a deer. I suspect that this is an area that they have overlooked entirely. Knowing, as I do, the lengths to which law enforcement personnel will go to exercise their power, I was concerned that they may find a way to twist the existing laws to paint my actions as criminal. I swear… not wanting to admit that I had done something monumentally stupid played no part in my response. I told him “I was attacked by a deer”. I did not mention that at the time I had a rope on it. The evidence was all over my body. Deer prints on the back of my jacket where it had stomped all over me and a large deer print on my face where it had struck me there. I asked him to call somebody to come get me. I didn’t think I could make it home on my own. He did. Later that afternoon, a game warden showed up at my house and wanted to know about the deer attack. Surprisingly, deer attacks are a rare thing and wildlife and parks was interested in the event. I tried to describe the attack as completely and accurately as I could. I was filling the grain hopper and this deer came out of nowhere and just started kicking the hell out of me and BIT me. It was obviously rabid or insane or something.
EVERYBODY for miles around knows about the deer attack (the guy at the Co-Op has a big mouth). For several weeks people dragged their kids in the house when they saw deer around and the local ranchers carried rifles when they filled their feeders. I have told several people the story, but NEVER anybody around here. I have to see these people every day and as an outsider — a “city folk”. I have enough trouble fitting in without them snickering behind my back and whispering, “There is the dumbass that tried to rope the deer!”
So now I know why when people go deer hunting they bring a rifle with a scope or a shotgun. It sort of evens the odds.”
Duck Hunting in Winter
A fellow from Michigan buys himself a brand-new $39,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee for Christmas. He goes down to his favorite bar and celebrates by tossing down a few too many brews with his buddies. In one of those male-bonding rituals, five of them decide to take his new vehicle for a test drive on a duck hunting expedition. They load up the Jeep with the dog, the guns, the decoys, and the beer, and head out to a nearby lake.
Now, it’s the dead of winter, and of course the lake is frozen, so they need to make a hole in the ice to create a natural landing area for the ducks and decoys. It is common practice in Michigan to drive your vehicle out onto the frozen lake, and it is also common (if slightly illegal) to make a hole in the ice using dynamite. Our fellows have nothing to worry about on that score, because one member of the party works for a construction team, and happens to have brought some dynamite along. The stick has a short 20-second fuse.
The group is ready for some action. They’re all set up. Their shotguns are loaded with duck pellets, and they have beer, warm clothes and a hunting dog. Still chugging down a seemingly bottomless supply of six-packs, the group considers how to safely dynamite a hole through the ice. One of these rocket scientists points out that the dynamite should explode at a location far from where they are standing. Another notes the risk of slipping on the ice when running away from a burning fuse. So they eventually settle on a plan to light the fuse and throw the dynamite out onto the ice.
There is a bit of contention over who has the best throwing arm, and eventually the owner of the Jeep wins that honor. Once that question is settled, he walks about 20 feet further out onto the ice and holds the stick of dynamite at the ready while one of his companions lights the fuse with a Zippo. As soon as he hears the fuse sizzle, he hurls it across the ice at a great velocity and runs in the other direction.
Unfortunately, a member of another species spots his master’s arm motions and comes to an instinctive decision. Remember a couple of paragraphs back when I mentioned the vehicle, the beer, the guns and the dog? Yes, the dog: a trained Black Labrador, born and bred for retrieving, especially things thrown by his owner. As soon as the stick leaves his hand, the dog sprints across the ice, hell-bent on wrapping his jaws around the enticing stick-shaped object.
Five frantic fellows immediately begin hollering at the dog, trying to get him to stop chasing the dynamite. Their cries fall on deaf ears. Before you know it, the retriever is headed back to his owner, proudly carrying the stick of dynamite with the burning 20-second fuse. The group continues to yell and wave their arms while the happy dog trots towards them. In a desperate act, its master grabs his shotgun and fires at his own dog.
The gun is loaded with duck shot, and confuses the dog more than it hurts him. Bewildered, he continues towards his master, who shoots at man’s best friend again. Finally comprehending that his owner has become insane, the dog runs for cover with his tail between his legs. And the nearest cover is right under the brand-new Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Boom! The dog and the Jeep are blown to bits, and sink to the bottom of the lake, leaving a large ice hole in their wake. The stranded men stand staring at the water with stupid looks on their faces, and the owner of the Jeep is left to explain the misadventure to his insurance company. Needless to say, they determined that sinking a vehicle in a lake by illegal use of explosives is not covered under their policy, and the owner is still making $400 monthly payments on his brand-new Jeep at the bottom of the lake.
IF THERE IS one message Facebook has been trying to send to the world in 2018, it’s that the company understands it needs to rethink the way it operates. Facebook says it understands that it must better police the content that appears on its platforms. And as a result of the Cambridge Analytica scandal early this year, Facebook says it must be more effective in how it protects user data, more transparent about all the data it collects, and more clear about who has access to the data. CEO and cofounder Mark Zuckerberg said fixing Facebook was his project for 2018, and he said earlier this year that he was dedicating enough resources to the problem that we should expect to see tangible progress as we approached 2019.
Facts have proven to be inconvenient things for Facebook in 2018. Every month this year—and in some months, every week—new information has come out that makes it seem as if Facebook’s big rethink is in big trouble. The billions the company is spending to fix itself, along with slowing advertising growth in Europe and North America, have stalled revenues. Its once high-flying stock price is down 35 percent. Well-known and well-regarded executives, like the founders of Facebook-owned Instagram, Oculus, and WhatsApp, have left abruptly. And more current and former employees are beginning to question whether Facebook’s management team, which has been together for most of the last decade, is up to the task.
Technically, Zuckerberg controls enough voting power to resist and reject any moves to remove him as CEO. But the number of times that he and his number two, Sheryl Sandberg, have overpromised and underdelivered since the 2016 election would doom any other management team. And so for the first time in Facebook’s storied history as a public company, employees, investors, and users are beginning to wonder if the only way to solve Facebook’s current spate of problems is to replace the two of them.
Just since the end of September, Facebook announced the biggest security breach in its history, affecting more than 30 million accounts. Meanwhile, investigations in November revealed that, among other things, the company had hired a Washington firm to spread its own brand of misinformation on other platforms, including borderline anti-Semitic stories about financier George Soros. Just two weeks ago, a cache of internal emails dating back to 2012 revealed that at times Facebook thought a lot more about how to make money off users’ data than about how to protect it.
Now, according to a New York Times investigation into Facebook’s data practices published Tuesday, long after Facebook said it had taken steps to protect user data from the kinds of leakages that made Cambridge Analytica possible, the company continued to sustain special, undisclosed data-sharing arrangements with more than 150 companies—some into this year. Unlike with Cambridge Analytica, the Times says, Facebook provided access to its users’ data knowingly and on a greater scale.
Some companies, like Microsoft and its Bing search engine, had access to all of a Facebook user’s friends without consent. Apple devices had access to the contact numbers and calendar entries of people who had changed their account settings to disable all sharing. Spotify and Netflix had the ability to read users’ private messages. The search engine Yandex was one of the companies with special access, even though it has long been suspected of having special ties to the Kremlin. The Times had access to users’ friend lists for an article-sharing application it had discontinued in 2011—access that lasted into 2017. (The company told its reporters that it was not obtaining any data.) Apple, Netflix, Spotify, and Yandex told the Times they were unaware that Facebook granted them such broad access.
There have been murmurings all year over whether Congress might pass new data protection laws, akin to the GDPR in Europe, or whether the FTC would fine Facebook for violating its 2011 consent decree with the agency. Now it would not be a stretch to wonder if both those things aren’t imminent when the new Congress convenes in January. Already—earlier Wednesday—the attorney general for the District of Columbia decided to sue Facebook for alleged data misuse stemming from Cambridge Analytica. It’s likely to have company in that effort.
Facebook told the Times that no data was mismanaged or misused, that the data was all available publicly, that it considered its partners to effectively be part of Facebook and therefore subject to the same strict rules of conduct, and that as a result it was not in violation of any statutes or its consent decree with the FTC.
Facebook posted further comment in a blog post, authored by Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Facebook’s director of developer platforms and programs: “Today, we’re facing questions about whether Facebook gave large tech companies access to people’s information and, if so, why we did this. To put it simply, this work was about helping people do two things. First, people could access their Facebook accounts or specific Facebook features on devices and platforms built by other companies like Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, and Yahoo. These are known as integration partners. Second, people could have more social experiences—like seeing recommendations from their Facebook friends—on other popular apps and websites, like Netflix, The New York Times, Pandora, and Spotify,” Papamiltiadis wrote.
“We’ve been public about these features and partnerships over the years because we wanted people to actually use them—and many people did. They were discussed, reviewed, and scrutinized by a wide variety of journalists and privacy advocates. But most of these features are now gone. We shut down instant personalization, which powered Bing’s features, in 2014 and we wound down our partnerships with device and platform companies months ago, following an announcement in April.
“Still, we recognize that we’ve needed tighter management over how partners and developers can access information using our APIs. We’re already in the process of reviewing all our APIs and the partners who can access them.”
Zuckerberg and his executives are such masters of this kind of sincere apology, it should have a special name like “apolozuck” (or perhaps just “zucked”). It’s truly rhetoric as art. “We’re sorry. We’re as upset as you are. But that thing you are angry at us about happened a few years ago, and we’ve fixed the problems. They happened because we were trying to make Facebook better for you. But we now see how it left your data vulnerable to bad things too. We care more about your data and your privacy than anyone. It won’t happen again. We promise.”
What has enabled them to deliver these apologies, year after year, was that these sycophantic monologues were always true enough to be believable. The Times’ story calls into question every one of those apologies—especially the ones issued this year.
All year long, Facebook has encouraged the world to believe that a Cambridge Analytica–style data leakage couldn’t happen anymore—that, as Zuckerberg told lawmakers in April, users had “complete control” over what happened to their data. Two weeks ago, after those scheming emails Zuckerberg exchanged with executives about data-sharing arrangements were released by the UK Parliament, Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post that they were taken out of context.
Except it appears now that Facebook has had all manner of data-sharing relationships it hasn’t been telling the world about. “We’ve never sold anyone’s data,” Zuckerberg wrote in his post, and has insisted at various other times this year. But Zuckerberg saying that Facebook has never sold user data is an answer only an engineer could love. It is technically correct, but practically false. Sure, Facebook has never given other companies user data in exchange for cash. But it’s quite obvious to the world now that Facebook for a long time has been giving user data to other companies, in exchange for other equally or more valuable things.
There’s a simple takeaway from all this, and it’s not a pretty one: Facebook is either a mendacious, arrogant corporation in the mold of a 1980s-style Wall Street firm, or it is a company in much more disarray than it has been letting on. Think about almost everything bad that’s happened to Facebook since the 2016 election: Russian interference, Cambridge Analytica, data sharing, astroturfing. Facebook could have kept all of them from becoming scandals—or at least becoming as big of a scandal—had it just leveled with the world when it had the chance. The fact that it hasn’t suggests that it didn’t want to, or it is just not well managed enough to pull it off.
It’s hard to process this without finally realizing what it is that’s made us so angry with Silicon Valley, and Facebook in particular, in 2018: We feel lied to, like these companies are playing us, their users, for chumps, and they’re also laughing at us for being so naive.
We’d expect such deceptions from banks, oil companies, car makers, or tobacco firms. But companies like Facebook built their brands by promising something different. They told us, “It’s not about the money and the power of being a billionaire and running one of the richest companies on the planet—it’s about making the world a better place, making it more open and connected.” And we fell for it hook, line, and sinker.
Americans are weird about their tycoons. We have a soft spot for success, especially success from people as young as Zuckerberg was when he started Facebook. But we hate it when they become as super-rich and powerful as he is now and seem accountable to no one. We’ll tolerate rogues like Larry Ellison, founder and CEO of Oracle, who once happily admitted to hiring investigators to search Bill Gates’ trash. Ellison makes no effort to hide the fact that he’s in it for the money and the power. But what people despise more than anything is what we have now with tech companies in Silicon Valley, especially with Facebook: greed falsely wrapped in sanctimony.
Facebook gave the world a great new tool for staying connected. Zuckerberg even pitched it as a better internet—a safe space away from the anonymous trolls lurking everywhere else online. But it’s now rather debatable whether Facebook is really a better internet that is making the world a better place, or just another big powerful corporation out to make as much money as possible. Perhaps the world would be happier with Zuckerberg and Facebook, and the rest of their Silicon Valley brethren, if they stopped pretending to be people and businesses they are not.
But the Badasses don’t fuck with me!
Rapid City, South Dakota police dog.
Doing McDonalds like a boss.
FEAR THE REAPER The Carolina Reaper
I need to read this one.
Presenting the Emirates ‘Bling’ 777Wait for it…
Sunset over the Everglades
My lizard caught a cat.
Trying to OD on Marijuana.
Big Ol’ Johnson Encore
Some Reading Music
Bobby was sitting on the plane at Cleveland waiting to fly to Chicago, when a guy took the seat beside him. The guy was an emotional wreck…pale, hands shaking in fear. “What’s the matter, afraid of flying?” Bobby asked.
“No, it’s not that. I’ve been transferred to Chicago. The people are crazy there, right? Lots of shootings, gangs, race riots, drugs, poor schools, and the highest crime rate in the USA.”
Bobby replied, “I’ve lived in Chicago all my life. It’s not as bad as the media says. Find a nice home, go to work, mind your own business, and enroll your kids in a nice private school. I’ve worked there for 14 years and never had the slightest trouble.”
The guy relaxed and stopped shaking and said, “Oh, thank you. I’ve been worried to death, but if you’ve lived and worked there all those years and say it’s OK, I’ll take your word for it. What do you do for a living?”
“I’m a tail gunner on a Budweiser truck…”
It Snowed Last Night
This is a reap host because nobody recognized the gunny. Can you do it without using google?
New G.I. Benefit
Three old servicemen were waiting in the veteran’s affairs office to apply for a lump-sum bonus to which they had been entitled.
The V.A. officer came in and addressed them all.
“Gentlemen, the V.A. has decided that all bonuses will be given commensurate with physical measurements taken from the applicant.To be fair however, the applicant gets to decide the measurement used.”
The first man, a sailor stand up and says. “I want my measurment to be from the top of my head to the tip of my toes.”
The V.A. officer takes a tape measure and measures this distance, and announces, “Five foot eleven..your bonus will be five thousand, one hundred and ten dollars.”
The second man, a pilot in the USAF stand up and says, ” I want to be measured from the tips of my outstretched arms.”
The V.A. officer measures this and announces, “Six feet, two inches..your bonus will be six thousand, two hundred dollars.”
The third man, and old Marine Gunny stands up and says “You can measure me from the tip of my cock to my balls.”
The V.A. man is confused and says “Are you sure that’s the measurment you want to use?”
“Damn straight” says the grizzled old Marine, and drops his drawers.
The V.A. officer kneels before him and places the end of the tape measure on the tip of the soldier’s penis and extends it downward until he reached where the man’s testicles would have been.”
“Where are your balls?” the V.A. man asks.
“Vietnam” says the Marine.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched on December 3 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, north of Santa Barbara, California, its payload includes 64 small satellites from 34 organizations and 17 countries, each having paid launch broker Spaceflight Industries a hefty fee to be blasted 350 miles up and released into low earth orbit.
Most of these satellites are destined to carry out some utilitarian purpose, be it communications, observation, or science. But there is one small satellite among them that aims to do nothing more than entice people around the world to enact a primal, atavistic urge: to look up at the night sky and wonder what’s out there.
It’s April, and that satellite’s creator, the artist Trevor Paglen, is sitting in the lobby of a Hampton Inn in West Covina, California, 20 miles east of downtown LA, explaining the rationale behind the project he’s calling the Orbital Reflector.
“The point for me really was to create a kind of catalyst for looking at the sky and thinking about everything from planets to satellites to space junk to public space and asking, ‘What does it mean to be on this planet?’” says Paglen, who has come to California to witness some crucial prelaunch tests on his creation. “It’s a timeless question in some ways, but the content of the question is always changing.”
Paglen has described the project, which was undertaken in partnership with the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, as “the first satellite to exist solely as an artistic gesture.” As gestures go, it’s not cheap—its budget of $1.5 million was funded by the museum, private donors, and a Kickstarter campaign—but it’s certainly true to its name.
Once in orbit, it will deploy a 100-foot-long, 5-foot-wide balloon made of high-density polyethylene coated with titanium dioxide powder that will reflect light back to earth, making it as visible to the naked eye as a star in the Big Dipper, a work of public art streaking across the night, visible to anyone who looks up into a clear sky at the right time, and trackable via the project’s website and a partnership with the Starwalk 2 app.
“The goal has been to build this out like it’s the exact opposite of every other satellite,” says Paglen, who has a long history of art projects that chart the dark world of government surveillance. Where other satellites might spy or photograph or measure, his will be defiantly, whimsically useless. It will remain in the sky for at least two months and then will burn up in the atmosphere on re-entry. “It’s a way to do an artwork that exists at and thinks about the scale of the planet.”
Oat Willies Fazor
OVER THE PAST year, two popular forums for men who identify as involuntary celibates, or incels, have been banned by Reddit and a domain registrar in response to members’ history of toxic misogyny and celebrating violence against women. Now some of these men are trying to turn the tables. Members of the incel community—including the official Twitter account for incels.is, a central hub for adherents—have joined with other men’s rights activists, using the content policies of online payment companies such as PayPal as weapons to block female pornographic actors and sex workers from making or spending money online.
The campaign is called the “ThotAudit,” in reference to the derogatory term “thot,” which stands for “that ho over there.” It began over the Thanksgiving holiday as a grassroots effort to intimidate sex workers and women who sell access to private pornographic social media accounts by reporting them to the Internal Revenue Service for tax evasion—without evidence of wrongdoing. But it quickly morphed into a battle over who has the right to make money on the internet.
The harassers are taking advantage of user reporting tools made available by companies like PayPal, Venmo, and CirclePay, in an attempt to force their targets offline and freeze their finances. The tactic has far-reaching implications beyond adult entertainment. Foreign governments and other groups have abused the policies to silence opponents on platforms like Twitter and Facebookfor years. Attacking through the payment processors is a new wrinkle on that approach.
When Lily Adams, an actor and model who sells access to her pornographic photos and videos, first noticed the ThotAudit movement gaining traction Saturday evening, she took to Twitter, calling it a witch hunt. Within one minute, a ThotAuditor flagged her account and tweeted that she had been added “to the review list for Monday morning.” By Monday, Adams’ PayPal account had been terminated. In an email to WIRED, Adams said that she had approximately $526 in her PayPal account at the time, and that the company told her it would hold the funds “indefinitely.”
“The feeling of being attacked from all corners is definitely frustrating,” said Adams. By the end of the day, she had been banned from every cash app, and she wasn’t alone. Another pornographic actor and model, who goes by the name Haven Graye online, was banned by Venmo the day after the ThotAudit campaign began. ”118 men called me a prostijew, kike and sen[t] me pictures of people burning,” she told WIRED via direct message. On Twitter, dozens of other sex workers experienced similar harassment and expressed outrage over being banned from multiple online payment service providers, including PayPal, Cash App, and Circle Pay. Many of the women claimed to have lost access to hundreds of dollars, as most payment companies absorb whatever funds were stored in the reported account.
Participants in the harassment campaign openly discussed tactics and specific attacks in r/ThotAudit, a public subreddit. On Sunday, one user detailed a popular alternative to reporting sex workers to the IRS, which the user said was too slow and dangerous: “Find the thots paypal email, send them money, and then report them for selling goods against paypals services … It’s against Paypal’s rules to solicit digital sexual content. All of their funds will be locked pretty quickly.” Users also posted comprehensive “thot auditing field guides,” including a continually updated list of tens of thousands of potential targets, and detailed instructions for getting sex workers banned from PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, Amazon Pay, Stripe, Circle Pay, Snapchat, and Kik.
PayPal did not respond to multiple requests for comment, but its website states that it prohibits PayPal users from buying or selling “sexually oriented digital goods or content delivered through a digital medium.” Venmo, which is owned by PayPal, also forbids users from using the service for “certain sexually oriented materials or services.” Square prohibits using its payment services for “adult entertainment oriented products or services” in any medium, as do Amazon Pay, Stripe, and Circle Pay. None of the companies responded to requests for comment.
Organizers of the campaign against sex workers are trying to capitalize on the increased vigilance of social media companies and payment providers in policing their platforms. Historically, those networks censored individual posts or banned individual accounts sparingly, not wanting to be seen as regulating speech. More recently, though, partly in response to concerns that they are inciting violence or encouraging hate speech, networks such as Facebook and Twitter are acting more aggressively.
The new approach extends beyond Facebook and Twitter to the network of largely unseen companies that make the commercial web function—web-hosting companies, domain registrars, security providers, and payment processors. After a gunman allegedly killed 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue, a social media platform he frequented was driven offline for nearly a week when its payment service providers, web host, and domain registrar dropped contracts with the company. A similar fate befell the primary forum for incels in the wake of the related Toronto terror attack carried out by a self-professed incel, and neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer after Charlottesville. However, most cases are not as clear cut.
Consider the controversies around the ASMR community. ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response, is a tingling feeling beginning in the neck or back experienced by some people when they listen to soft or strange sounds—like a woman whispering into a mic, a dry paintbrush on a canvas, or crinkling paper. A booming, highly profitable community has emerged on YouTube creating content that caters to those with ASMR, where (usually female) YouTubers try to trigger the response in viewers. The YouTubers often are dressed in strange costumes or act out scenes that could be viewed as pornographic or sexual in nature. That’s prompted PayPal, which prohibits the sale of digital “sexually oriented” content like pornography, to ban a number of popular ASMR creators, effectively cutting them off from a significant revenue stream.
In the attacks by incels and their allies, activists on Twitter, Reddit, and 4chan have created automated programs to streamline the process of identifying, reporting, and harassing their targets. One program, called the ThotBot, includes the profiles of more than 20,000 alleged sex workers from several social media platforms that include a link to a PayPal account. “Search for bios with paypal in it, if they get banned paypal takes ownership of all the money on the account and it inevitably will be taxed as well,” the creator of the tool wrote in a tweet. In a later message, he claimed that one user of his program reported more than 100 profiles to PayPal.
A later version of the ThotBot claimed to draw from over 100,000 profiles, and was disabled by GitHub a few days after it was created. A spokesperson from GitHub confirmed that the repository and dataset were removed for violating the company’s harassment policies. In a direct message to WIRED, the creator of this ThotBot said the program aims for the “total excommunication or extermination of whores in society,” adding that he wants them to face the death penalty.
r/ThotAudit, which described itself as a community for “Right Wing Tax Squads,” had nearly 2,000 subscribers before it was banned Tuesday evening. In a statement to WIRED, a Reddit spokesperson said the subreddit had been banned for violating Reddit’s policies prohibiting content that “threatens, harasses, or bullies, or encourages others to do so.” In a sign of how extreme the group’s tactics are, 4chan, the anything-goes forum infamous for being a hotbed of depravity and toxicity, also banned numerous threads created by self-proclaimed members of the Right Wing Tax Squad.
Many of the harassment campaign’s biggest supporters have long complained of being censored by social media platforms and internet infrastructure companies. On Twitter, incels.is, a large online forum for incels, has championed efforts to have sex workers banned from several platforms, while denouncing companies like Reddit and the .ME Registry for doing the same to its accounts. The MGTOW community—a more extreme offshoot of the incel movement whose adherents consider women subhuman—has been in turmoil for two weeks after YouTube banned ads on many MGTOW-related videos and channels, cutting off those users’ revenue streams. Yet many members of the movement helped instigate the ThotAudit.
Rose, a financial dominatrix who was targeted by the ThotAudit harassment campaign, says digital payment companies like PayPal have long had rules in place prohibiting sex-work-related transactions and frequently suspend the accounts of sex workers whenever it is made aware of their existence. Financial domination is a fetish where the submissive sends gifts—in this case, cash via online payment—to the dominant partner. In a message to WIRED, Rose said many men threatened to report her to PayPal on Tuesday, but she had already been banned by PayPal for using it for sex-work-related transactions. To evade the ban, Rose accepts payments through Circle App, Cash App, Google Pay, and Amazon gift cards.
Organizers of the campaign against sex workers continue to refine their tactics. As of Wednesday evening, much of the discussion among harassers on platforms like Twitter centered around streamlining reports to payment services providers like Cash App, PayPal, and Venmo. In one thread on the subject, an active member of the ThotAudit campaign detailed tactics he said would expedite the reporting process, including spamming webforms with multiple reports, including links to illustrate the breach of the company’s terms of service, and threatening to report the breach to the media if the company did not immediately ban the sex worker.
“This complaint has been logged and will be sent in a package to the media along with others in an ongoing story about how payment processors are ‘selective’ about which terms they act upon,” read the message. “I trust PayPal will do the right thing…”
A little song while you look at The Big Johnsons.