There is blackmailing in Twitter. Although the attack has been so far limited to gay adult entertainers of color, everyone should be worried. (animations taken from Giphy.com)
What exactly is going on
The events are unfolding as we write this post, with new details coming up by the minute. Someone has found out that blackmailing in Twitter could be a very lucrative business.
The attack started against Rhyheim Shabazz, a porn star, and Hot_Cal, an account devoted to promoting gay adult performers of color. Both, Rhyheim and HotCal, were working very closely. Several of their posts were falsely reported as violation of copyright laws. Twitter, without any further verification, suspended Hot_Cal. Rhyheim’s account status is unclear, but seems to be also down.
Although we cannot be sure, we think that the attack was initially motivated out of personal and professional jealousy, looking only for harming Rhyheim and his partners. However, when the perpetrator discovered that Twitter would accept completely unfounded allegations as true, the plan got an upgrade. Because if there is one lesson we all are learning is that Twitter allows extortion to take place.
One of Max Konnors (as yesterday) posts was also reported. Soon after he received the email notification from Twitter, he found this message in his mailbox:
The season for blackmailing in Twitter seems to be open. We know the extortionist has been communicating with Rhyheim and Max. Today, we learned that Jay Alexander account has also been suspended. As we are not in contact, we do not know whether or not our villain contacted him. Of course, there may be more porn performers under attack.
How is this extortion possible?
We do not know. It really seems no sense that artists known for producing there own content would be in this situation. We could have imagined blackmailing in Twitter, but never in these circumstances.
Hopefully, it is just a glitch. Policing content is a growing challenge for social media companies and perhaps this is just one more instance where their systems and procedures need a significant improvement.
My guess is that there is a bot taking the reports and automatically deleting the questioned posts. After a few posts deleted, the bot automatically suspends the account. Probably, the developers did not foresee the intentional manipulation of copyright protection processes in order to commit a crime.
Social Media is a relatively new universe, posing a new dynamic still not fully understood. These bumps in our way should not be surprising. Everything depends on how Twitter reacts and solves this conflict.
Who is blackmailing in Twitter
That is the big question. We have very few clues. Based in the messages we have seen, the extortionist is not very educated or English is not his first language. I can relate to the latter. We also know that his motivation is not purely financial. Clearly, there is personal animosity.
Those are facts. Besides, we can also guess that he is probably another porn star of color targeting his competition. We can add, his much more successful competition, which would explain the jealousy dripping from all his communications.
A little bit of humor is welcomed even in the most tragic of the situations. And indeed, this is not one of those.
Clearly, if Rhyheim is right, the perpetrator will not find easily another job in the adult entertainment industry. Ask ChiChi LaRue:
What to do
Of course, we all want to help our favorite porn stars. Unfortunately, we may unwillingly hurt the cause against blackmailing in Twitter.
Please, stop asking for more information. The less the perpetrator knows about what we know and what we are doing, the better. In my opinion, Max has already shared too much.
Please, stop making suggestions in public or in private. You do not have enough information. It is that simple. You are not going to hurt the cause with your advise, but you are wasting your time.
Instead, focus on showing your support. RT all the posts supportive of the blackmailed artists. Reach out to Twitter, letting them know how outraged you are.
You do not have to be a porn consumer. Perhaps the targets now are porn artists, but if blackmailing in Twitter is possible, this will be just an experiment that soon will expand to other fields.
Initially, when I though Rhyheim was the sole target, I was promoting the hashtag #bringbackrhyheim. However, as the list of targeted performers keeps growing, perhaps we should switch to something like #stopblackmailinTwitter.
Bottom line, trust our heroes. These are intelligent, talented, educated, resourceful professionals. Allow them to do what they have to do, without getting in their way. Just show your support and loudly speak up against blackmailing in Twitter.
The Force is With Us
In this Porn Stars Wars, we are in the right side. Rhyheim, Max, and Jay are very respectful and respected artists. They build their careers out of talent and hard work. I cannot recall one single instance where they clang to negativity. Not once I have learned about them bitching or getting involved in any negative rants, unlike many others.
They rather built collaborative networks and always supported other less known players in the industry. Besides their followers, there is a plethora of colleagues and other industry players who will run to assist them in this fight.
Let’s support them, but let’s also trust them. We are still learning what is going on, the research they are conducting will be more successful if we step aside and make an effort to restrain our natural empathic tendencies and curiosity.
At last, they will find out who is actually behind this, and will share with us. After all, although we have a suspect, we do not have certainty. We could make guesses other than a jealous and mediocre competitor.
The artists under attack are all POC. The perpetrator could be a racist deranged individual. The stars under siege hold strong brands that can stand by themselves. The perpetrator could be someone associated with traditional porn productions.
We do not know. We must wait and hashtag #stopblackmailinTwitter.
Hasta la próxima pinga, amig@s!