So this post is sure to get me kicked out of the cool kid’s club, but it’s really been bothering me and so I’m going to just toss it out there. I watched this case unravel, the outrage build, the tweets go out, so I pretty much bore witness to the anatomy of social media lynch mob in action.
I speak of Alex Bozarjian, the reporter who was covering the Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run, when Thomas Callaway, 43, swatted her on the behind as he ran past. So that’s kind of skeevy and sleezy, I’m not justifying that behavior, but just how deliberate was it? I mean, everybody who went by was touching her.
What really bothers me is the mob mentality of social media. I mean, 3 websites were immediately set up to identify and dox Thomas Callaway, to notify his church, to demand his church kick him out, to notify his employer, to demand he be fired, to make sure he is banned forever from racing and running, and another site to make sure he is criminally charged with sexual battery.
So call me a bleeding heart if you want, but this guy was pretty much drawn and quartered on social media without the benefit of a trial, without the chance to launch a defense. There was serious bloodlust tweeting around and to tell you the truth, bloodlust bothers me far more than potential sexual lust. Like, I’m not nearly as afraid of the Thomas Callaway’s of the world as I am of the angry mob who has been chasing him down.
That behavior is ugly, it’s dangerous, it’s scary, it’s out of control mob behavior. Nobody really knows the truth of what happened, whether it was deliberate or a slip up as the guy ran by. People are more like, just grab a rope and hang him. We don’t even know if he’s guilty, and if he is guilty, is hanging even an appropriate penalty for what he did???
Anyway, he’s now been charged with groping and sexual battery, which also has me annoyed, on account of the fact that apparently people have no idea what sexual battery actually is? What this guy allegedly did is more like simple assault.
Naturally we also have to bring celebrity into it, so vigilante extraordinaire, “Bozarjian’s attorney, Gloria Allred, told WSAV in an email Friday that “Alex is looking forward to justice in this case.”
Genuine victims of sexual battery do not have private celebrity attorneys, they are actually simply witnesses to crimes against the state, pretty much at the mercy of prosecuters who decide whether or not to file charges and go to trial. That’s the difference between civil and criminal court and those lines are really being blurred. That matters because the accused have rights, one right being their presumed innocence.