Amanda Knox Is Joffrey: Fighting The SVU-Obsessed Narcissistic Trolls Who Want To Live In Her World.

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It started with an innocuous Tweet. I wrote “Solid piece on #AmandaKnox and #RaffaeleSollecito” and then linked to an opinion piece by Andrew Gumbel in The Guardian. Within seconds, the trolls arrived. By trolls, I mean people who sow “discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”

There are an uncertain number of people who are so singularly obsessed with Amanda Knox’s case that they virtually slapped me around again and again for these six words and one link. Yes, Twitter is a public forum, and yes, everyone is entitled to his and her own opinions… but why are people so obsessed with a seven year old murder case?

The person who inadvertently explained the problems with trolls to me best is my friend Rob, who works as a writer’s assistant and writer on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. When he told me about a recent episode he was working on, he said, “Of course we’ll find the accused perpetrator guilty in the end. The audience loves that. They root for the bad guys to get convicted.” Is Amanda Knox’s case one where legal-show-obsessed people have confused fiction and reality?

In the narrative of Amanda Knox, Amanda has been portrayed as the bad guy, especially for people in the United Kingdom, who saw the trashy, headline-driven press in The Daily Mail, The Sun, and The Daily Mirror that target “working class” citizens of that former empire. With salacious claims of “Foxy Knoxy, the girl who had to compete with her own mother for men” and other horrible, completely false headlines, eventually, anyone who didn’t bother to read the crap in the articles and only read the headlines, might believe that they had some validity, simply from seeing them over and over and over again.

I wanted to learn more about these trolls. Trolls exist in the public forums of the Internet, but who are they really? As Chris Mooney wrote in his must-read article “Internet Trolls Really Are Horrible People,” he details how narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopathic, and sadistic personalities exist and even thrive on the internet, in larger part because of the anonymity afforded to us in our internet playland.

A question that I’ve asked the trolls who have harassed me on Twitter is, “What other cases are you working on?” I ask this because I really don’t understand: Why are people so singularly obsessed with achieving “justice for Meredith Kercher,” when people are dying in Africa, Syria, Baghdad, and a million other places every single day?

One theory that I have is that these people want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. For them, fighting for justice against an attractive Caucasian female who was proclaimed to be a murderer might be the embodiment of this cause célèbre. Is this a case of individuals living out their personal biases against the “pretty girl who wronged them” through Amanda?

There is an inherent bias by the media and experts (who are paid for their opinions) to jump to conclusions too early. This clearly happened n Amanda’s case. As Louis Menand wrote in The New Yorker in 2005, “People who appear as experts on television, get quoted in newspaper articles, advise governments and businesses, and participate in punditry roundtables—are no better than the rest of us. When they’re wrong, they’re rarely held accountable, and they rarely admit it, either. They insist that they were just off on timing, or blindsided by an improbable event, or almost right, or wrong for the right reasons. They have the same repertoire of self-justifications that everyone has, and are no more inclined than anyone else to revise their beliefs about the way the world works, or ought to work, just because they made a mistake.”

Unfortunately, many of the haters out there – I wish there were a better word for them, but despite my many attempts to read through the thesaurus to find one, there isn’t –  they listened to the pundits who opined early on in this case and took their words as the gospel.

I, like many others, have long been intrigued by Amanda Knox’s plight. She was first arrested in Italy in 2007 while I was a student in the United Kingdom. I followed her case in the news until early 2011 when I was able, thanks to a fellowship from the European Union, to pursue some independent investigative journalism. I booked a flight to Perugia, Italy, with an open mind, determined to find out what actually happened to Meredith Kercher on November 1, 2007.

Very quickly, I learned that the narrative in British media, the one detailed by prosecutors, was preposterous and false. In essence, the prosecutor, Giulano Mignini, overstepped his bounds and basically created a theory that Kercher was murdered in a sex game gone bad, a theory that he learned about from his trusted psychic who’s now, thankfully, dead. Mignini had made other prior errors in his prosecutorial work and had been sanctioned for his actions, such as when he sent journalist Mario Spezi to prison, which is well-documented in The Monster of Florence, the book that Spezi co-authored with American writer Douglas Preston.

Soon after I arrived in Italy and spoke with some thirty people about the case, not a soul thought Amanda and Rafaelle were guilty. They were simply at the wrong place, at the wrong time, with a power-hungry prosecutor running the show.

For the record, it was Rudy Guede, the man who was convicted alongside Knox and Sollecito, who murdered Meredith, alone. As author Candace Dempsy, who has written a book on the case told me, “There was no rush to judgment when it came to arresting Rudy Guede. Investigators found Guede’s handprint on a pillowcase found under the victim’s body. The fingerprints led police to their suspect. The evidence of Guede’s guilt is irrefutable and should have been more than sufficient to secure a life sentence. Guede admitted he was in Meredith’s room at the time of the attack. His DNA, along with Meredith’s blood, was found on Meredith’s purse. His shoeprints, set in Meredith’s blood, were found in the bedroom and in the hallway leading out the front door.”

Furthermore, it likely that the real murder weapon has never been found, as Guede likely disposed of it at some point during his train ride to Germany, where he fled after committing the murder.

Occasionally, during the past week since I wrote the Tweet Heard Around My Twittersphere, my attempts to not get angry at the haters failed. I’d write some tweets back to them, meant to rile them up, detailing that 1. The haters probably didn’t speak Italian (I do…) and 2. The haters probably weren’t at Amanda and Raffaele’s trial (I was, as a journalist…).

Let’s presume that these folks on the Internet aren’t obsessed with Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Let’s even assume that they have all of their mental faculties in place. Now then, why is it that these people care so much about a grisly incident that occurred in Italy 7 years ago?

I admittedly haven’t read Nina Burleigh’s book “Amanda Knox: The Fatal Gift of Beauty” but I suspect she was onto something when she created this title. I wonder if these haters were ever talked down to or made fun of by a person who was more physically attractive than them. Heck, I wonder if they ever wanted to study abroad, but for some reason, perhaps financial, perhaps they didn’t do well enough in school, perhaps their parents didn’t let them, they were unable to go. In the end, there are reasons why a person would be jealous of Amanda Knox if they jumped to conclusions about her.

In reality, Amanda Knox worked at not one, not two, but three jobs while she was a full-time student in Seattle to be able to afford to travel to Italy, but of course that element of the story is missing from most narratives.

There are certainly passionate people who are still interested on both sides of Amanda and Raffaele’s case. Unfortunately, people like Ann Coulter write articles (ahem, hello pundits with no knowledge of the case) that have never been fact checked, and as the great Mark Twain said, “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

Even while writing this piece, I have fallen into an accidental rage. When I read that a pornographer offered Amanda $20K to star in one of his films, and a supposed news organization like Newsweek’s The Daily Beast reports this as news, my blood pressure shot through the roof. Imagine if Amanda was your daughter, sister, wife, or your friend, and she’s just been to hell and back. Your blood would boil too.

Jealousy. Anonymity. Bitterness. Cause celebre. People like to feel involved in the news. They like to appear as experts to their family and friends. Or more likely, as I suspect, a lot of folks believed Mignini’s initial narrative, and then dug in their heels and wanted to save faccia, the Italian term for saving face.

For example, take Jack Gleeson, who had the (mis)fortune of playing the character Joffrey on the HBO hit series Game of Thrones. Gleeson has suffered frequent harassment by people on the street because they passionately hated his ‘Game of Thrones’ character. Now imagine how bad that is for Amanda. This is just another case of the masses rooting against the bad guys, and unfortunately, yet in Amanda’s cause, as I outlined above, they’ve simply chosen the wrong bad guy to root against.

Amanda has responded with strength and intelligence to the people who have created hateful Facebook groups against her, like Perugia Vi Odia (Perugia Hates You), and it is my hope that one day her world will be free of the misplaced hatred that has already been lofted upon her for years.

29 thoughts on “Amanda Knox Is Joffrey: Fighting The SVU-Obsessed Narcissistic Trolls Who Want To Live In Her World.

  1. Spot on.
    These characters have inserted themselves as victims. They have a personal vendetta against 2 people they don’t even know. Their repeated perverted commentary shows exactly what this is about for them. It isn’t about justice for Meredith Kercher. Amanda, Raffaele & their families have always remained humble. Their innocence is more obvious now more than ever.

  2. This is fantastic. It’s brilliantly written and as Noel said, “spot on”. :)
    John Douglas said in his book “Law and Disorder” that once the media has labeled someone (in this case they labeled Amanda and Raffaele by default) it’s nearly impossible for some people to get that image they first had out of their minds.
    Also, I fear there has also been a bit of Anti Americanism that’s added to her “Joffrey”. Because of the many comments I’ve had the pleasure of enduring on different Face Book groups (especially one called FAK-Freedom and Knowledge) about how we are loud, spoiled, not as good and among other things negative things about our Country, I can’t help but think this is also a factor.
    What was painful to me was seeing a picture of the mother of Meredith Kercher a while back. Ahe looked angry and on it, it said, “they killed her because she was everything they were not”. All I could think in my mind was “really??”. That’s apparently the impression from the mom and it’s sad that they have no idea who the real Amanda is, and that she did not kill her daughter. :(
    “Game of Thrones”, what a great comparison with Joffrey’s character. He is sooo evil in the show. I watched most of the interview you shared of Joffrey, and will go back and finish because it is very interesting. It’s a great show, btw!
    One thing some people don’t get about Amanda is that she responds differently than the normal person might and it is because, like Jack Gleeson real person….She is very intelligent. However, right now she is broken. These haters have done atrocious things and had the audacity to say they do it for Meredith. Again, “really???” ugh…
    My aunt is a Psychologist and she says they’re simply a bunch of nutters. Crazies…
    In real life, Amanda Knox and Jack Gleeson would be friends if they ever had a chance to meet. They are way too alike. And I’d just want to be a fly on a wall listening to them converse.
    Thanks again for speaking out, doing something proactive for Amanda. I am very encouraged by this. Incredible job! :)

  3. Reblogged this on Michellesings's Blog and commented:
    This is too good not to share. We’ve had our share of haters because of our (well mainly my husband’s) involvement in the Amanda Knox case, along with many other people in similar scenarios. It sounds like this poor guy (Investigative Journalist Stephen Morse) has become their newest target, lucky him. Haters like to shoot the messenger. Haters literally try to get people fired from their jobs over speaking out if favor of innocence for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito! Haters put their name on ridiculous official complaints and consider themselves equal to no less than the President. This is what gives them purpose, meaning, a way to think they’re important. It makes me of one feel fortunate not to be a hater. For you enjoyment…

  4. My opinions: After giving it a lot of thought I came to the conclusion that most trolls are simply sociopaths (borderline psychopaths), although the more dedicated Knox haters like Peter Q, wiki-rats spinning the Murder Of Meredith Kercher article, Peggy Gagon, Barbie Nauseous, Volt, etc and the notorious Harry Rag must have monetary interest in this case.

    Also peculiar to sociopaths I’ve noticed that some men (many in positions of authority) seem to enjoy brutalizing attractive women/girls. You will find many youtube video’s along this line (search police brutality). I think some sociopaths/psychopaths (serial killers/rapist) are angry because attractive women ignore them and they want to strike out. This may be what drives many Amanda haters.

    And then there are the alpha males and alpha male wanabes, on the ready to kick someone that is down. We are blessed with many of these back stabbing characters.

    • Jerry, I’ve never heard a better description of those guilter low-lifes before, and I’ve heard some very good ones. What I find most offensive of their behaviour is their claim that they’re doing it all “for Meredith”, then turning around and playing victim whenever someone dares to call them out on their despicable conduct. There’s a word for that in the dictionary. It is called “self-justification”, and sociopaths are very good at it.

  5. Stephen,
    Excellent article! What I have a hard time understanding (and what makes my blood boil) is why so-called legitimate news sources such as the BBC3 and Newsweek (Daily Beast) are allowing airtime and print space to one-sided inaccurate accounts of the case. Then there is the so-called expert Alan M. Dershowitz spouting off (“At best, Amanda is either a liar or, at worst, a murderer”) about the case on CNN. (BTW, it is clear to me from his comments that I know more about the case/trial/facts than he does.) All of this “information” gives so much fuel to the hate sites and trolls.

    I so admire the professionals (you, Steve Moore, Greg Hampikian, Andrew Gumbel, Doug Preston…etc.) who have publically tried to convey the true facts of this case. The on-line vitriol you all must endure is very scary. Unfortunately, it seems to me that currently the inaccurate pundits/haters seem to be “winning” the publicity “war”. Maybe there are some behind the scene efforts that are happening that people like me (average person that has followed the facts that point to Rudy as Meredith’s killer) are not aware of. I hope so…

    Thanks again, Lana

    • Thanks so much for your kind words Lana. It’s funny, I don’t consider the Daily Beast to be much better than a tabloid… I’ve looked up the bios of some of their writers recently, and I see that they’ve actually come from the American trashy newsstand tabloids. So yeah, so much for quality journalism…

  6. I cannot help but be reminded of others in a very similar predicament. Dr Andrew Wakefield. Kate and Gerry McCann. Lindy Chamberlain. Oscar Pistorious.
    The Daily Mail, the Mirror and the Sun should all be prevented from allowing Comments, but they feed off them, financially. These UK tabloids begin by fostering hatred and suspicion, where none exists, in their accusatory sensationalistic headlines. That is truly evil. One must stop reading all and any newspaper headlines about A and R and become discriminatory, because all it achieves is raised blood pressure and depression.

  7. These trolls are either some kind of psychopath, or they are those who have a stake in the outcome. It is not so farfetched to think that Mignini et al. are working the internet in the hopes to save their own skins. I had this happen to me, after being falsely accused by a deranged z list celebrity(cancer scammer and sociopath- tig notaro) and after a while I began to see that there was some personal stake in such irrational seeming comments. There was an attempt to discredit because there was nothing that could justify their position.

    Whatever the case, it’s depressing to see such ugliness aimed at innocent people, who have for so long been put through hell.

  8. I’m also a target, on FB as well as twitter. I’ve been called, threatened, my kids have been contacted, my name address and phone published. Two “pages” named for me, no, not polite ones.
    My son’s picture posted, and attacked by so many faux accounts, I can’t keep up.
    I watched the “trolls” attack you on Twitter, was reported for tweeting links.
    Everyone has an opinion, but the ongoing onslaught against Amanda Knox it’s frightening. I’ve hid for two years now, and will continue.
    One threat to “come to my home” post flyers around, ruin my reputation and business.
    Anonymity is essential against the “trolls”.
    One plus, I’ve learned how to identify both on FB and twitter.
    Marie

  9. Stephen! You have SO hit the nail on the head and thank you for INVESTIGATING!!! Sheesh! I was beginning to wonder about the media, how long will they go on about crying and panties anyway? gah

    Sadly the Walter Cronkite era has passed and mainstream and tabloid media, both, suffer from CutAndPaste. If only more journalists would tell it like it is, Perugia’s evidence against Raffaele and Amanda is like “so much garbage.”

    Wait……I’ve heard that before……oh, yeah……”Monster of Florence”, a defense lawyer calling out Mignini’s evidence against HIS client. Like you, there are several journos who saw though the lies.

    Mignini, like many corrupt officials, follows a pattern, past behavior predicts future behavior as the FBI says. That’s why I find it surprising that the media didn’t notice the dirty old man lurking around the corner, I mean really? What about his “behavior” in this saga? At last count, I think were are up to 10 or 15 Italian and International laws that he and his gang of thugs broke or twisted to entrap these innocent people.

    What about THAT behavior?? Serious brutta figura.

    And the Haters? They EARNED that name and they deserve to be called it, in times of frustration you are also allowed to add the F-bomb. “We want to debate,” BAH that is Haterspeak for “give me an opening” so I can abuse you. I hope that psychologists are studying them, now there’s a book. And a class action suit. And legislation–a bill that allows victims to “scrub” the internet of virtual graffiti, including the banning of hate-filled websites.

    Like the ones devoted to hating Amanda and Raffaele that Meredith Kercher’s father endorsed, there is some more behavior to ponder. Let me caveat that with I see the Kercher’s as victims in this mess too, they should never lost Meredith. That is the real irony and the real tragedy.

    But the horrible mess that sprang from that is all the doing of Mignini and his Clan. Hello Italy? Fall guys over here…….*points to Perugia*

  10. Nicely put. My own encounters with such people have been limited to some Twitter trolling and one jackass who left an irrelevant 1-star review of my book, an experience more or less like having a slug dropped on my foot.

  11. You may not like the style of those who think Amanda Knox is guilty, but don’t mistake that for her innocence. Defending Meredith’s killer without understanding what you’re talking about is not a victimless crime.

    • Please do not imply that people who write in support of Amanda Knox’s innocence do not understand what they are talking about. If you are honest with yourself, you will acknowledge that many people with expertise in criminal investigation and forensic science who have deep knowledge of the case see no reason to believe that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito had anything to do with Meredith Kercher’s death.

      The style of many pro-guilt writers is reprehensible and morally indefensible. If the evidence of guilt is so strong, it should stand on its own merits without any need for personal attacks, unsubstantiated smears, or online bullying.

    • We are not defending a killer, we are defending someone who was falsely accused. There’s a big difference. You might want to look up the word “Innocent” in a dictionary some time.

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