Search results for 'shirvell'

Hey Hey Hey… Goodbye, Andrew Shirvell.

8 Nov

We did it.

Andrew Shirvell, the now former assistant District Attorney in Michigan who has waged a crazed cyber bullying campaign against Chris Armstrong, the openly gay University of Michigan student body president.  You may remember we covered this torrid tale last month.

Andrew Shirvell has finally lost his job for his crazed behavior.  From the Detroit Free Press:

The attorney for Andrew Shirvell, the assistant attorney general under fire for his attacks on a University of Michigan student, says his client has been fired.

“They said essentially that as a result of Andrew’s conduct, it’s become impossible for him to carry out his duties as an attorney general.”

And rightly so.  No public official should be engaging in this kind of harassment.  Maybe now Chris Armstrong can go about his business and concentrate on College, which is hard enough without wild eyed stalkers standing at the gates.

Advertisements

Marty Thomas, Andrew Shirvell and Cyber-bullying

16 Oct

 

Today, the news was broken that Broadway performer Marty Thomas was suing Twitter to find out the identity of an anonymous user who was spreading vicious lies about Thomas. The tweeter, “bwayanonymous” used their tweets to spread gossip and rumors about New York performers without and repercussions for the words they were spreading.

Also today, Michigan Ass’t Attorney General, Andrew Shirvell was condemned by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission for having stalked and built an anti-gay website against University of Michigan student council president, Chris Armstrong. The commission demanded that Shirvell be immediately fired and that a thorough investigation be opened into Shirvell’s activities as Ass’t AG. The commission is trying to find out if Shirvell took any part in any anti-discrimination cases during his tenure in the AG’s office.

Both of these cases of cyber-bullying are troubling. Unfortunately with Marty’s case, the anonymous component makes it that much more dangerous. The things being posted on Twitter, or truly any online forum that allows anonymous registration can hurt people’s personal lives, careers and in some cases cause young people to take their own lives – as we’ve seen recently. Here’s a comment Marty has given to Talk About Equality about his experiences:

“I’ve been a performer most of my life, and in the public eye to some degree since I was very young.  Since my introduction to the internet, people posting their support or distaste for performers has always been an accepted thing.  I do understand that by placing myself in the public eye as a performer I am opening myself up to criticism and judgment.  However, there is certainly a line that can be easily crossed by the media. A public media forum, ranging from the New York Times to the National Enquirer isn’t allowed to write slanderous and defamatory comments as fact.  They are allowed to state their opinions but writers are held accountable for lies that are printed that can adversely affect another persons life or career.

image courtesy Broadwayworld.com

With the introduction of social networking sites, it seems to be getting more and more forgivable that journalists write whatever they feel like and whatever they can invent to bring down a human being.  Professional and accredited journalists aside, Social Networking sites like Twitter will offer anyone with a computer or fancy phone an anonymous voice and platform to say anything they like, while hiding behind a veil of anonymity.  This isn’t fair, or legal.  When someone spreads vicious defamatory lies in any public forum, they should be held accountable and made to answer for their actions.  This is why we have a public court system, to protect citizens from situations like this.

I didn’t release this story to the press, nor did I want the public attention that this story has received.  I filed a suit in court against Twitter because it was the only legal action I had to find the identity of an individual who has been stalking me, and bullying me via the internet.  I’m not the only performer this particular Twitter account has attacked, and there are countless accounts just like this one.  It definitely makes you feel powerless to read something horrible and false about yourself in a public forum and know that there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

The news is flooded with stories of innocent people losing their jobs, their sanity and going as far as taking their own lives due to bullying.  Mine is a clear cut case of cyber bullying that simply must be dealt with.  It’s very easy to write mean things about someone when you don’t have to stand up and take credit for your comments.  It’s high time that these sites take responsibility and force users to attatch a face and name to their thoughts/feelings/accusations.  I have stood up for myself and am proud to say that I won’t be bullied and I won’t stand for misinformation of any kind being spread about my life in any forum.”

We all need to take a stand against bullying, whether it be online or offline. We applaud Marty for trying to make a difference.

Mich. Ass’t AG Andrew Shirvell: Social Media Expert

30 Sep

So apparently Andrew Shirvell is on twitter and doesn’t know that anyone can read what he writes. These are screen shots from twitter, from an account bearing his name:

(you’re welcome)

(uh oh)

(d’oh!)

(Can I please make it to your blog? I’d be honored)

(Not at all)

(It was ever NOT on?)

(I bet.)

(Like, out of the closet?)

(Or maybe elected officials misusing the power of their office?)

(Not going to touch this one…)

(Insert your own joke here)

All kidding aside: this might not be his twitter feed.  But check out his blog and you’ll see that his words are startlingly close to this.  Don’t believe us? Check the twitter account.

This man must be stopped.  Chris Armstrong does not deserve to be attacked. He is only trying to live openly, and Andrew Shirvell wont stand for that.

***And as an added bonus***

The following are some photos. The first is a screen cap of the Andrew Shirvell’s own blog where he claims “members of the University of Michigan community are now rising up…”

It’s amazing that the U of M community is jumping right on board with these SCANDALOUS ACCUSATIONS! These brave students, standing up for what is right and moral and decent…

Oh.

Yes, that’s Andrew Shirvell, holding his own sign amongst supporters of the openly-gay student council President.

Jury Awards HUGE Settlement to Gay U Mich Student

16 Aug

Remember Andrew Shirvell? He’s the former Michigan Ass’t Attorney General who stalked University of Michigan student body president Chris Armstrong because he was openly gay.

We covered the whole controversy here, here, here and again here. This was a purely brilliant story. This guy had videotaped Armstrong at his home in the middle of the night, had a blog all about Armstrong and would show up and stage one-person rallies against Armstrong because he was gay. And brilliance happened:

Andrew Shirvell’s the bald, older one. Chris Armstrong is on the far right.

Well, it turns out Shirvell was using government time and resources to fund his little hate Chris Armstrong blog and was fired after an outcry from the LGBT blogosphere.

Shirvell’s writing, attacks and harassment was ENDLESS. Armstrong demanded an apology from Shirvell and said he would drop a pending harassment suit against Shirvell if he would only apologize for what he’d done. Shirvell refused.

Armstrong proceeded with his lawsuit seeking $25,000 in damages. A jury today found in favor of Armstrong and ordered Shirvell to pay him…wait for it…$4.5 MILLION!!! This is what happens in the court system when you spread vicious lies about gay people. This is hatred and this is what it was worth to a jury in Michigan.

Should We Give a Megaphone to the Bigots?

7 Dec

Over the past few years, we’ve seen all the nuts falling from the trees. Nowadays, it’s difficult to find a news program from CNN, MSNBC, Fox or anywhere else that doesn’t offer differing viewpoints on the topics of the day – no matter how bigoted those viewpoints might be.

But how far should the media go in giving a platform to bigots, racists, homophobes and the like? Julie Bolcer at The Advocate points out a brief interview with Tom Brokaw on a red carpet recently. Brokaw pointed out the fact that sometimes it’s outrageous anti-gay viewpoints that spark conversations nationwide. “You just say that they’ve got strong opinions. You treat like them like anyone else. You cross-examine and ask them the right questions.” Brokaw said.

As a journalist, one would think that you should be fairly removed from the topic you are reporting on, but it would seem with the evolution of news programs from most of the major cable networks, that commentary on these issues has become standard.

Anderson Cooper joined the fray earlier this year when he interviewed former Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell after Shirvell had harrassed and stalked openly-gay University of Michigan student body president, Chris Armstrong. Cooper was less-than-kind to Shirvell stopping just a few inches short of calling him a lunatic on national television.

And our beloved Rachel Maddow used her bully pulpit to eviscerate ex-gay therapist Richard Cohen, when he tried to explain his methods of “curing” homosexuality. While never being rude to Mr. Cohen, it was clear that Maddow found all his techniques to be…let’s say “outside the box.”

But do these appearances help in the struggle for civil rights by pointing out the shameless bigotry and hatred being displayed by individuals like The National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown or Maggie Gallagher? Or does it hurt us by giving a national platform to these otherwise fairly anonymous individuals?

There’s also the bigger question of freedom of speech – which is the usual line of defense for the networks when questioned as to why they allowed these people on their shows. This argument doesn’t hold a lot of water for me really though, as you can still speak out without being handed a national platform to do so.

I tend to believe the former, but I live in a major metropolitan area where most of the people I know share similar politics with me. With such a huge influx in LGBT stories in the media the past few years, is it necessary to offer a counterpoint, even when it’s as offbeat and bigoted as some of these examples?

Don’t despair.

1 Oct

Bullies.

Its been one week since we started this project, and we have written about little else.  It’s been the dominating issue in LGBT news and it has taken many forms.  Bullying in schools caused Seth Walsh, Asher Brown, and Billy Lucas to complete suicide.   Cyber bullying from an elected official is making life very difficult for Chris Armstrong.  Fernando Sampaio has been harassed and tormented by his boss and coworkers.

In the face of this constant torment it’s tempting to despair.  For Seth, Asher, and Billy the oppression they faced was too much.  Countless others are constantly struggling to keep going.

We can give them hope.  We can turn this around.


Just this week there are a host of organizations and people taking the fight to the bullies.   Below I’ve assembled a short list of resources, both immediate  and ongoing, that can put a stop to this:

These are just a few of the resources available and actions you can take.   But that’s not enough.  It starts with us committing to fighting bullying in all of its forms and using every possible teaching opportunity to educate our friends and neighbors.  Only by sharing these stories and talking about this issue in our networks can we make this possible.

Take action and spread hope.

Chris Armstrong, We have your back! ***UPDATED

29 Sep

We’ve been following this story out of Michigan for a while now, but its taken a turn for the surreal and its time to take action.  Here’s the scoop:

Chris Armstrong is the University of Michigan Student Body President, and is openly gay.

Apparently this simple truth about Chris is enough to warrant unabashed hate speech from Michigan’s Assistant District Attorney, Andrew Shirvell. His blog, which we here will not link, is entirely focused on tarnishing this good man’s name and his feverish obsession with Chris is reaching new heights.  Just last night he was interviewed by Anderson Cooper, and failed to tone down the crazy or give reason for his unwarranted attacks.

We can not let this go unanswered.  Chris is one of our own, and he is taking a bold stand by being a leader in his community and living openly and with integrity.  It’s cut and dry: he is being attacked and we have the power to end it.

Our friends at Equality Michigan are working very hard to respond to this situation, and we will have updates as they come in.  One way you can help on the ground is to make a monetary donation, however small, to the organization that can have the most effect on Michigan LGBT residents.

Change.org also has an online petition, which we here have already signed, calling for Andrew Shirvell’s job.  Take action with us.

Chris’ story is compelling and he needs our support.  We can stop this hate at its source.

***UPDATE***

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, who earlier this week defended his assistant in the media, has suspended Andrew Shirvell. He had said before that he had no intention of firing Shirvell and it’s unclear why he is now deciding to suspend him.

Cox claims he had not read Shirvell’s homophobic blog before now, so perhaps his rants proved to be too much.

Additionally Chris Armstrong, who has remained fairly silent about the whole ordeal, filed for a restraining order against Shirvell.

***ANOTHER UPDATE***

Apparently he wasn’t suspended at all and it was just a “voluntary leave of absence.”