Woman says former South Carolina GOP director targeted her with racially-charged 'trolling'
When Dawn Catherine reacted to an incendiary tweet on Super Bowl Sunday, she says she never expected to become the target of attacks, not just on Twitter, but also on Facebook, email and by phone.
On Sunday, she, along with other Internet users, noted a series of tweets posted to a Twitter account belonging to Todd Kincannon. Kincannon, who lists himself as “executive director, general counsel and parliamentarian” for the South Carolina Republican Party from 2004 to 2010, but who resigned the executive director position in 2010, after what a party source and a South Carolina political blog, FITSNews, said was just a few months, is currently an attorney at his private law firm. He has a history of inflammatory tweets, along with a large Twitter following. Two years ago, during the 2011 Super Bowl halftime show, when the group Black Eyed Peas performed, Kincannon tweeted that a black Democratic lawmaker who enjoyed “The BEPs” is “why your party has no white people.”
Since then, he has fired off often-vulgar attacks at everyone from Fergie of the Peas group to Nancy Pelosi.
On Sunday, Kincannon posted a series of tweets about Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old Miami teenager who was killed last February following a confrontation with a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Florida. After Kincannon asserted that Martin was a “thug” who deserved to die and made a raunchy suggestion about what the teen would have done “for drug money” had he lived, Catherine joined several other tweeters in pushing back.
“I was just incensed that somebody could be so cruel to write such a thing, so I decided that I wanted to say my piece to him,” Catherine told theGrio on Wednesday. “And so I tweeted to him, saying that obviously I did not agree with him. And then the onslaught started.”
.@DAWNCATHERINE I appreciate you! I agree that Trayvon Martin was a dangerous thug who needed to be put down like a rabid dog.
“[He] was tweeting me back, and then including me in a tweet that was just vicious and making it seem like I was a racist and that I supported him, when I absolutely do not,” Catherine said.
“He had other people that follow him say[ing], ‘we are happy that you support us; that you support him, and it just kind of kept on going back and forth,” she added. “And then of course because that tweet went out there, everybody and their brother was tweeting me hate tweets saying I’m a racist, I’m a horrible person, calling me horrible names, you know, going to my personal website, my website for my business, saying horrible things … on my Facebook page and on my business page.”
The Kincannon “Trayvon tweets” story went viral, including the message including her. It was reported on sites like Wonkette, Mediaite, the Huffington Post, WashingtonPost.com and theGrio. In some posts, it wasn’t mentioned that Catherine was an opponent of Kincannon.
“The last two days have been pretty much a nightmare,” she said.
Catherine began writing to bloggers individually and tweeting them, asking for clarification in their stories, including theGrio. She also began researching Kincannon, who runs a law firm in Columbia, South Carolina, and who on Monday defended his Super Bowl tweets in an interview with Huffpost Live, describing them as “satire.” Kincannon told Huffpost Live: “I think it is funny to make jokes that enlighten people on political problems,” and that the purpose of his “satire” is “sometimes is to offend people, to teach a lesson.”
Kincannon did not respond to theGrio’s repeated requests for comment.
“To me what he did was malicious in intent,” Catherine told theGrio. “The only thing that I can say is that maybe because I was kind of having this banter back and forth, with him, with other people, and I actually could hold my own, he felt like he wanted to attack me because that’s what they do. When somebody can challenge you point by point by point, and … you can’t seem to get them to say something negative, so they can block you, or try to get you blocked from Twitter, and have your account suspended, that’s just their way of getting you back.”