This week’s collective global meltdown over the killing of Cecil the Lion has brought out the worst in both activists and everyday citizens who found themselves upset at Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer over the allegedly illegal hunt.

Actress Mia Farrow tweeted Palmer’s personal address. Screenshot via Twitchy:


Other Twitter uses were quick to report the dox to the platform’s support staff, prompting Farrow to delete the tweet. Instead of leaving it at that, she decided to post another tweet, this time including Palmer’s business address:

farrow tweet 2

Farrow wasn’t the only one to jump on the dox train. Actress Rachel Kershaw also jumped into the fray, tweeting Palmer’s business address; she also went on a tear against her detractors—and sport hunting in general:

And on and on it goes. Palmer’s office has been inundated with phone calls and protesters, and activists have flooded his neighborhood, knocking on his door and harassing his neighbors.

Via the New York Times:

“WE ARE CECIL,” one read; “#CatLivesMatter,” read another. Nearby was a sign with a darker message for the dentist who said he killed the cat: “ROT IN HELL.”

The outrage and attention surrounding the lion’s death online caused Dr. Palmer to keep his office closed on Wednesday as he joined an ever-expanding group of people who have become targets of Internet vigilantism, facing a seemingly endless shaming until the next issue comes along.

Even a local crisis management expert was pulled in to the fray. The specialist, Jon Austin, who operates a Minneapolis-based communications firm, said in an email that he had been asked only to circulate Dr. Palmer’s initial statement.

On Wednesday, Mr. Austin ended his involvement with the matter, but not before his own Yelp page was flooded by angry commenters.

At Dr. Palmer’s office here, a memorial to the lion sprung up with red roses and more than a dozen plush toys, many of them jungle animals, strewn outside the locked front door.

“Murderer! Terrorist!” one protester, Rachel Augusta, screamed into a megaphone.

No one answered repeated knocks and doorbell rings at Dr. Palmer’s large, stucco house in an affluent neighborhood. And his neighbors would not talk.

This is scary. And dangerous. And a prime example of mob catharsis run wild.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend I’m thrilled with what Palmer did. I think that it’s fair to feel sad or angry about the way the hunt went down—but as a society, we’ve lost the ability to control our outrage. Firing off angry tweets about A Thing that Some Jerk Did that We Don’t Like? Fine. Encouraging the internet to launch a full-blown attack on The Jerk that We Don’t Like? No.

No, no, no.

The people who are encouraging violence over this incident aren’t just running their mouths; they’re saying to their loyal followers—get him. Ruin him. Make his life a living hell, and don’t spare the horses!

He has it coming because I SAY SO.

Palmer has gone underground; at least for now, this hopefully means that he is safe—but what has been done cannot be undone, which is a fact that these activists either haven’t considered, or (more likely) don’t particularly care about. They know they’ve ruined this man’s life over an offense that law enforcement could have investigated and dealt with, but they don’t care, because a jail sentence won’t change the fact that dammit, they are UPSET about this.

If it’s not instant catharsis, it’s no catharsis at all—which is a truth that the mob has not only embraced, but accepted and held up as justification for using other human beings as outrage bait.


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