(The following is from the U.K newspaper 'The Sunday Times' - 5th Jume 2016)
I SET OUT TO TROLL HER - WHY ALL THIS FUSS ABOUT 600 RAPE TWEETS ?
The online abuse against Jess Philipps MP last week was set off by 'the most toxic misogynist'. He's not backing down, he tells Martin Daubney.
Until last Monday, Carl Benjamin was a largely unknown 36-tear-old married father of two, who made Youtube videos railing against political correctness from his comfortable house in Swindon.
Then he found himself at the centre of a tabloid and internet frenzy that saw him accused of instigating a "hateful" misogynistic trolling campaign against the Labour MP Jess Philipps.
The farrago began when Benjamin decided to lambast Reclaim The Internet, a cross-party campaign aiming to defeat online misogyny. Benjamin called this "social communism". It was spearheaded by Philipps.
When Philipps wrote "People talking about raping me isn't fun, but has become somewhat par for the course", Benjamin, using his online alter ego Sargon of Akkad, tweeted: "I wouldn't even rape you, Jess Philipps".
Benjamin's online followers then leapt into action, with many repeating his statement.
On Monday morning, Philipps tweeted: "600-odd notifications talking about my rape in one night. I think Twitter is dead".
Benjamin was blamed for atarting what she called the "dog pile". Celebrities and MPs rallied around Philipps - one calling Benjamin a "shithead" - and pressure was applied to remove hi from Twitter.
Yet Benjamin is unrepentant and fails to see what the fuss is about. He doesn't accept that what he did was deeply hurtful, and justifies this actions through a defence of free speech.
"I never made any threats", he says. "It was a classic example of how the regressive left tries to shame and silence anybody who disagrees with them. Any criticism of a woman by a an is called misogyny. It's ridiculous".
The story was quickly picked up by television and print media.On BBC News, Philipps said: "(The trolls') level of discourse is they don't want to rape me, as raping is something they'd do to someone they liked".
Benjamin rapidly became portrayed as the internet's most toxic misogynist, a claim he laughs off.
"I'm not going to lie, I was trying to be provocative", he says. "I wasn't being respectful. I was being condescending and childish".
"But I've never sent anyone a rape threat. It's wrong to do it. How can tweets about not raping be construed as rape threats?".
Benjamin admits he has been planning to target Philipps since last November, when she mocked men's issues in a backbench committee meeting during the run-up to International Men's Day. He does this sort of thing full time, releasing expletive-riddled Youtube videos called This Week In Stupid, which have garnered him a cult following in an area of the internet known as the 'manosphere'.
Does he not see how it might feel to be on the other end of such a nasty tweet ?
"(Philipps) laughed about the idea of a en's rights debate in parliament and that made me think, 'I've got no respect for her', " he says. "That made a lot of men angry. Reclaim The Internet are arguing for special privilege for themselves. They want to censor the internet and police other people. It's deeply authoritarian".
"There were quite a few people trolling her, mocking her, taking the piss, but that's as far as it went".
Benjamin refuses to back down. "I never contravened Twitter's code of conduct", he says. "I'll be damned if I'll apologise to Jess Philipps".
The MP, however, remains "bitterly disappointed" her trolls haven't been kicked off Twitter. "Twitter is colluding with my abusers", she said.
(Note - I intend to write an analysis of this piece when I have the time. Please check this blog again soon.)