User:Woozle/Zinnia Jones

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I keep hearing claims that Zinnia Jones is a fascist or an anti-Semite or some such things. I'm aware that there are a lot of right-wingers and trolls who like to dishonestly paint her in the worst possible light, so I'd always dismissed these claims – until someone credible to me started making similar claims, at which point I felt compelled to investigate.

Just so you know where I'm coming from: I became aware of ZJ via Pharyngula, shortly before she had even realized she was trans (maybe 5 years ago?). I don't follow her on Twitter; I do follow her on YouTube, but I had to actually check to be sure because I rarely watch her videos; I mainly use them as reference arguments in case the same subject comes up elsewhere.

That said, I do know she has been attacked personally over and over again, usually (but not always) by people of a right-wing or at least authoritarian bent, and I have found her defenses to be well-reasoned and ethically sound.

Probable Key Events

From the links below (mostly Tweets) plus some things said on Mastodon (to which I don't want to link in case this page attracts negative attention), it sounds like the following things happened:

  1. ZJ did a Tweetstorm sometime late in 2016 in which she made some very iffy arguments that could be seen as attacking Jewish people and/or supporting white supremacy
  2. ZJ then said nothing else for about half a year
  3. When called to task for said Tweetstorm in June 2017, she did apologize in reply -- but never posted a public apology or retraction for the 'storm itself
  4. Tentatively, the 'storm has been deleted, and trying to confirm this is made difficult by lack of Twitter search tools.

Preliminary Conclusions

Unless there is an archived copy of what ZJ actually said, it is impossible for anyone to really judge for themselves the rightness or wrongness of what she said or how she handled it. Even those who saw the original 'storm can't go back and reread it now with a more objective eye (barring those with photographic memories, who might indeed be able to shed some light on this).

The following, then, is based largely on circumstantial evidence plus trusted-third-party opinions:

  1. ZJ probably made a big mistake with the original 'storm.
  2. ...but she did sincerely apologize for it.
  3. She may have made a smaller mistake by not making said apology in a way that was more public and definitive.
    • this post, where she explains her abrupt extended absence from Twitter, might have been a good place in which to at least mention it.
  4. I don't, however, get the sense of someone being malicious or uninformed.
  5. It also seems likely that she might have (wrongfully) dismissed some legit criticism because, at first glance, it looked like more covert right-wing BS; I'm pretty sure I've done that myself on more than one occasion.

So from here, in the absence of any further evidence or arguments, I'd say the real issue has been resolved; I don't see any reason to call out ZJ's actions or discontinue linking/quoting her work.


Some bits that are supposedly significant with regard to the claims:

  • 2016-09-04 "If she directly ordered me to murder an innocent human being I would still choose her over him. Every time. In every possible universe." I don't know who "she" is, or what she means by "choose", so I have no context with which to evaluate what she's saying. What I do see is people using this as an example of "liberal bullshit" without actually explaining why it's bullshit, which makes me inclined to think ZJ is probably in the right, whatever the dispute may be.
    • On Reddit, the quote is used in a way that almost certainly misrepresents her argument, whatever it was.
    • Here's a response where someone implies she's "fearmonger[ing] all day long] about some unnamed guy. Who?
      • Tentatively, she might be talking about Hillary vs. Donald -- in which case I'd have to agree with her. Or maybe she's talking about Hillary vs. Bernie, in which case I'd go "umm..." but want to know more context.
  • 2016-10-20 "that's authoritative sounding but... what they said isn't? how do you figure?" -- again I can't tell what's being discussed, but the attacks seem very ad-hominem and push all my "BS" buttons. She also (earlier in the thread) says she doesn't want to be considered anyone's moral center, because "communities shouldn't work that way" (i.e. we shouldn't have heroes whose opinions we take onboard uncritically).
  • 2017-06-09 "Okay. I wasn't intending to express any kind of antisemitism. I know now that I should have just listened." This sounds to me like a reasonable apology, though again there's no context so I don't know what the problem was and I can't judge whether this is sufficient.
    • Note several prior and follow-up tweets where she agrees she made mistakes:
      • "I was wrong. I'm sorry."
      • "I treated it unseriously and it was way out of line and incredibly disrespectful. I understand that now. I don't support drone strikes."
      • "There was no need for me to get into anything about antisemitism or communism. I could have just stepped away but I didn't."
      • "You're right and that's something I neglected. I disregarded the emotional side of things and was very unempathetic. I shouldn't have."
      • "I get that and I agree. It was needlessly and wantonly destructive. I am trying to make up for it."
    • ...and apparently the subject of the apology was a Tweetstorm some months earlier?
    • Someone apparently quotes her as saying "well you picked a bad TIME to criticise our in-house Arab death fetishist" in a way that implies it was a key example of ZJ being offensive; a search for that quote only comes up with the other person quoting her. Possibly ZJ deleted the Tweetstorm in question? Has it been archived anywhere?