Twitter has its upsides and its downsides, but if there’s one thing that 2020 has shown us, it’s that social media in the hands of bad actors wielding carefully crafted misinformation campaigns can whip up hatred and violence.
I got to experience that on a personal level this week from one Yashar Ali, a full-time tweeter who has been a nonstop fountain of hatred about my religion for years. Yashar uses his Twitter account to spread a wall of unvarnished bigotry about my church at any available opportunity, mocking and insulting anyone who identifies as a Scientologist.
Yashar seized an opportunity this week to take an event that had nothing to do with Scientology to launch a 15-part expletive-laced thread to explain how and why Scientologists are “evil.”
He then went on spouting bigoted and inflammatory lie after lie about the Scientology religion and its members. And of course, because he said it on Twitter, some of his rabid followers assumed it “must be true.” I’m not remotely going to signal-boost his bizarre claims as to why I and every last man, woman and child in my religion should “f--k off” because he knows, just like Joseph Goebbels, that “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
Yashar uses his Twitter account to spread a wall of unvarnished bigotry about my church at any available opportunity, mocking and insulting anyone who identifies as a Scientologist.
As I posted correcting Yashar’s many falsehoods, his thread turned from generalized attacks on Scientologists to a personal attack on me, in which he rallied his drones to launch a storm of “f--k you’s” in my direction.
It’s crystal clear what Yashar’s intention is: to make anyone audacious enough to be a Scientologist afraid to show their face in public. Many other infamous bigots have done the same before him to virtually every minority that ever walked the earth.
It is the most plain, by-the-book exercise in bigotry you have ever seen. And it’s also the very definition of persecution, especially coming from a self-styled “journalist” with followers who don’t know any better than to trust the hallucinatory fabrications he asserts as fact.
I’m a second-generation Scientologist and I unequivocally love being one. My church has always been there for me. Anyone who knows me at all or bothered to read through what I’ve been writing about Scientology and parenting these last 10 years (something that neither Yashar nor his f-bomber drones bothered to do) knows how much thought and love my wife and I put into raising our kids.
As he is presently unemployed, Yashar hides behind his Twitter handle. If he worked for any U.S. company, there’s no HR department in the country that would be on board with his constant stream of violent, discriminatory hate postings against a minority religious group and its members. But that’s why there’s a report button on Twitter, and why I’ll continue to stand up and correct his falsehoods until he cleans up his act.