She responds with class, and potentially changes a life
Trolls are one of the hazards of social media, especially when you’re a celebrity. People are gonna hate, and online they can do it anonymously, with little fear of retribution. Most of us likely ignore them, or respond in kind, fighting fire with fire.
When a troll recently attacked Sarah Silverman, an accomplished comedian with a reputation for a potty mouth, she went the other way, and the results were amazing.
A man took to Twitter to call Silverman a “cunt” and rather than ignore or dismiss him, and instead of hitting him back with an insult of her own, Silverman reached out. And he responded. Suddenly the unlikely duo were having an honest relationship about pain and empathy, and the angry man who lashed out just might have exited with some of the help he needs.
I believe in you. I read ur timeline & I see what ur doing & your rage is thinly veiled pain. But u know that. I know this feeling. Ps My back Fucking sux too. see what happens when u choose love. I see it in you.
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) December 29, 2017
Instead of more vitriol, the comedian’s surprising response elicited unexpected honesty from the so-called troll, spurring him to reveal the source of his anger, and their chat continued.
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She asked him if he is “self-medicating” and encouraged him to go to a support group in his area.
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The man revealed early trauma and mentioned chronic back pain. On top of urging him to seek support, she sought some for him, reaching out to her followers for help.
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And they came through.
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Twitter, typically a place of hot takes and angry rants, of anonymous attacks and an unresponsive administration overseen by a baffling, ineffective anti-hate policy, suddenly met its match in a comedian who cares more about compassion than controversy.
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Even Alan Alda, avatar of decency, weighed in:
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Here’s hoping Sarah Silverman’s empathy is an example for all of us as we navigate what’s sure to be another bumpy year.