Users on “The_Donald,” a prominent subreddit for supporters of President Donald Trump that was recently quarantined because of threatening posts against law enforcement and elected officials, repeatedly demeaned and threatened LGBTQ people during Pride Month. Despite Reddit’s policy barring content that “threaten[s], harass[es], or bull[ies],” users posted messages claiming “fags” are “very sick mentallly,” a “cancer to society” that can “infect people” via “AIDS spreading madness,” writing that “gay people reproduce by molesting children,” and claiming that homosexuaility is a “sexual perversion” of “degenerates.” Some users also suggested that their anger at LGBTQ people’s “bullshit” could “turn into something ugly,” and one user wrote that “when a monkey turns gay, most other monkeys in the colony will try to kill it” because it is “viewed as sick and contagious.”
Reddit prohibits posts that “threaten, harass, or bully”
Reddit: “We do not tolerate the harassment of people on our site, nor do we tolerate communities dedicated to fostering harassing behavior.” Reddit’s “account and community restrictions” prohibit content “dedicated to fostering harassing behavior.” From the policy:
We do not tolerate the harassment of people on our site, nor do we tolerate communities dedicated to fostering harassing behavior.
Harassment on Reddit is defined as systematic and/or continued actions to torment or demean someone in a way that would make a reasonable person conclude that Reddit is not a safe platform to express their ideas or participate in the conversation, or fear for their safety or the safety of those around them.
Being annoying, vote brigading, or participating in a heated argument is not harassment, but following an individual or group of users, online or off, to the point where they no longer feel that it's safe to post online or are in fear of their real life safety is. [Reddit, accessed 7/9/19]
Reddit has previously taken action regarding multiple subreddits that violated its policies. Reddit “shut down several Nazi and white supremacist subreddits” in 2017 after its policy came into effect, according to The Verge. In 2018, the site banned the largest subreddit dedicated to the QAnon conspiracy theory, citing “repeated violations of the terms” of its content policy, NBC News reported, noting that the forum was “host to a stream of violent threats.” And on June 20, the platform banned the subreddit “r/frenworld,” which “featured racist and anti-Semitic Pepe the Frog-style cartoons,” with a spokesperson saying it “violated rules against encouraging and glorifying violence,” according to The Daily Beast reporter Will Sommer. [The Verge, 10/25/17; NBC News, 9/12/18; Twitter, 6/20/19]
Reddit quarantined “The_Donald” in June after users issued calls for violence against law enforcement and public officials. In June, Reddit quarantined “The_Donald” after a Media Matters report found multiple comments on the subreddit calling for, or glorifying, violence against law enforcement and elected officials -- a clear violation of Reddit’s policy. The quarantine restricts the subreddit so it cannot be “accidentally viewed by those who do not wish to do so” because its contents are “extremely offensive or upsetting to the average redditor.” [Media Matters, 6/24/19, 6/26/19]
Reddit has multiple subreddits fostering extremism. Multiple subreddits on Reddit continue to foster extremism, such a subreddit that was created due to Gamergate, a subreddit focused entire around conspiracy theories that has pushed Pizzagate, and multiple subreddits focused around “men’s rights.” A recent study, according to Wired, found that “misogynist rhetoric” on Reddit “has been increasing in frequency and violence, especially since 2016.” [BuzzFeed News, 10/30/14; Polygon, 11/2/17; The New Yorker, 4/22/19; Wired, 7/10/19]
Users of the subreddit “The_Donald” posted comments during Pride Month demeaning and threatening LGBTQ people
Users on the subreddit posted comments suggesting being LGBTQ was a mental disorder or perversion or that LGBTQ people are degenerates.
- A user wrote that gay people are “‘proud’” to “have another mans semen dripping from their asshole,” adding, “These people are fucked. They are not all there, they are actually very sick mentally and psychologically, some don't even realize or don't want to.”
A user called the LGBTQ community “mentally ill.”
- A user complained about “gays” and “trannies” being “normalized,” claiming, “Next we’ll have the goat fuckers be normalized unless we reset the clock and put back the lines of normalcy where they once were before it wasn’t a disorder to be gay.” Another user agreed, writing, “There’s something seriously damaged in their brain.”
- A user wrote that “both trans and pedo are incurable mental disorders,” and another user replied, “Trans is a pyscotic disease.”
- A user claimed that “wanting to cut your dick off is a mental illness” and said that being transgender is “like if a band of gamblers got together and decided ‘you know what? theres nothing wrong with me wanting to spend money. its not an addiction. I'm perfectly fine now.’”
- A user wrote that “the function [of] sex is reproduction” and “homosexuality is thus a sexual perversion,” adding that it is “immoral.”
- The following day, in response to a different post, the same user wrote, “The sexual degeneracy that LGB engage in is an alteration of the function of sex.”
- A user posted that “the entire LGBT community is nothing but a community of degenerates,” to which another user responded, “The community of gay pride parade supporters is 100% a community of sexual degenerates (and those on the path to eventual sexual degeneracy).”
- In response to a post about the “Straight Pride Parade” in Boston (whose organizers had connections to far-right figures), a user wrote, “I don't need a parade to celebrate my lack of a mental illness but it's fun to watch the reeeeing.”
- A user compared being gay to getting “cancer and rabies” and called homosexuality “viscerally repulsive,” adding, “What sane man looks at a dude butt and says ‘damn, I'd like to insert my reproductive organ in that poop chute.’”
A user wrote that gay people “should not have pride in their lifestyle” because they have “mental retardation of a functioning hypothalamus due to neonatal endocrine disruptor exposure.” Another user agreed, writing that, “I will never accept their backward and degenerate lifestyle.”
- A user claimed, “All gays are degenerate.”
A user claimed that while “I don’t hate” LGBTQ people, “I'm not going to recognize a mental disorder as a lifestyle choice” because “it's irresponsible to both the community and the one suffering from the disorder.” Users responding to the message agreed that being LGBTQ is “a mental illness,” which they would not want to “recognize and celebrate.”
- A user wrote about Pride, “Mentally ill people act like monsters and then pikachu face when they are looked at as monsters.”
- A user wrote that being LGBTQ “can never be normal” because it is a “mental disorder” and that to argue otherwise is “propaganda.”
A user wrote that being gay is “pure degeneracy and completely erodes western values.”
The same user also wrote that homosexuality is “built on degeneracy” and that “gay acceptance of the 90's” led to “this tranny bullshit” and to a situation where “we’re on the verge of legalizing pedophilia.”
- A user wrote that being gay is “a mental disorder” and that “no one can explain why they use 700% more drugs than normal people.”
- A user claimed there was “no such thing as a functioning homosexual” because it is “a mental illness.” Another user called being gay “a personality flaw” that “we never should have started normalizing.”
A user wrote that “Lgbt is just a mental illness” and complained raged that “we are growing more accepting towards this crap.”
- A user in response to a post claiming “LGBT ruined my childhood” wrote, “The T part is a mental illness.”
- In response to a post about the Senate confirming a judicial nominee who that had said being transgender was a “mental disorder,” a user wrote, “Being transgendered IS a mental disorder.”
- A user posted, “I support LGB. T is a mental illness.”
A user called “trannys” “wilfully mentall ill” people “who refuse to accept they are mentally ill.”
Users on the subreddit posted comments using dehumanizing language against LGBTQ people.
- In a discussion about discrimination by businesses against LGBTQ people, a user used the slur “fags,” adding they are “old news and no one cares about fake problems.”
- A user commenting on the San Jose City Council’s vote to fly Pride flags near a Chick-Fil-A claimed it will cause “further galvanization and division which will result in a massive blowback to the fags,” warning that the user and others were “sick and tired of this bullshit” and that their anger could “turn into something ugly.”
- A user wrote of Vox host Carlos Maza (a former Media Matters employee), “Whoever this guy is he sounds like a fag.”
Users on the subreddit posted comments suggesting being LGBTQ is harmful to society.
- A user claimed that being “LGBT is a cancer to society.”
- A user claimed that the “purpose of the LQBTQHIV movement is to undermine the fabric of society- specifically the family.”
- A user claimed that “legitimizing” LGBTQ people “has destroyed society,” and that there is “a reason that homosexuals were kept on the fringes of society” previously.
- A user claimed that LGBTQ people had “pissed off most of the straight community by trying to make our kids queer,” along with “trannies in libraries, men in girls bathrooms, teaching anal sex in schools,” and “chemically castrating children.” Because of that, the user wrote, LGBTQ people had “earned” “backlash,” adding, “I, for one, will light a smoke and sip my cocktail as the entire LGBTQRS burns to the ground” because no other “fringe group has done as much harm in as short amount of time.”
- A user wrote in response to a post about an Ohio library canceling its Pride event, “Well good, it’s about time someone had the balls to put a stop to this political train wreck of AIDS spreading madness.”
Users on the subreddit posted comments likening or connecting the LGBTQ community to pedophilia.
- A user wrote in response to the San Jose City Council vote, “the lbgt was always controlled by an elite with the end goal of sterilizing the white population and promoting pedophilia,” adding that the “good-hearted gays and lesbians” are just “proxy warriors.”
- A user posted, “Pedophiles are calling themselves Minor Attracted Person (MAP) on Twitter. They are trying to become a protected class by entering the LGBT community.” The claim has its roots in a 4chan hoax about LGBTQ people embracing pedophiles.
- A user posted a meme of an arm holding a rainbow-colored gun against a person’s head with text claiming that in 2020, “LGBT ‘Rights’” include “Let me [blurred word] your 8 yo kid, pedophobe.”
A user claimed that gay people are “trying to normalize pedophilia.”
- A user wrote, “Gays can reproduce, and pedophilia is how they do so,” calling that “one of the most uncomfortable redpill modern society doesn't want to talk about.”
A user claimed that “homosexuals reproduce by molesting children who then become homosexuals themselves,” and another user also wrote that gay people “reproduce through molestation.”
- A user claimed that “gay people rely on pedophiles to produce more gay people.”
- A user claimed that “gay people reproduce by molesting children.”
- A user wrote that “homos reproduce by touching children,” calling it a “fact.” Another user claimed that gay people reproduce through “sexual trauma and desensitization,” claiming children who have been assaulted “have an over 80% chance of being homoxseual adults.” The user also claimed that “when a monkey turns gay, most other monkeys in the colony will try to kill it” because it is “viewed as sick and contagious” and “a threat,” adding that people should “keep your gay to yourself” because “you actually can infect people with it.”
A user claimed that the rainbow pride flag is “a pedo flag.”
- A user wrote that Gay Pride is “the celebration of a culture” “that pushes the sexualization of children,” claiming that “40 percent of all child molestation is by homosexuals.”
A user criticized another user for defending gay people, writing “don’t for one second try to tell me that the gay population isn’t trying to recruit children because we see that shit all day long.”