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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Fighting for Justice
by Betty Jo Tucker

It’s not easy to watch Netizens, but this revealing documentary ends up as a must-see for everyone interested in justice and fair play. Written and directed by Cynthia Lowen, the film focuses on three brave warriors who are fighting to stop online harassment of women. Carrie Goldberg, Anita Sarkeessian, and Soraya Chemaly deserve cheers for their dedication to this worthy cause despite the obstacles they face every day.

All three members of this dynamic trio have been victims of vicious on-line harassment, so they know how important it is to challenge the way these actions are being treated -- or ignored -- by law enforcement, employers and society in general. How much of this injustice relates to the fact it’s mostly happening to women?   

Early in the film we see Goldberg examining the location of a shocking rape that was videotaped and shown on the internet. We then follow the suffering of a harassment victim who lost her job as the result of revenge websites set up by her ex-boyfriend. These are the type of alarming situations dealt with by lawyer Goldberg, Feminist Frequency creator Sarkeesian, and Women’s Media Center founder Chemaly. 

One major barrier to justice in this area seems to be the “freedom of speech” argument. Should we be able to say any horrible thing we want about someone else and get away with it because it’s on the internet? Ask the relatives of family members who have lost their livelihood or killed themselves after being humiliated online.                       

When will online harassment stop?

Anger keeps rising to the top.

Three women fight the internet.

But changing laws is hard to get.

 

“Netizens” shows justice denied

for women who are crucified

upon the cross of free speech taunts,

revenge websites, and other haunts.

 

A film that matters to us all,

“Netizens” boasts an urgent call

to understand the suffering

the “wild west” internet can bring.

I am pleased to report that on September 23, Netizens is launching a multi-city screening tour, bringing this documentary to theaters in select cities across the United States, along with panels and Q&A’s with director Lowen  and experts in this area. Issues to be addressed include internet privacy and safety as well constructive responses from policy makers, law enforcement officers and tech companies. These community event screenings will showcase online tools to help audience members protect themselves and prevent harassment.  What a great idea!

Cities and dates are listed below.

Chicago: Kerasotes Showplace ICON, Monday 9/23 at 7:30 PM

Miami: United Artists Falls 12, Monday 9/30 at 7:30 PM

New York City: AMC Empire 25 Times Square, Monday 9/23 at 7:30 PM

San Francisco: Landmark Opera Plaza, Monday 9/23 at 7:30 PM

Washington, DC: Regal Gallery Place Stadium 14, Wednesday 9/25 at 7:30 PM

(Netizens is released by Yleisradio/Train of Thought Productions. Not rated by MPAA. Film website for more information : www.netizensfilm.com)


                                                                                                                                                                               
 
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