Commentary: J. Cole Deals With Awful Twitter Threat

On the eve of the release of his new album, the North Carolina rapper was forced to confront an ugly tweet from a young fan.

Posted: 06/19/2013 03:36 PM EDT

Twitter is a well-known bastion for creeps, idiots and general weirdos of all stripes, but this week one Twitter user went further than most with shocking behavior on the microblog/social network.

A user with the pseudonym “That Aint My Kid,” who claims in his bio to live in Saudi Arabia, tweeted a picture to J. Cole of a young girl with a gun aimed at her head. Accompanying the photo was the caption, “[R]etweet me and I'll buy Born Sinner. Don't retweet me and I'll kill my lil sister.” Born Sinner is J. Cole’s new album.

Nobody has any clue if the gun was real, if the photo was actually taken by the man who tweeted it, or if, indeed, the man who tweeted it is a man at all. The Internet being as anonymous as it is, in theory it could have been anyone behind that Twitter account. Nevertheless, J. Cole retweeted the photo and a few minutes later added, “Wildest s--t I ever seen on Twitter.”

To try to get to the bottom of why this particular Twitter user did this particularly insane thing on Twitter would be, to some degree, silly. Twitter, and the Internet at large, are frequently cesspools where anonymity and a culture of one-upmanship cause people to do stupid, disgusting things without much thought behind them. That said, one thing that is interesting about this whole debacle is how this person, whoever it was, was able to hijack a celebrity’s Twitter feed with some dumb and probably baseless threat.

Even a decade ago someone attempting to get some momentary publicity by demanding an action from a celebrity would have had to go through numerous tedious channels to even try and reach the star, whether that be through their home address or email address. If and when an address was found, it’s then hugely unlikely the celebrity’s response would have been to take the threat seriously enough to act on it. Very likely they may have shown it to the police and let them handle it.

Fast-forward to today and every teenager with a wild imagination, undeveloped brain and a Twitter account has direct and instant access to their favorite actors and rappers. Kids are ignorant and capricious, and the impunity with which the Internet lets them act crazy allows them to share their ignorance and capriciousness with the world.

Though it’s despicable, I’m not really shocked by the tweet J. Cole received this week. Rather, I’m more shocked more celebrities don’t receive similar tweets all the time.

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