The following article is an opinion piece and reflects only the views of the author and not necessarily those of AllOnGeorgia.
The piece is written as a point of personal privilege with permission by AllOnGeorgia.
Over the last two months, I’ve been on the receiving end of a series of threatening and harassing emails. The threats from someone who believes they are anonymous have promised to sabotage my personal and professional life if I continue to write about a handful of Georgia lawmakers in my area – two, in particular, to be exact.
This person has promised to create a hit piece website about me, AllOnGeorgia, and the stories I’ve covered locally and on the state level. The purpose: to destroy me at any cost. The exact words were to “put an end” to me and to destroy the company for which I work – AllOnGeorgia. The only way I can “escape the destruction” is to write positive news or no news about these two Georgia lawmakers named in the emails.
I have been threatened a number of times over the years – by wives of elected officials, angry family members, activists, you name it – but the anger seems to subside after the story passes. This is different. It is immensely personal, it’s inflammatory, and it’s recurring.
I know these emails are not just veiled threats because this person has promised to use a web address which was used back in 2016 to create a similar site about me and AllOnGeorgia. When it was launched nearly 3 years ago, it was ripe with false information, half-truths, doctored images, emotional attacks, and cries of victimhood for a lawmaker who made his own bed for negative press. The site was taken down, but not before a number of people saw it.
I step on toes, I take unpopular stances, and I am direct. I’m sure there are people who believe I deserve it. But I don’t.
I believe I know who is behind the website – after all, I investigate things and people for a living, email addresses are tied to cell phone numbers, and, of course, the text of the notes narrowed it down by default. The website, at this time, cannot be traced, but the email address can be by way of a subpoena if I file a police report – which I plan to do. This is not about stopping someone from saying bad things about me. That happens every day and my skin is thick enough – most of the time. What it is about is a weakling in a position of power trying to intimidate me to keep me from doing my job. If intimidation is being used to influence someone with a platform and a voice, what are they doing to the ones who have neither?
I stand behind every article, every analysis, and every opinion piece I have ever written. My history of consistency, my reliance on data, and my dedication to telling the truth leaves me with no room for fear. I am good at my job.
I also know that if I had done anything wrong, this would be working its way through the court system over libel allegations instead of with threats of a ‘36-tab website’ that will “put an end to me” personally and professionally because I highlight the voting records of someone in elected office.
The simple (and safe) solution would be to write about the other 234 state lawmakers and ignore the two, but that would compromise my integrity and my consistency. I spend my days telling people I’m not afraid to ask tough questions, so who would I be to back down now? I’m not going to cherry pick what I write about out of concern for destruction.
I cannot worry about what I cannot control. The only thing I can do is give it up to God and trust that any storm I face is for a reason and greater purpose that I may never understand. And, of course, that telling the truth always comes with a price.
As for the website, if it published…at least you’ll know why.