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COLUMN: When You’re Threatened into Backing Down, Stand Up

OPINION: Jessica Szilagyi talks about being on the receiving end of threats of sabotage if she keeps writing about elected officials.

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.

Jessica Szilagyi is a former Statewide Contributor for



  1. David S DeLugas

    March 3, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    Bravo. Once a police report is filed, would you, perhaps, post it in PDF for all to read? After all, at that point, it is public information and the “accused” needs to be outed! Thank you all you do for transparency and for the right side of the Constitution (the one those “lawmakers”* took an oath to uphold and to follow and to defend). *Perhaps we need to quit calling them “lawMAKERS” because they are doing what they are called. We should call them “law-reduction specialists” and see what happens!

  2. Carol Streeter

    March 3, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    Keep up the good work.

  3. wallie waters

    March 3, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    Keep On…….

  4. Dutch Mills

    March 3, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    Yes Jessica, as you know so well, public knowledge is the best disinfectant.

  5. T. Davis

    March 3, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    God bless you as you move forward in integrity.

  6. Greg Wright

    March 3, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    I love your work, and I am grateful you’re there to do it. Thank you for your courage.

  7. Dirk Whittemore

    March 3, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    I support you 100%. Crooked politicians are everywhere, especially on the local level. Even though the county in which I live is being swallowed up by Atlanta, the good ol’ boy system is still very much alive and well. If you dare step on any toes, they will come after you with a vengeance as most of the local politicians and officials here are connected to one or more prominent families. You don’t ever see any negative press in our area about local elected officials unless it gets to a point where it can’t get covered up any longer which happened in a small town in our county a couple of years ago. You’re one of a rare breed, a true journalist. If the police don’t want to take a report or tell you there’s nothing they can do, contact the FBI field office in Atlanta, Cyber Division.

  8. Glenda J Cowart

    March 3, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    Keep on reporting . . .

  9. Mary Beth

    March 4, 2019 at 8:09 am

    Local and state politicians control Hart County. I used to spotlight their criminal behavior. Now I live behind a massive fence because my dangerous stalker neighbor is under the protection of two local judges. I try to avoid all politics if I can. It only took multiple cat killings and/or mutilations and multiple threats to my safety before I started avoiding the local politicians and their honeypots: TORCH, Hart State Park privatization, multiple state and federal grants that benefit elected officials(millions$$). A local ex judge has a federal trial in May. Evidence that could have been used against him was damaged after someone broke into my house and destroyed my computer. I envy you. You are in a great fighting position. I hope you take the bastards down. If any are from Hart County or thereabouts, I have recordings, paperwork and eight cat sized chips on my shoulder…

  10. Ron McClellan

    March 5, 2019 at 12:51 am

    I feel for ya. I have a 600,000 libel judgment hanging over my head for calling a corrupt county commission chairman for what he was. . . .corrupt.

    The judge was his buddy and I had this fool cabinetmaker for my pro se attorney versus his team of nasty lawyers. The fix was in from the start.

    Get them Jessica, get them.

  11. Willie Sauls

    March 5, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    Amen. Stand strong Jessica. I enjoyed when we spoke.

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