Wednesday, February 01, 2017
Man who tweeted about killing Trump loses his job
With America's history of shooting presidents, making thinly veiled threats sure was unwise
Josh Hadley, a 41-year-old freelance film journalist and podcaster from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, told the Guardian he had been “trolling” Trump on Twitter for about a year.
“I’ve been kind of mean, but I don’t think any of them can be construed as threats,” he said. “I’m trying to be funny. I was trying to get a reaction out of him.”
Hadley marked Trump’s inauguration day by tweeting a slightly altered quote from the Oliver Stone movie U Turn: “Thousands of people die every day … why can’t you be one of them?” On New Year’s Day, he wrote: “Do you think if I shot @RealDonaldTrump Jodie Foster would love me?” (John Hinckley Jr, who shot Ronald Reagan, wrote to the actor before the attack.)
A single Twitter account with about 430 followers may seem insignificant on Twitter, where threads often become cesspools of harassment and abuse, but on Wednesday, Hadley received shocking news from one of his employers, the Grindhouse Channel. Hadley had a regular gig writing about 1,000 words a week for the Roku channel’s website.
“It has come to our attention that you have been sending more than one electronic message or ‘Tweet’ to @RealDonaldTrump that can be construed as threatening over the past few months,” Hadley’s boss Darrin Uzynski wrote in an email. Sending threats to a sitting president or presidential candidate was a criminal offense, Uzynski added, and the company was severing its contract with him “upon advice of counsel”.
Uzynski later told Hadley that the company had been contacted by the Secret Service, prompting the firing.