Watch: Owen Jones challenges internet troll who thinks he’s a homophobe
Internet trolls are known for being warriors behind the keyboard – which is why columnist Owen Jones decided to take one for a pint in real life, and challenge his behaviour.
The left-wing Guardian columnist, who is openly gay, released a YouTube video about the consistent abuse he gets online from trolls.
Reading some of the abuse he receives on Twitter, he recounted: “Cheeky bit of homophobia… ‘I knew Owen Jones was a c**t, but never knew he was a poof. It all makes sense now.'”
Another message said: “Owen jones shut up you queer little communist”.
Reflecting on the messages, he decided to meet up with one of the trolls, explaining: “I think if you met them in person… you wouldn’t dream of speaking like this to your face!”
He arranged to meet with an internet troll named George – who left hundreds of messages attacking the columnist, accusing him of homophobia (despite being gay himself) and racism.
He questioned: “I actually blocked him, but this intrigues me… because me and George, we’ve never met. What happens if I met him over a pint in a pub?”
However, after the pair meet in real life, George eventually admits: “I don’t honestly think you’re racist and homophobic.
“You need to start with something like that to get noticed! If I’d just said, that’s [factually wrong], you’d have just gone and ignored it.
“You’ve got to find an entry point. It’s like fishing, isn’t it?”
The pair eventually reconcile – finding that perhaps Twitter isn’t the home of nuanced argument.