On October 24, a Florida man named Cesar Sayoc Jr. was arrested in connection with the 14 pipe bombs sent to prominent Democratic officials, backers and outspoken critics of President Donald Trump across the country.
Prior to his arrest, most Americans had never heard of Sayoc or thought of him as a threat, but there was one person who already knew he was dangerous: Rochelle Ritchie. A political commentator and Twitter user, Ritchie had been threatened by Sayoc online.
It’s now abundantly clear that Sayoc’s threats were credible. Yet when Ritchie reported the situation to Twitter earlier this month, they refused to take action.
Hey @Twitter remember when I reported the guy who was making threats towards me after my appearance on @FoxNews and you guys sent back a bs response about how you didn’t find it that serious. Well guess what it’s the guy who has been sending #bombs to high profile politicians!!!! pic.twitter.com/xBY8FMbqnq
— R O C H E L L E (@RochelleRitchie) October 26, 2018
In her tweet, Rochelle wrote:
“Hey @Twitter remember when I reported the guy who was making threats towards me after my appearance on @FoxNews and you guys sent back a bs response about how you didn’t find it that serious. Well guess what it’s the guy who has been sending #bombs to high profile politicians!!!!”
Good grief, Rochelle, so happy you're safe. @Twitter needs to step up their game.
— Patty Bunner (@BunnerPatty) October 26, 2018
The first threat (which Twitter failed to see as an issue) read:
“We have nice silent Air boat ride for u here on our land Everglades Swamp .We will see you 4 sure.Hug your loved ones real close every time you leave you home.”
Sayoc would later post pictures of Ritchie taken from her Instagram alongside photos of an alligator eating a human body.
This is absolutely unbelievable! They ‘permanently’ banned me for using the word you call a black person who is a sellout that rhymes with spoon, but let this maniac stay on after threatening someone’s life?
Praise God you’re safe Rochelle.
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) October 27, 2018
Sayoc threatened many Democrats and Trump critics on Twitter, though most of them, like Jim Carrey, Joe Biden and Maxie Waters, were more high-profile than Ritchie.
The bomber’s Twitter account had been reported to the website, which failed to shut it down even after multiple threats such as these:
Twitter users were enraged that the social media platform was allowing hate to run amok while so many other, less harmful acts received swift punishment.
I've been put in Twitter jail for a whole lot less than some I've reported and I've gotten the same BS response back from them. It's like they make up the rules as they go along.
— TrumpsOrangeJumpsuit (@PlainJane461) October 27, 2018
Twitter is a cancer. By far the worst poorly managed social network.
— Ｄｒｏｓｓ (@eldiariodedross) October 28, 2018
I've reported a couple of people threatening me on twitter and got the exact same message back from them, yet they'll suspend legitimate people who have said nothing wrong to anyone and take their following down to 0. I don't get it!
— Thumper2 (@Thumpr1982) October 27, 2018
Girl, I got blocked on Twitter for liking too many cat videos in one night.
— Sheri Gonnell (@SheriGonnell) October 27, 2018
This whole ordeal will hopefully serve as a wake-up call to Twitter.