The FBI Have Arrested a Twitter Troll for Sending a Seizure-Inducing GIF
File this one under “things assholes do these days because technology allows it.” Late last year, John Rivello — a popular-among-Trump-supporters Twitter troll who went by @jew_goldstein (he has since scrubbed most of his social media presence) — sent a GIF to Kurt Eichenwald that caused the latter to have a seizure. The FBI has since arrested Rivello, 29, who could face federal and state charges for the seizure-inducing GIF.
Before the incident, which occurred after an appearance on TV to mock Donald Trump, Eichenwald — a senior writer for Newsweek and an editor of Vanity Fair — had publicly acknowledged his epilepsy, writing about it multiple times through the years.
The seizure-inducing GIF Rivello sent, which contained flashing lights and bore the phrase “You deserve a seizure for your posts,” was clearly intended to cause Eichenwald to seize.
Today Eichenwald tweeted out a statement by the Department of Justice concerning Rivello’s arrest. The troll has been arrested on cyberstalking charges.
Press release from US Attorney on the arrest, which will answer some questions. pic.twitter.com/9rbiLFJtOo
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) March 17, 2017
A.V. Club points out that this could be the first-ever instance of someone getting charged for the crime of maliciously broadcasting an image with intent to cause physical harm. Though, to be sure, it’s not the first time something like this has happened: In 2008, online forums for those suffering from epilepsy were bombarded with similar images, from which many people reportedly had seizures.
Below is a screenshot of the GIF originally sent by Rivello, as well as Eichenwald’s (wife’s) response: