Earlier this week, the city of Charlottesville, Virginia became the venue of the now infamous "Unite The Right" rally, which compromised of multiple far right groups that included Confederate sympathizers, Neo-Nazis, white supremacists like the Ku Klux Klan, and independent armed militia factions.
Before the rally officially began, violence erupted when the white nationalists clashed with the counter-protesters. This was later punctuated by a brutal vehicular assault when a right wing sympathizer rammed his car into a crowd of counter-demonstrators. The attack resulted in 19 confirmed injuries, the death of Heather Heyer, and the arrest of James Fields Jr.
One person who didn't hesitate to call out the self-proclaimed Nazis who joined the rally was actress Jennifer Lawrence, who made it her mission to identify as many of the attendees as possible.
From The Capitol To Charlottesville: Katniss Takes The Fight To The Neo-Nazis
Last Monday, the Award-winning actress who shot to fame after the success of #TheHungerGames movies turned to social media to call her 16 million online followers into action by asking them to locate and identify those who joined the rally:
#JenniferLawrence may be one of the more recognized names to call for the rallyists to be named and shamed, but she was not the first to do so. Following the violent aftermath of the Unite the Right rally, countless social media personalities and individuals retaliated by attempting to unmask the marchers.
Aside from the actress behind Mystique in the new #XMen movies, personalities such as Captain America actor Chris Evans, comedian Seth Rogen, and Star Trek icon William Shatner expressed their disdain for what happened in Charlottesville online. Many called out the marchers for their hateful beliefs, but some like Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling went as far as calling out the president of the United States himself:
It should be noted that it took President Trump two days to condemn the hate groups who participated in the rally. This was because he was basically forced to do so following his controversially vague statements about "hate on all sides."
The Grey Area In Doxxing And Naming Nazis
The call to action from those like Lawrence quickly yielded results, with some of the "Unite the Right" participants getting fired from their jobs and others receiving death threats. Though outed as Nazi-sympathizers, the demonstrators stood by their beliefs, with the likes of university student Peter Cvjetanovic saying that photos of him yelling (while holding a burning torch) misrepresent him and his "honorable" defense of "white European culture."
Lawrence's rallying cry sparked an ethical debate online, since the act in question — doxxing, or the sharing of a person's private information online — is ethically questionable. Adding to the irony is the fact that Lawrence herself was a victim of the internet's dark side when private photos and videos of herself were leaked online, but as Gregg Davis said in his viral Facebook post:
I'd like to be clear about something, it's not my intention to "dox" anyone. These guys outed themselves by appearing at a public rally, undisguised, where they had no expectation of privacy and knew they might be photographed...in fact many knowingly and willingly posed for photos at the request of journalists.
My intention was only to do my small part in being sure as many people as possible saw photos that were already widely available. I would like help finding any comments that share phone #'s and addresses (or identify people incorrectly) so I can delete. Thank you.
Do you think Jennifer Lawrence is doing the right thing, or do you think she's overstepping the boundaries?