8-year old Ava Martinez, who went viral on social media earlier this year for impersonating Representative Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez, recently pulled down her videos and will no longer be making new ones in light of the harassment and death threats her family has received. Ava reported on Fox News that it was her dad and her uncle who first noticed her resemblance to Cortez and encouraged her to make videos poking fun at the congresswoman. Ava, nicknamed “Mini AOC”, gained fans on social media for her hilarious impressions over several months. Eventually, however, the negative feedback which comes with any amount of fame grew to be too much, and after receiving not just comments on social media but personal phone calls, her family thought it safest to shut down the whole thing.
Ava will not being doing any more MINI AOC content.
The Left's Harassment and death threats have gone too far for our family. We have been getting calls on our personal phone numbers.
For our safety and for our child's safety, we deleted all Mini AOC accounts.
— SickenTirade (@sickentirade) July 3, 2019
Unfortunately, experiencing harassment on social media for expressing political viewpoints – even satirically – is nothing surprising. Social media displays an even dirtier and more depraved image of American politics than the regular landscape does. One might think that the usual curses and threats would be set aside in the presence of an 8-year old because she’s too young to know what she’s talking about. Ava’s story proves that is not the case.
The real question, though, is why people feel the need to verbally abuse those they disagree with online, as opposed to simply offering their own viewpoint. The mask of the Internet is certainly a contributing factor because even outside the political sphere, people say things online that they would never say in person. However, there seems to be more going on. The left especially is far too successful at not just leaving hateful comments but using them to effectively shut down entire projects. For smaller platforms like “Mini AOC,” the curses and death threats are enough to scare them into pulling down their content. For larger platforms, the left complains loudly enough to already-biased companies like Twitter and Facebook to suspend and deactivate accounts. This last phenomenon occurred once again when Mr. Producer's Twitter account @RichSementa was locked after he called out the racist and anti-Semitic tweets from Adidas UK.
The tweets resulted from the hijacking of a social media promotion ad. Of course, the Rich Sementa did nothing wrong by criticizing the tweets, and it’s possible that Twitter locked the account simply to stop the spread of the offensive photos. However, what Twitter didn’t do was lock or delete the accounts of those who hijacked Adidas in the first place. Twitter has proven over and over again how biased its administrators are against conservatives, so it’d be no stretch to assume they were merely using the mix-up with Adidas as an excuse to lock Rich Sementa's account.
The motives behind the actions leftists who harass 8-year-olds and lock innocent Twitter accounts cannot be proven. However, the resulting pattern of conservatives being bullied, intimidated, and eventually silenced on social media is too repetitive to ignore. This stifling of dissenting opinions must end if there is to be true freedom of speech in America.
Ruth Moreno is a contributor to TheRichValdes.com