A Dublin man of Nigerian descent has told how a sinister Twitter account has made threats against his life – but he’ll turn it into a positive.
Timi Ogunyemi, whose @tweetymonkey handle has more than 12,500 followers, received a vile message from a troll account called Ireland Awakening after he hit out at a bigoted tweet about the Brazilian community here.
Dad of one Timi spoke to Dublin Live this afternoon, before he headed off to his local Garda station to make a complaint about the disgusting tweet.
The threat says: “If you don’t mind your own business, I will make it my mission to end you even it it’s the last thing I do before I die or get arrested.
“You entitled Nigerian. Your dad is probably worth millions and you’re still interested in cheating and stealing from everyone.”
Brave Timi told Dublin Live he was well used to racist, nameless trolls – but a genuine threat against his very existence was something he wasn’t going to take lying down.
Instead, the eloquent 33 year old vowed to use his resilience to turn the cowardly attack into a catalyst for good.
The talented creative director said: “I’m actually happy the way this has come through the way it did, because I’ve got a few emails and messages from burner accounts in the past.
“But he’s put this is on Twitter which is a public platform, and I’m off to the guards this afternoon, and my understanding is that they may be able to track his IP address.
“I don’t know if that’s a thing or it’ll work out, but it’s a positive if that’s the case.”
Timi said he’d been talking to his mother in law this morning about just such attacks, and the strong-willed young dad knows better than to let nameless cowards stop him from using his popularity to affect positive change.
He continued: “This morning, we were just talking about keyboard warriors – a lot of people think that these sorts are people just sit on their beds and troll people all day long, but a lot of them aren’t.
“A lot of them have jobs, even prominent ones, which this incident might just highlight.”
Timi insists he won’t allow a cowardly threat from a faceless, nameless entity to stop him from continuing to do what he believes is right.
“It’s never nice to get these things – this one though was probably the most overtly… well, this isn’t the first time [I’ve received such messages] and I don’t expect it’ll be the last,” he explained.
“I’m a little bit desensitised, but this one was probably the most visceral, because it was sent at 4:30 this morning, so it was there greeting me when I woke up this morning, and I was like ‘what?’.
“I was more worried about the people in my life than myself, my girlfriend, our little boy.
“I don’t feel unsafe – I just feel, first of all, a sense of, well I know this stuff is out there. I talk a lot about rights, of inclusivity and diversity online, so people say that by highlighting such issues, I’m asking for this type of commentary.
“But I’m not – I’m asking for a better place, for everybody, to live in – and not just for one type of person. For all of us.
“So to get these things is in some way a validation.”
Timi said he would continue to use his considerable online influence to try and effect positive change for the benefit of all, regardless of their background and whether they have red hair, black skin or expensive clothing.
He vowed: “I can’t just stop – I have a platform and I’m going to use it. If I see somebody being attacked on the street, or if something happens to me, I’m going to stand up for what I think is right.
“I just wish this particular tweet was from an account that wasn’t anonymous.”
Timi admitted that despite being the recipient of disgusting messages from nationalistic trolls – via email and social media – his heart is firmly in Dublin.
After moving to the capital from Lagos with his parents as a 15 year old, Timi said that despite travelling all around the world, he’d never consider calling anywhere but Dublin home.
“I don’t even tell people I’m from Ireland when I’m asked. I just say Dublin,” he said.
“I’ve been to cities all over the world, and while I love places like Copenhagen, or Stockholm for example – those Scandinavian countries that value social justice – there’s something about the character of Dublin that I can never leave.”
And despite the vitriol from an admittedly empty-vessel loud minority, he has no intention of being silenced by a noisy, ugly crowd of cowards.
Admirably, instead Timi is able to seek out the positive angle.
“Comments like this don’t really scare me, but they remind me that there are people out there who don’t think that I’m human, and I don’t deserve to be in this country,” he said.
“The great thing that comes out of this is the outpouring of support. Total strangers going out of their way, taking time out of their day to make sure that I understand that they’re not aligned with that sort of behaviour and that sort of thinking.
“That means a lot, and that’s a real positive to come out of this.”
The rise of right-wing nationalism, brought to a head with the elections of Donald Trump in American and fair-weather Brexiteer Boris Johnson in Britain has emboldened those whose agenda is hate and division.
Despite the message of hate, Timi said he felt that education and compassion could be all that’s needed to bring about change.
The magnanimous 33-year-old continued: “The reality is that these people need help, I don’t know what sort of upbringing they may have had, but that anger doesn’t come from nowhere.”
Follow Timi on Twitter at @cheekymonkey and if you need a creative director, a videographer or photographer or just to bounce ideas off someone with innovative and fresh ideas, drop him a line.
One thing’s for sure, Timi won’t let you down.
Source: Dublin News