Similar to my experience (or lack thereof) with MTV’s Franchesca Ramsey, I recently had a similar Twitter-related run in with Yesha Callahan, a writer for digital magazine The Root. I don’t follow Callahan’s verified Twitter account directly, but did subscribe to her timeline through a private Twitter list I had created consisting of noteworthy journalists.
While I didn’t always agree with Callahan’s typically opinionated commentary, I had taken a slight liking to her general content. That is, until her feckless racism and penchant for bullying reared its unapologetic head. It was announced earlier today that actress Jennifer Aniston had been proclaimed People Magazine’s ‘Most Beautiful Woman’ of 2016.
Here’s how Callahan responded to the news:
She even went as far as to reaffirm her disdain for the announcement by retweeting the following:
Believing Callahan was better than this behavior, I responded with my own commentary:
After being shut out from being able to defend my response, I approached her a second time with another account I’m working on building. I told her that I respected her but felt her instant blocking of my account was a weak move. Callahan then responded to both my original tweet and the one from my secondary account, proceeding to block the second account also, demeaning my outreach to her following.
Though I had approached her with respect, only to be blocked, she continued to insist I was a “troll,” “loser,” and “pathetic.” Expanding on her unwarranted self-righteousness, I was even taunted to “go tell your mother.” Coming from someone I had quietly admired only a few minutes prior, this blatant lack of maturity was personally upsetting.
Why was this person treating me so rudely for simply calling out her own disrespect on a very-public forum?
Why was this allegedly prominent (in Twitter’s eyes, mind you) writer demeaning my character while also rendering me defenseless? Yes, I lightheartedly alleged she was racist and she’s entitled to consider that offensive. But I was seeking clarity. I wanted an honest answer and all I got was insight into who the real Yesha Callahan must be. A public figure who can dish it without taking it. A person of color, like myself, who clearly has an issue with the fact Jennifer Aniston is reportedly considered beautiful.
While I also disagree with People Magazine’s sentiment, I find it grossly inappropriate to demean someone’s physical appearance just because I don’t agree with the opinion of a publication that proclaimed their attractiveness. I also think her blatant lack of professionalism reflects the presence of obvious racist undertones. Undertones Callahan clearly displays in her behavior, reaffirmed by an inferiority complex evident in the way her verified Twitter account is maintained. While Yesha and my interaction with her are truly irrelevant at the end of the day, I’m honestly just disappointed that I ever found any redeeming qualities in a person I so inaccurately misjudged. Lastly, I pray that tolerance eventually finds her in the bigoted digital safe-space she chooses to enclose herself in.
UPDATE: After this post went public, the verified Twitter account of @YeshaCallahan reposted the link to my article, adding “boo hoo” and other defamatory text before removing it shortly afterwards. She then continued likening Jennifer Aniston to dogs and referring to me as a “loser” for a second time, even though I had never personally depressed myself to such infancy. All I did was post the article on two of my public, preexisting business Twitter accounts. I never made any further direct statements towards Callahan besides the two previously mentioned and never plan to again.