It feels like we say this kind of thing too often, but this past week online was kind of awful. One of our favorite tweeters was hacked; Hillary Clinton’s secret “vagenda” was exposed (keep reading, you’ll see); and then ended its run, meaning there was nowhere folks could go for reactions to what was happening. Yeah, the last seven days haven’t been what we would call “fun.” Here’s everything you might have missed if you kept yourself off of the Internet this week.

The Internet Rallies Behind Leslie Jones. Again.

What Happened: Continuing what was already a pretty bad few months on the Internet for the comedian and Ghostbusters star, Leslie Jones’ website was hacked Wednesday.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: It boggles the mind to think about what kind of summer the Internet en masse has given Leslie Jones. There was the upset over her character in Ghostbusters not being a scientist, the innumerable attacks by racist trolls that lead her to temporarily leave Twitter, and her return to Twitter which led to a triumphant trip to the Rio Olympics. Then, this week, her website was hacked, leading to the release of a number of nude photos and personal information, including her driver’s license and passport.

Unsurprisingly, the hack received a lot of coverage in the media—including an open letter to the Internet from this very organ—while Jones’ work colleagues and friends mobilized on social media to support her:

Oh, and one of the Presidential candidates got involved, too:

There were multiple hashtags for Twitter users to show that they were behind Jones, as well, with #IStandWithLeslie becoming the most commonly shared. The hack prompted conversations about the difficulty of being a celebrity online, the way such hacks are gendered hate crimes (with this one being unmistakably racist, too), and why the Internet cannot deal with successful black women.

The hack is currently under investigation by Homeland Security.
The Takeaway: While Laura Benanti catches some of the truth behind the attack below, it does little to make up for the awfulness of everything that’s gone down.

What #AltRightMeans

What Happened: A speech by Hillary Clinton brought the political term “alt right” into the mainstream, prompting a rush to define it for those unfamiliar with the phrase.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: Ahead of a speech from Hillary Clinton Thursday highlighting Donald Trump’s links to the racist, hate-spewing elements of the far-right, the Internet tied itself in knots trying to define the term “alt-right,” initially reported as the target of Clinton’s upcoming address.

Many different media organizations tried their best to explain, but while that was happening, a war was unfolding on Twitter over the hashtag #AltRightMeans.

The hashtag was created by members of the far right, hoping to explain what’s so great about their bigoted worldview. Here are some of the less offensive tweets:

And there are far worse out there. But as the hashtag spread—becoming the most popular trending topic on Twitter Thursday—it also got hijacked by those less sympathetic to the cause:

As the media started to notice Twitter’s disagreement, things got slightly more surreal in terms of definition:

The war continues even now, because it’s the Internet.
The Takeaway: Meanwhile, the truth of the matter is this:

A What-Genda?

What Happened: Someone claims to have uncovered Hillary Clinton’s secret plan for the US. Their suggestion is amazing.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter
What Really Happened: You know, we’re really not even sure how to explain this, other than to just share the patient zero tweet and let you all see for yourself.

Here’s the strange thing, though: That’s not actually the first time that phrase has appeared on Twitter. As unbelievable as it seems, it appears to date back at least to 2014:

Just because it’s old doesn’t mean that it’s not a perfect meme waiting to happen, though. Especially when so many people agree that it needs to be shared with the world as vocally as possible.

At this point, all that remains is a multi-part investigative piece into quite why that sign was put up in the first place, with interviews with those responsible.
The Takeaway: The Internet really can capitalize on anything, can’t it?

With This Kind of Attention, Maybe Lonely Isn’t So Bad

What Happened: The stars of HBO’s Girls took part in a campaign to promote body diversity, and not everyone was impressed.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: It’s possible that you’ve never heard about New Zealand-based lingerie, swimwear, and clothing house Lonely, and its Lonely Girls Project, which is, in their own words, an “ongoing journal series featuring candid portraits of inspiring women in their own spaces wearing Lonely, their way.” This week, the brand and the project both received a massive publicity boost when Girls creator Lena Dunham and star Jemima Kirke took part in the project.

Of course, media attention immediately followed, eager to support Lonely’s campaign (and show celebrities in their underwear). Twitter, however, was less convinced:

The Takeaway: Whether or not you’re a fan of Dunham, the campaign’s success meant that you probably saw the photos either way… leading to this only slightly melodramatic response:


What Happened: As of Monday evening, is no more. An Internet mourned.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: We knew it was coming, but the end still came surprisingly quickly. Last Monday was the final day for, the former flagship of Gawker Media, with one final post from Nick Denton signaling its closure.

The online reaction to the actual closure, as opposed to last week’s announcement of same, was an odd one. On Twitter, there was a melancholy humor:

Meanwhile, the media got to navel-gazing, remembering the company at its height while also considering what brought it to its knees, including two different accounts from those who were there, each describing the site as being murdered—something that prompted a third, parodic, take on the crime.

Of course, after the death, there have to be postmortems, and yes, they arrived, loudly proclaiming the importance of as a site, and Gawker Media as a company… which some didn’t appreciate, it seems.

Not to worry, though… the spirit of Gawker lives on, right? Right?

The Takeaway: It is a sign of how strange and terrible 2016 is that a site that delights in making fun of the high and mighty disappears when we need that kind of thing the most…

Read this article:

While You Were Offline: Are You Aware of Hillary Clinton’s ‘Vagenda’?