As most of you know by now, when I decided to confront Big Cock Johnson, our encounter turned out fine. But not every troll story has such a benign ending.
Philadelphia sports talk radio host Mike Missanelli (shown at right) has apparently had a very devoted troll who has peppered him with abusive emails from a variety of aliases and phony accounts over the past several years. At some point last year Missanelli began writing back to the troll. In the course of those emails, he repeatedly resorted to the same rhetorical tactic: insulting the troll by calling him a closeted homosexual.
The troll forwarded those emails to the sports website Deadspin, which on Monday published the emails under the headline "Philly Radio Host Gets All Homophobic In Email Fight With Listener." The following day, Missanelli was suspended by his radio station, which issued the following statement:
We are aware of the email communications between Mike and one of his listeners. This individual has been harassing Mike by email for several years, which is cause for concern, and we are working with Mike to try to identify this person and stop the abuse. However, that does not excuse Mike’s conduct. The content of his emails is unacceptable and does not reflect our values as a company. Mike has been suspended and understands that future similar conduct will not be tolerated.
Obviously, the troll is a jerk and possibly a criminal. Just as obviously, that's no excuse for Missanelli's repeated homophobic language (which, as Deadspin pointed out, was not just offensive but also disappointingly lazy and uncreative). So could it be argued that the troll actually did a public service, by exposing an ugly, small-minded side of Missanelli that the public had a right to know about? Would it do all of us some good to have a personal troll, just to see how we'd respond?
(My thanks to reader Jason Libes for letting me know about this story.)