Hot Docs 2018: Our Review of ‘Netizens’

Hot Docs 2018: Our Review of ‘Netizens’

Online bullying and revenge tactics have grown ever present in the world with the proliferation of social media and ease of access to the internet via smartphones. The other side of this issue though are the real victims, as people have been bullied and had their lives hampered, even affecting the ability for some to support themselves and sustain gainful employment. Netizens looks to shine an important light into this dark area of the internet through the stories of 3 women. Activist and founder of Feminist Frequency, an infamous Youtuber for her examination of video games from a feminist viewpoint, Anita Sarkeesian. A lawyer for those affected by online bullying and social media harassment Carrie Goldberg, and Tina, a victim of a former relationship turned bad.

The film opens with a poignant story as Goldberg walks us down an alley and relays the details of how one of her clients, a high school girl, was raped there. Despicably, it was recorded and distributed through her entire high school where she is constantly being degraded for it. Anita relays the stories of her harassment from the anonymous army of geeks on social media that rebuke her takedowns of video games and their sexist beliefs, some are so horrifically violent in the description they force her to seclude herself for protection. But the most poignant tale comes from Tina, whose ex decrees online after they broke up that she was secretly a sex worker, though evidence presented clearly shows she wasn’t, costing her job, friends, and family in the process. Her ordeal is horrific in the simplicity that it takes to ruin one life.

Towards the end, the film takes a bigger scope with the inclusion of the #metoo movement, though some audiences might miss the sharper focus on smaller stories that dominate the beginning of the film.

Screens

Sun, April 29th 6:30 pm Hot Docs Cinema (Big Ideas Screening)

Mon, April 30th 10 am Isabel Bader Theater

Sat, May 5th 10 am Hot Docs Cinema

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