Thanks to the budding of the internet, the act of trolling has become an art. Where older generations would tie a string to a $100 bill, modern trolls have quite the arsenal of opportunities to unleash their worst. Some trolling is mindless and serves to only bog things down, but then you have these ten instances, where the trolling was top notch and ingenious.
Anonymous vs. ISIS
Whether or not Anonymous can be considered “malicious” is an ongoing debate, but working heavily in the group's favor was their 2015 trolling against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, or also known as ISIS. On December 11th, 2015, Anonymous launched “ISIS Trolling Day” in an effort to disrupt the militant group’s online activities. Kicking off the campaign, the activist hackers posted a series of images mocking ISIS, portraying the terrorist organization in a rather unflattering light, emphasizing the use of pigs, goats, and ducks. As a cherry on top of the perfect troll sundae, Anonymous encouraged the use of #Daesh, an Arabic insult that ISIS had been more than vocal about, threatening to cut out the tongue of anyone that used it instead of the group’s full name.
The Amazing Racist
Ari Shaffir joined the comedy circuit by answering phones at The Comedy Store, but has since made a name for himself as a comedian, actor, writer, producer, and racist. That last one, while not true to Shaffir’s true character, stemmed from a street bit in which the risky comic portrayed an incredibly racist individual in everyday situations. Targeting all races, Shaffir considered the bit to be ironic, partially due to his own Jewish heritage, but not everybody saw the irony or humor in it. The comedian shared the risky racial trolling with the rest of the world on YouTube, where he was met with a mix of scorn and those that understood the joke.
Rick Rolling Westboro
Watching the world troll the hateful Westboro Baptist Church is one of the most gratifying things on the internet. When it’s done by The Foo Fighters riding in the back of a pick-up truck blasting the trolling anthem, it’s pure gold. On August 22nd, 2015, before taking the stage in Kansas City, Missouri, The Foo Fighters gave a preshow to the Westboro protesters stationed outside of the concert venue. It wasn’t the first time The Foo had a run in with Westboro, as the church protested a 2011 concert with equally as hilarious results.
Patton Oswalt's Twitter Rant
Who would have thought Twitter’s stifling 140-character limit would work to a trolls advantage? The troll in question is beloved comedian Patton Oswalt who, in 2013, launched into a series of tweets that, when read a certain way, looks like the rant of a very conservative bigot. Each tweet consisted of two parts, the first offering the basis of his more liberal views while the second, when read on its own, exclaimed things like “All abortion should be illegal, no exceptions.” The Twitter trolling worked, garnering quite a bit of backlash while also appealing to those that could see the connection between tweets.
John Hendren Trolls HLN
If you’re looking to have a serious discussion about former CIA employee Edward Snowden on your program, best to not pose the question to a man known for being a Twitter comedian. Then again, CNN’s national news network, HLN, probably didn’t mean to invite the quick-witted Jon Hendren but rather Al Jazeera English correspondent, John Hendren, who’s name differs by just one letter. The damage had been done, though, and the man behind the @fart Twitter handle was in the hot seat, responding to every question as if he were being asked about Edward Scissorhands, Tim Burton’s own American outcast. Hendren somehow made it through the entire interview without fumbling and anchor Yasmin Vossoughian somehow didn’t catch on, despite the comedian’s references to Vincent Price and scissor fingers.
Lindy West's Dead Father
While we can often laugh off internet trolls, some take the act too far and come off as vindictive and hateful. In 2013, Jezebel columnist Lindy West shared an experience with the worst kind of troll, one that opted to use her deceased father’s persona to spew hateful comments about the writer. The anonymous troll created a Twitter handle using West’s father’s image and name and tweeted hurtful comments that were amplified by being attached to someone she loved. Rather than bow out and ignore the account, West detailed the experience in a column, admitting to the emotional impact. Shortly after, the troll stepped forward with an apology, e-mail confirmation of a donation to the cancer clinic where her father received care, and a promise his trolling days were over.
David's Very Expensive Spider
David Thorne has been running amok on the internet since 2006, posting a collection of gut-wrenching e-mails to his website, 27b/6. Though many of his electronic exchanges with the people in his life involve him trolling them to no end, his best also happens to be the one that put him in the spotlight. In 2008, the Australian satirist posted an exchange between himself and Jane Gilles, an unsuspecting representative seeking payment for an overdue bill. Wasting no time, David responds immediately with a drawing a spider, valuing it at the cost of the bill. As one can expect, Jane wasn’t seeing the humor, leading to an exchange that went on for longer than it should have.
If you’re going to say racist things, you can expect the internet won’t quickly forget. In 2013, Food Network Star and butter queen Paula Deen found herself in boiling water when she, in so many words, admitted to being a little racist. After apologizing more times than she could shake a stick of butter at, Deen returned to social media, assuming things had cooled down. Asking her Twitter followers what their favorite potluck dish is turned into a mass-trolling from many African-American tweeters. Responses like “Uncle Tom’s Cabbage” and “Swing Low Sweet Cherry Pie” quickly filled Deen’s wall, ensuring no one could forget her uncouth statements.
Target's Ask ForHelp
If you’ve ever worked in retail, then you know that customers complain, sometimes incessantly, and the internet only serves to give them another outlet to gripe to. Thanks to trolls like Mike Melgaard, who has posted under the guises of representatives of Target, Doritos, and Campbells, their criticisms become our entertainment. The practice of disguising oneself as an online customer service rep to engage online grievers is not a new method of trolling, but Melgaard turned the act into a hobby that we get to benefit from through constant laughter.
M. Night's School Fund
At the start of his career, M. Night Shamalamadingdong churned out theatrical pieces that many could get behind. Then came Razzie-worthy films like The Last Airbender, Lady in the Water, The Village, and The Happening and suddenly, it was impossible to get behind him. To show his distaste in Night’s recent film fare, copywriter and former BuzzFeed employee Chris Baker teamed up with Eric Roller and Vanessa Castaneda to troll the director in the best way possible – they founded a crowdsourcing campaign to raise money to send him back to film school. The site was published in 2011 and, in just under six years, only made $714 – which explains After Earth and The Visit.