He set up a fake profile of her deceased father, just to mess with her.

He hijacked Lindy West’s most precious memories, just to abuse her. So she called him up and called him out.

Rape and death threats have become disgustingly common hazards of the job for any woman with an opinion who writes online.

But the most surprising thing happened when one woman decided to confront her most offensive ‘troll’.

US writer and self-confessed “feminist kill joy” Lindy West is just one of the countless women who receive horrific abuse online on a daily basis.

Lindy West, “feminist killjoy”.

But Lindy, who writes for publications including Jezebel and The Guardian, received even more abuse than usual in 2013, after she criticised male comedians for being “careless” about making rape jokes.

Do we only care about trolling when celebrities are victims?

Because HOW VERY DARE SHE question the humour of jokes about violent, degrading rape, right?

Here is just a small sample of the charming feedback she received via social media at that time:

 “I love how the bitch complaining about rape is the exact kind of bitch that would never be raped.”

“I just want to rape her with a traffic cone.”

“That big bitch is bitter that no one wants to rape her.”

“Kill yourself.”

But the worst was still to come.

After enduring this harassment for days, she was trolled by a Twitter user posing as her much-loved father – who had died 18 months earlier.

A young Lindy with her mum and dad.

The account PawWestDonezo (Lindy’s father’s name was Paul West) had sprung up out of nowhere.

The bio read “Embarrassed father of an idiot”. The location was listed as “Dirt hole in Seattle”. And the profile picture was a stolen photo of Lindy’s father playing a piano in her childhood home.

Trolls, fame and blame: Helen Razer on Charlotte Dawson

This new level of cruelty left her reeling – but for once, she decided to “feed the troll” by fighting back.

She wrote about the attack online, and received an email from her troll the next day.


In the email, “PawWestDonezo” apologised over and over again, and admitted he had been trolling Lindy because of his own poor self-esteem.

Basically, he couldn’t stand seeing this confident, happy and vocal young woman expressing her opinions and enjoying her life while he felt so low.

It’s hard to feel sorry for trolls, especially ones who pull despicable stunts like the one PawWestDonezo pulled.

But in his case, he was genuinely, surprisingly remorseful.

After several years had passed, Lindy decided to get in touch with her troll and speak with him on US radio program This American Life.

Lindy West recording This American Life.

Amazingly, he agreed – and they spent hours talking.

Their conversation revealed that in the time that had passed, the troll had turned his life around.

Confessions of an abusive internet troll.

He had made a donation to a cancer centre in Paul West’s name.

He found a new girlfriend, reclaimed his health, and retrained to become a teacher.

And he spent every day feeling sorry for what he had done.

In an article in The Guardian, Lindy says:

I asked why. What made women easy targets? Why was it so satisfying to hurt us? Why didn’t he automatically see us as human beings? For all his self-reflection, that’s the one thing he never managed to articulate – how anger at one woman translated into hatred of women in general. Why, when men hate themselves, it’s women who take the beatings.

The conversation was cathartic – Lindy had the opportunity to confront her attacker, but more importantly, to find out what had motivated him in the first place.

While she never set out to forgive or pity her attacker, that’s exactly what ended up happening.

And we reckon being the bigger person and forgiving the trolls is the ultimate f-you to the haters.

We salute you, Lindy.