I posted the screenshots onto my story, as he was harassing me and misgendering a trans woman. He then began throwing racial epithets at me, and I attempted to block him, report him, and move on with my day. That is where everything went wrong. I blocked him. I am sure of it. I made sure of it. However, he was unblocked moments later. Calling me a liar. I was horrified - terrified. My blood ran cold.
Circle loading spinnerImage of a partial circle indicating "loading."
AN OPEN LETTER TO INSTAGRAM
Circle loading spinnerImage of a partial circle indicating "loading."
I posted about this. Then, I received the “Report” back from your team, and there was nothing found to be against community guidelines. I was then flooded by racist accounts. Calling me “Nigger”, “Monkey” and “Coon”. I refuse to censor these words as they were not censored for me when they were being sent into my inbox at an alarming speed. This is the exact treatment I am fighting against. The continued taunting me with what I can only identify as being the written sounds of a monkey. They asked me if I “wanted a banana”. I firmly believe I need not explain why this is absolutely heinous.
Circle loading spinnerImage of a partial circle indicating "loading."
Then, I was logged out of the page for my organization as I was trying to turn on two-factor authentication. I was unable to get back in, and none of my passwords were working. I thought the app was just cached, however, after receiving more information on other accounts that spoke out - I believe there is much more to this. Attached below are screenshots from my conversation, as well as another story. When examining these photos together, it seems to me that this was an organized attack on black individuals on your platform. Please note that two separate accounts used the same photograph and the same phrase “blow it out your ass-“ followed by either “Nigger” or “Gook”, respectively. I refuse to censor these words for your comfort, as they were not censored for ours. Also note, I have done you the service of circling the common phrases and photographs, so that you will be able to have more comprehensive context.
To whom it may concern, I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to you because I was passed along your information by a friend who witnessed what happened to me yesterday afternoon. For a context, let me tell you a bit about myself. My name is Catherine Robinson and I am the founder of Exhale (@blackwomxnexhale on Instagram). We started as a fundraiser for black womxn and femmes here in NYC, but quickly grew into something much bigger. We met and quickly surpassed our goal for the individuals on our list (raised $8k+ in 4 days), and now we’re in the beginning stages of starting our own charitable line. The account for the fundraiser has gained 581 organic followers in 6 days through massive outreach on my part and just a lot of hard work. For our line, 50% of the profit will go to the womxn on the rotating list and 50% will go toward the org. I want to streamline direct action, and make it fun! It is all exciting stuff, and you guys’ platform has been a key part in that process.
To be quite frank with you, given the current climate we are in, this will only serve to hurt the platform and company that once this breaks. I do good work for my community. I started off just helping black womxn and femmes in New York City, and now I am on my way to helping black individuals all around the world in a very big way. This growth happened in the span of a week. I have utilized your platform in a new, innovative way. I have used your platform to immediately help my community. I also, just so happen to be black. I wish to be treated with respect on the basis of all of those facts. I wish for something to be done for what happened to me and so many other people yesterday. Action will be taken - with or without your aid. The community is on my side, I hope you will be too. Be well, Exhale x
However, yesterday, your support team did not, in fact, support me. I was not protected at all, and I was 100% vulnerable. I am currently worried for my safety, on and off the internet, as a result of your support team’s negligence. I was convinced I had lost everything. All of my hard work, everything I had built for my people. 17 hours ago, on my account @peachburgh I publicly called out a man, @_sheikh_dong_ who commented on the fundraiser of a black trans woman with cancer stating, “I hope the cancer eats away at *his* entire body”. I was then attacked by the account directly. I made light of the situation, as being attacked on the internet has become commonplace.