Grace Dent has news for her Twitter troll

Grace Dent tweet

UPDATE – So the day after the Twitter furore involving Grace Dent comes news of her new role at The Independent. Coincidence or PR stunt?

Many seem to be asking that question today. Some are saying well done to Dent who looks like a great addition for the Independent while others are expressing disappointment.

The Guardian TV critic Dent, who writes a weekly TV review column for the Saturday Guardian’s Guide, will work across the Independent and its sister title the London Evening Standard for which she already writes a restaurant review column.

Chris Blackhurst, group editorial director at the Indy and the Standard revealed Dent’s hiring in his “letter from the editor” earlier today where he also explained the rationale for the Indy’s cover price rise to £1.20.

From Monday – When Mufadal Jiwaji sent TV critic Grace Dent an insulting tweet during her appearance on Sunday night’s Have I Got News For You he probably thought it was a throwaway witty comment which might amuse his handful of followers.

He didn’t realise that she was a client of the PR firm he works for and that it could end up losing him his job.

He commented, “@gracedent reminds me of a girlfriend I once had. By girlfriend I mean that time I accidentally made love to an ugly abhorrent horse.” And while it was written in better English than most trolling comments, it was just as unfunny to the person on the receiving end.

It comes at a time when people are biting back against this sort of online abuse.

Noel Edmonds, for example, is calling for more online responsibility after meeting the student who set up a Facebook page called ‘Somebody please kill Noel Edmonds’.

In his BBC Three programme The Anti-Social Network, Richard Bacon revealed that he and his family have been subject to a torrent of anonymous online abuse from a particular individual for the last two years.

And articles such as “You should have your tongue ripped out”: the reality of sexist abuse online and follow-up pieces in the Guardian and blogs including Shiraz Socialist and Too Much To Say For Myself reveal that female journalists and bloggers are too often at the receiving end of nasty misogynist comments.

With 112K followers I don’t know how much of this sort of abuse Dent has to put up with herself, but something led her to take a moment to look this guy up and find out who is. And she discovered that he works for PR firm Hill+Knowlton, of whom she is a client. Cue massive climbdown from Jiwaji.

Grace Dent tweets

@gracedent: “I’m wondering, as a public relations person for a firm I work with, what your thinking was in sending me this message?

@mufadal: “it was naive and ill-warranted. I won’t delete it, as I ought to bare the full brunt of my idiocy.” [Not such great English]

@gracedent: “You’ll bear the brunt of your idiocy at 10am tomorrow morning when you’re unemployed. Good luck.”

So should Jiwaji keep his job? On one hand, it was a throwaway, off-duty remark. On the other…well would you feel happy if one of your staff was sending abuse to one of your clients? As someone on the graduate scheme at Hill+Knowlton, if he didn’t know much about PR before he’s about to get a good lesson…

  • Lisa

    You have the wrong Twitter name for the Twitter Troll!

    It’s @Mufadal

  • Rmkf

    I can remember Grace Dent making a joke about hipsters on the day somebody had life-altering injuries due to being shot in gang crossfire on a Sat afternoon in London Fields. Seems it’s okay once she’s not on the receiving end.

  • Sue Keogh

    Cheers Lisa – now fixed!

  • Bob

    Glasseshouses and stones. As if Dent has never said anything ill-advised or personally judgemental on Twitter. As a self-declared expert on the medium, she is clueless and arrogant.

  • Trololol Man

    The twitter account is Mufadal, not Mufadel.

  • Phil

    I think Dent is being nasty and vindictive just because she can – so the guy made a bad call – she would see him unemployed for that? It was a personal comment. She is in the media fgs – sensitive…much. Personally I thought her a poor choice for HIGNFY – I can say that because luckily I don’t work for a PR company

  • CJH

    What he does in his spare time out of office should have nothing to do with her. Her threat to have him fired is also off the charts and could be deemed as bullying.

  • http://www.twitter.com/tonycowards Tony Cowards

    It was a nasty comment and unjustified but I find it slightly hypocritical that Dent was on a programme which deals in these sort of insults (Eric Pickles and John Prescott are fat jokes, Anne Widdecombe is no oil painting and fat jokes, etc) at the time.

  • http://www.rosemcgrory.co.uk Kate Rose

    Great that she called him out on it, personally I think that a Twitter-based climbdown is a proportional punishment for a Twitter-based silly remark. Hopefully she won’t actually try and get him fired..

  • Angela K

    The man does not deserve to lose his job over a joke about being ugly! It is not even a bad joke, I’ve read worse from Dent.

  • http://theworldisntlistening.blogspot.com timbo

    Firstly – troll is wrong. This guy is not a troll; he made a single, vicously horrible comment about someone who was on TV. I’ve said on Twitter that countless celebrity figures are spineless c*nts (Bono) or cheating w*nkers (footballers) – admittedly not to their personal twitter accounts but the content isn’t different. Trolling is what happened to Richard Bacon – rightly pointed out in this article.

    However, Dent is no stranger to writing critical personal comments, and while I AM IN NO WAY SUGGESTING THIS IS LIKE FOR LIKE, given that she was appearing at the time on a show that mercilessly and personally lampoons public figures (jokes about Boris Johnson’s wife, for example) I think she’s taken(taking) this way too far. The guy’s a complete idiot for calling her those things on Twitter so that she can actually see it without looking for it; but I highly doubt it was the worst comment about her made on Twitter.

    Also, I think she’s really attractive – surely that kind of throwaway ‘ugly’ comment shouldn’t barb a seasoned TV critic and columnist so much?

  • Gert

    Was this the same Grace Dent that posted and mocked a full-face photo of a random passer by someone had taken simply because they didn’t approve of him wearing shorts and sandals on a warm day in March?

    Glass houses, stones…

  • Terry

    It sounds as though I’m the lucky one here, I’ve never heard of anyone mentioned in this article.

  • http://wonky_donky Chris Owen

    i think the PR was naive and foolish to tweet what he did – he’s learnt the hard way to always know who your agency’s clients are, but i don’t think he should be fired (and Dent’s ‘you’re unemployed’ tweet is just bossy and arrogant and unnecessary), but he certainly needs a rollicking. Not only for the tweet content, but for the grammar and spelling.

    as for Dent, this shows an incredible degree of hypocrisy as numerous people have said, so i won’t go into detail why. it’s obvious.

  • Trish

    How can anyone give Dent stick for being nasty here? He. insulted. Her. First. She simply responded, and in a quite amusing succint way. No-one has said the guy will actually lose his job, but perhaps he’ll think twice before making nasty comments about women again. Repeat it wasn’t funny, it was nasty. Grace merely sent a couple of barbs back. Good on her.

  • Katherine

    He sent that Tweet TO her. It wasn’t a comment she just stumbled across while googling herself. It was @’d directly to her. If I sent a message like that to a client of the firm I worked for I’m pretty sure I’d be sacked. What on EARTH was he thinking? (I think someone should tell him that “PR” stands for “public relations”.. then carefully explain to him what that entails.)

  • keith brunt

    I feel sorry for the horse.

  • Phil

    @trish – no-one except Dent herself “@Mufadal You’ll bear the brunt of your idiocy at 10am tomorrow morning when you’re unemployed. Good luck.” And as for making nasty comments about a women – it happens all the time – Dent is using her position here to threaten a stupid cyberspace twit-ter. Good on her indeed…so you also condone bullying along with threats?

  • Dick Gee

    You’ve got the chap’s surname wrong twice in the article despite the fact that the correct spelling is on the screen cap. Cah! Bloody journalists.

  • http://xcos.wordpress.com willmill82

    Given that the guy who made the comment is getting more sympathy than I guess the author expected, what kind of a PR lesson is this?

  • Trish

    @Phil I’d say he made the attempt at bullying – as pointed out he sent the tweet directly to her. No I don’t condone bullying or threats which is why I think he shouldn’t have done what he did. I do condone women standing up for themselves.

  • Dave Markham

    Let’s be clear about this. Grace Dent has REGULARLY sent abuse to other Twitter users in the past then covered her tracks by deleting her tweets. I don’t care how famous she is, she is a troll herself. But because she’s famous she gets to write a book about it.

  • Tavii

    Dent is famous for her deleting her own unpleasant tweets.
    She seems totally enraptured by her own humour, in the way a child is intrigued by their potty deposits, whereas few others seem that impressed by her.

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  • Jof

    It’s quite infuriating how Guardian journalists will defend a person who sent abusive tweets to Fabrice Muamba but won’t hesitate to take action to violate the free speech of anyone who insults themselves.

  • Trish

    Well, I think she’s quite funny, don’t get the vitriol here. All she did was answer back; some guy made a nasty comment directly to her, she answered back. So what.

  • http://ciarannorris.co.uk Ciaran

    Is she actually a client? She says ‘work with'; do they employ her maybe?

    Personally I think his comment was a little harsh, but also don’t think her desire to see someone fired over an unfunny joke does her any favours. I hope he keeps his job.

  • Bethan Davies

    It’s a bit rich of Grace Dent. Yesterday I unfollowed her (sure she’s gutted) because she was making fun of Seth Green and his beautiful (but quite giant) girlfriend Clare Grant in a really mean spirited way. Entirely unnecessarily. As above- glass houses love.

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  • http://www.museluver.wordpress.com Alex Adeboye

    Well done Grace Dent. The only thing trolls need to know is “if you wouldn’t say or do it in public, how the hell is it ok on a social networking site”… No sympathy!

  • Andy J

    He was being a typical smartarse faceless, spineless internet troll and bully. He thought he would look clever and funny in front of his Twitter mates but turned out to have looked like a complete and utter twat. Serves him right.

  • Penny

    Regardless of Dent’s own comments about people, why shouldn’t she retaliate to abuse aimed at her? People she criticises have the same right to reply.
    The stunning thing for me is that this idiot openly reveals where he works so by pulling him up on it maybe he’ll get a rap on the knuckles and learn something about what public relations means!
    When I was in an agency if I’d slated a client in a public forum I’d have been sacked for sure.

  • Kelli

    Who puts their employment information on twitter if they’re going to make personal comments? That’s the silly part about all of this

  • andy

    I wonder what sort of protection there is for people suffering from cyber bullies who go beyond words into actions, sometimes to the point of getting peoples lives destroyed by getting them fired?
    Never heard of this Dent character to tell the truth, but something should be done to stop her cyber bullying.

    Now that would be a worthwhile article.

  • Phil

    @trish he called her to paraphrase “an ugly horse” (not even a mare – just a horse) – she “stood up for herself” by threatening to have him sacked. He is a complete idiot, she is a hypocrite. She has dished out worse. This is not a woman standing up for herself, that’s what women do when they refuse to become victims to rape and outright sexual aggression. She is as much an idiot as he is. Maybe they should start their own PR agency Idiots Inc.

  • arseface666

    Grace Dent is actually saying he *should* be fired – just suggesting that there’s a good chance he will be. At least he admitted he’s an idiot.

  • arseface666

    *isn’t* – I meant *isn’t*!

  • Jo

    As many have already said, Dent is happy to insult and belittle others on Twitter, on exactly the same basis. She is also decidedly disdainful of anyone who isn’t a media type like herself daring to challenge any point she makes. All highly ironic, in fact hypocritical, from someone who writes a TV review column and basically makes a living out of being unpleasant about others, especially those she deems lower status than herself.

  • http://lithics.wordpress.com OrbitalPete

    I’ll let Grace Dent answer for herself…
    https://twitter.com/#!/gracedent/status/3916715188559873

  • Emily Hobbs

    If I was a client of a PR firm and one of their staff showed such spectacular misjudgement, I’d worry about the calibre of service I was paying for too.

    Fair enough people can say what they want on twitter. But this guy’s professional reputation relies on him not doing exactly what he’s just done.

  • http://www.twitter.com Jimbo

    Dent is using her professional position to try to harm the career of someone that made a personal remark in their own time. Well done, Dent, you are now a cyber bully. Idiot.

  • Emily Hobbs

    Jimbo, he tagged Grace Dent’s name in his tweet. The guy’s an idiot.

    If he hadn’t have tagged her, none of this would’ve happened.

  • RedHead

    I wouldn’t exactly class this guy as a troll. Trolls don’t a) just say it once and b) apologise.

  • http://www.twitter.com Jimbo

    Emily, granted, but she could have cut him off at the knees back, rather than use her position to get him sacked. And here is an example of the “angelic” @gracedent http://mobile.twitter.com/gracedent/status/3916715188559873

  • Phil

    I’ll admit that I had to google her when I saw her on HIGNFY – I thought she was a celeb dominatrix or summat. She seems to have enough of a journalistic pedigree for such comments made by the twit-ter to have gone over her head. The fact she didnt let that happen and responded with threatening to use influence to have him sacked – shows a distinct lack of class – almost chav like – but maybe I am just being a Snob

  • http://www.chriskempt.com Chris Kempt

    Maybe I am a horrible cynic but doesn’t this whole thing scream publicity stunt?

  • http://www.thisisxbox.com Jason of Duty

    Well for her to make remarks about his employment, doesn’t that just tell you what a twat she is. OK so he works for the PR firm, she ISNT the PR firm, so I’d tell Grace Dent to just fuck off ugly bastard and get on with it.

  • Clive

    In her ES restaurant review, Dent has the kind of frozen expression Ange had when accompanied by the drumbeat at the end of EastEnders…

  • http://www,mcallisterpr.co.uk Meg McAllister (@MegmacPR)

    Well, on the one hand I would say that Grace Dent should be the bigger person here. Get the guy called on the carpet for what he did…but fired? I would expect a member of the press to have a thicker skin, and a better sense of humour. That said WHAT A MORON! Bad enough to be so ungentlemanly as to make a degrading comment, and to be a PR making said comment about a journo, but to not even seem to know that the journo is a client of the company you work for, so slagging her off is probably NOT a good career move? He should change his twitter handle to @MORON!

  • Daniel Mullings

    His name is there and they still spell it wrong.