Women’s Wear Daily
04.20.2014
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Memo Pad: Bad Words... Remember Us?... Polo's Newest Player...

After two years of dishing out criticisms of media personalities, celebrities and other fame seekers for Gawker.com, Jessica Coen is a kinder and gentler blogger now.

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Martha Stewart in front of one of her windows

Martha Stewart in front of one of her windows.

Photo By WWD Staff

BAD WORDS: After two years of dishing out criticisms of media personalities, celebrities and other fame seekers for Gawker.com, Jessica Coen is a kinder and gentler blogger now. In the October issue of Glamour, Coen admits the backlash from her words made her rethink what was acceptable online behavior. "It's all too easy to be cruel from the safety of your laptop," she writes. "I certainly was at times, hurling my opinions with little regard for the effect they might have had. Now I choose my words more carefully — but it was a difficult and emotional lesson for me to learn."

The site Coen inherited is not exactly Reader's Digest — one of Coen's own greatest hits included calling former Star editor in chief Joe Dolce a "douche bag" in her final post. But shouldn't someone who spews such venom expect the same in return? "Yes, I knew what I was signing up for, but I couldn't have predicted the wear it would have on me," she told WWD.

More than just harsh words, Coen said readers went so far as to create a Yahoo account in her name and assume her identity, send her pornographic e-mails and make nasty comments on her appearance — all anonymously. "I readily admit and cough up to all the things I wrote," she said. "But the people that react to you online, when they think they're anonymous, they're 100 times more ridiculous." Coen also said that while her Gawker.com co-editor Jesse Oxfeld also endured swipes, the attacks on her were more personal. "Men aren't called bitches, and I was called one all the time."

Choire Sicha, Gawker's managing editor and Coen's predecessor, said: "She's absolutely right that women get treated differently on the Internet. That's 100 percent true and she and others get treated 5,000 times worse than men." Coen writes that Perez Hilton, not known for his politeness, posted both Coen and Oxfeld's phone numbers and home addresses on his blog, though she does not name him in the story. Hilton, now blogging for Glamour himself, is unrepentant. "I would at least have liked to have had a name check," he said. "Any press is good press." As for those who critique the ruthless tone of blogs like his, "If you don't like what I'm writing, then don't read it."
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