Yesterday, an anonymous Twitter user targeted Vanity Fair contributing editor Kurt Eichenwald with a tweet meant to trigger a seizure, the writer revealed this morning. Eichenwald has epilepsy, and the tweeted strobe successfully caused him to seize. Now, he’ll be coordinating with police and Twitter to unmask the tweeter. Eichenwald also says he’s taking a much-needed break from the social network. See below:
The attacker tweeted under the name @jew_goldstein, according to Mediaite, but that account has since been suspended.
This attack follows drama earlier this week between President-elect Donald Trump and Eichenwald’s employer. Vanity Fair published a scathing review of the Trump Grill restaurant on Wednesday to which Trump responded:
The feud between the publication, its editor Graydon Carter, and Trump goes back decades. As Eater wrote this week, the two men have been feuding since the ‘80s, when Carter referred to Trump as a “short-fingered vulgarian” in Spy magazine. Eichenwald has also extensively covered Trump during the election season and in years prior to his political rise.
As far as attacks on people with epilepsy, this form factor is nothing new. Even Eichenwald has claimed to have been attacked twice so far this year. He wrote in Newsweek in October that a Trump supporter attempted to induce a seizure with a epileptogenic cartoon. That time, he was able to drop his iPad before seizing.
Anonymous commenters also targeted epilepsy forums in 2008. They posted flashing animations to trigger seizures for forum visitors. At the time, Wired noted it might have been the first time a “computer attack inflicted physical harm on victims.” Now, as Eichenwald mentions in his tweets, the question becomes, does a tweet qualify as assault?