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Multiple Meme Pages Organised Mass-Harassment Of A Reporter Who Called "Aunty Ki Ghanti" Sexist

After the misogynistic track was taken off YouTube, hundreds of Indian men and boys coordinated attacks in 40 meme groups, to defend their freedom to be crass and abusive.

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Omprakash Mishra is an aspiring rapper, whose 2015 release "Aunty Ki Ghanti" shot to popularity earlier this year.

Omprakash Mishra

Many factors seem to be at play in its popularity, including a rising appetite for "cringepop" sustained by artists like Dhinchak Pooja and Taher Shah.

15,000 people said they were "interested" in the event, and eventually hundreds actually showed up at the designated time and place, and actually shouted "Bol na aunty, aau kya?"

The public meet-ups drew attention to the song, and specifically to its lyrics, which a lot of media houses rightly pointed out as being deeply misogynistic.

Omprakash Mishra

In the song, the rapper slut-shames the woman he's singing to ("You let everyone fuck you but you say no to me"), and implies coercive sex with her ("When I meet a girl whose figure I like / I don't let her go without f*cking her").

Shortly thereafter, the song was taken down from YouTube, but not because of Deeksha Sharma or The Quint. It was taken down over a copyright claim by YouTube user Smokedlime.

YouTube

It's unclear who runs Smokedlime, and what their connection is to Omprakash Mishra. It's a relatively new channel whose only two videos are videogame playthroughs.

Despite the fact that The Quint and Deeksha Sharma have no connection with the video being taken down, several meme pages started targeting Deeksha Sharma as the reason the video was taken down.

"When Omprakash's video was taken down due to a copyright strike, that was when hell broke loose for me, Quint Neon and The Quint," Sharma told BuzzFeed. "I got a lot of hate messages from a lot of people."

Sexist memes using Sharma's images started popping up across a network of meme pages.

"There were a few messages here and there on my personal profile, some calling me names/threatening me and some praising the work too," Sharma said. "I had a public Instagram profile which I made private as soon as I got the first comment on my video."

She was subjected to horrifically sexist comments across platforms.

While the organisers themselves didn't explicitly call for a mass-harassment of Sharma, links to her profile were circulated in comments.

An admin of the page Meme Factory, which also aided in organising the "raid", told BuzzFeed that even Sharma's personal phone number was circulated in some groups organising her trolling.

We reached out to the admins of multiple pages involved in the harassment. One responded, explaining that the harassment was organised in Facebook groups of multiple meme pages and members of their communities.

A majority of the meme pages are protesting Quint for "ruining a meme" by calling for its takedown.

Others seem to fall into the trope of defending their freedom to have "fun" by trolling the "feminazi" who's threatening to "ruin" it.

While these pages appear to pride themselves on some "edginess," their humour relies on the oldest, most conventional and conservative tropes that exist in comedy, such as equating women with domestic work as pictured above.

As far as we can tell, pages and groups involved in the mass-harassment include (but are not limited to):

• MemeMandir

• Meme Factory

• Meme Bachao, Meme Badao Yojana

• Error 69!

• Best Indian Starter Pack

• Blond Maymays

• Dankster

• Edgy Memes for Desi Teens

• Caltron Gags

• Memerable Indian Pundits

• Memestan

Members of this self-identified "community" have revealed that they've carried out similar "raids" before.

Earlier this year, possibly the same collection of meme pages organised to downrate viral content site ScoopWhoop, after ScoopWhoop claimed copyright over a meme posted by meme page Andi Mandi Memes.

Then, too, the cause driving their protest was to keep memes "free". In that instance, the "raiding" and protesting didn't escalate into mass-sexual harassment, as Sharma of The Quint has faced this week, because there was no woman involved.

Deeksha Sharma and The Quint have filed complaints with the police and the cybercell. Sharma told BuzzFeed she could tell that this was an organised, not organic, act of harassment.

The Quint / Via thequint.com

"This has only stuck itself mostly to Facebook, which makes me feel it's all organised," Sharma told BuzzFeed.

One message Sharma received said, "We the meme community will take you down."

BuzzFeed has reached out to Omprakash Mishra, multiple page admins, and to Facebook for comment. This post will be updated if and when they respond.

UPDATE

Administrators of the following pages have reached out to BuzzFeed to deny involvement in the harassment: FRB Trolls, Shit Indians Say, XDA-OT, Urban Fictionary, and Tappu Teens 2.0.

UPDATE

A Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed: “We want Facebook to be a safe environment for everyone in our community and will remove reported content or profiles that violate our Community Standards. These standards do not allow hate speech or credible threats, which includes content that threatens sexual violence. We’re reviewing reported content and profiles and removing any that violate. We also recently introduced Facebook Safety for Journalists – resources developed in association with journalists – to help them remain secure and safe on Facebook.”

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