Directed by Cynthia Lowen (USA, 2018, 96 min.). Digital.
Filmmaker Cynthia Lowen’s (Bully) latest documentary continues her investigation of the complex psychology of contemporary America. This powerful film focuses on three women and their war against the internet’s most malevolent forces: online, physical, and emotional harassment. Carrie Goldberg is an attorney who started her own practice when she was unable to find one that fits her concerns as a survivor of both domestic violence and cyber abuse from a boyfriend of four months. Tina Reine is a successful business woman who struggles to regain control over her life and career after a former lover creates a vicious blog dedicated to shaming her. Anita Sarkeesian, known for her web videos “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games,” was at the center of the ‘Gamergate’ controversy and is a constant subject of harassment. They battle a justice system that refuses to see digital abuse as a crime – and challenge the idea that cyber harassment exists ‘only’ online. Lowen’s documentary examines not just social and institutional indifference (though the #metoo movement is changing much of this) but also the strategies that women are forced to create in order to navigate a culture that all too often doesn’t understand the cruelty and vindictiveness that can be experienced on the internet.
NETIZENS will be followed by a panel discussion led by Kendra Albert, a clinical instructional fellow at the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard Law School, with Chinmayi Arun, a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center.