NCAA fan Ashley Judd tells why she took Twitter attacks so personally

Ashley Judd cheers for the Kentucky Wildcats during a game against the Florida Gators at Rupp Arena on March 7.
(Andy Lyons / Getty Images)

Ashley Judd is continuing to fight back against what she describes as a “tsunami of gender-based violence and misogyny” she received on Twitter after tweeting an opinion on the SEC championship game between Kentucky and Arkansas on Sunday.

Days after threatening to press charges against the offending parties, the actress and die-hard Wildcats fan penned an essay on Identities.Mic describing the vulgar nature of the tweets she received and the deeply personal reason they bothered her so much.

It all started when Judd tweeted her opinion that Arkansas was “playing dirty.” She has since deleted the tweet and stated that she was concerned for the well-being of the Kentucky players. In the essay, Judd said her uncle expressed similar thoughts on Twitter but was spared the hateful comments she received. “Being a male sports fan is his immunity from abuse,” she said.


“I must, as a woman who was once a girl, as someone who uses the Internet, as a citizen of the world, address personally, spiritually, publicly and even legally, the ripe dangers that invariably accompany being a woman and having an opinion about sports or, frankly, anything else,” Judd wrote.

“What happened to me is the devastating social norm experienced by millions of girls and women on the Internet. Online harassers use the slightest excuse (or no excuse at all) to dismember our personhood. My tweet was simply the convenient delivery system for a rage toward women that lurks perpetually.”

Toward the end of the essay, Judd gets extremely personal, revealing why she had already looked into taking legal action against gender-based attacks on Twitter even before Sunday’s incident: “I am a survivor of sexual assault, rape and incest.”

The next several paragraphs are powerful and difficult to read -- but hopefully they will be read by anyone thinking about writing comments such as the ones Judd received.

She ends with a rallying call, as well as a bit of evidence she’s not about to stop writing about sports:

“I’ve spent valuable March Madness time writing this. I have 6 versus 11 seed upsets to pick and opponents to scout. So for now, I am handing it back over to those of you who are unafraid to speak out against abuse like I have faced, and those of you who are righteous allies and intervening bystanders. You’re on it. Keep at it — on the Internet, at home, at work and in your hearts, where the courage to tackle this may fundamentally lie. We have much to discuss, and much action to take. Join me.”


Twitter: @chewkiii