PSA: MikeeUSA’s hate speech and harassment

TRIGGER WARNING: this post discusses sexual assault, threats of violence, and actual violence against women. If you link to this post, please include a similar warning. See below for more information on how/why to do this.

I think we need to address this.

There is a guy out there who goes by the name of MikeeUSA and who, since around 2005, has been posting threatening and harrassing comments and emails to and about women in the free and open source software community.

Most recently, in response to the Mark Shuttleworth incident, he’s been commenting on related blogs comparing us (me, Mackenzie, Carla Schroder by name, and other geek feminists in general) to Nina Reiser, who was killed by her husband, Linux file systems hacker Hans Reiser, in 2006.

The women of the “geek feminism” movement will be just as effective at excising men from the movement as Nina was at systematically destroying Hans Reiser’s life untill he saw no reason, nothing left in his life, that could hold him back from striking back.

The same comment was copy-pasted to numerous other blogs, including this one (twice), but has been deleted by most blog owners.

This is the same guy who was responsible for the Debian death threats I mentioned in my post about George Sodini and parallels in the tech community. In 2007, he sent the following to the debian-women mailing list:

Yea you’ve become a developer… and have done nearly nothing except shill your feminist shit and try to turn debian into a woman’s project (you are succeeding, men are leaving debian because of you and your ilk, worthless bitch).


I pray you find your way into a feminist unfriendly country one day. God willing, you will die.

Happily the feminist-unfriendly countries are immigrating to you. Remeber the netherlands? Feminists die there.

He has a hate blog at where he posts the same sort of stuff.

Men going to jail for hitting their wives is bad for men.

Men going to jail for raping their wives is bad for men.

Men losing their jobs because they said or did a “sexist” thing is bad for men.

Men being pushed out of opensource projects at the behest of WORTHLESS feminist women is bad for men and that which men create.


As for Nina Reiser: she deserved to die for what she put Hans through. She did die. Justice, men’s retributitive justice, was done. She will never live again, she is finished; she is dead.

This is what he tells men:

Go to the local women’s group office and liquidate it (kill the feminist women there). Wear a dark suit and drive an expensive car (these are more likely not to be suspect). Continue destroying the people who have helped to destroy countless of your fellow Men untill you are killed. Go from women’s rights organisation’s office to women’s rights organisation’s office, maybe throw in a few domestic violence shelters and abortion clinics if you wish.

And as for his views on statutory rape — sex with girls as young as 12, who he believes “belong to men” — well, read his comments here, here, or here.

He’s previously been banned from Blogspot, DeviantArt, and AdBrite, DynDNS, and even the Napster forums (search within page for “Drew Armon”) for his hate speech. He is also the only person ever to have been banned from Debian’s bug tracking system.

Along with his blog posts and comments, he has also sent similar threats by email to individual women, specifically free and open source software developers. While some of the women who received his emails shared them with others and banded together to deal with the problem, others thought they were his only target, and deleted his emails and did not initally let anyone know about them.

This is completely understandable — our first reaction, and the traditional wisdom of how to deal with trolls, is to ignore them and hope they go away. But the effect on each of us, when we try to deal with this stuff alone, is to make us feel isolated, afraid, and impotent. And it becomes one of the many tiny cuts that weaken us and, eventually, drive us away.

Let’s not do that. Let’s stand together and support each other.

Here’s what you can do.

Moderate comments on your blog.

Your blog is your space, and like your own living room or workplace, you have the right and the responsibility to make it a safe environment for those who gather there.

This was a core issue at the time of Kathy Sierra’s online harrassment and withdrawal from blogging. It led Tim O’Reilly and others to propose a bloggers’ code of conduct and others to respond with Moderation isn’t rocket science and John Scalzi’s eye-rolling which said, in part:

Indeed, the reason that we’re now at a point where some self-appointed guardians of the discourse have decided it’s necessary to tell the rest of us slobs how to talk to each other is that people apparently forgot they have the right on their own sites to tell obnoxious dickheads to shut the hell up. […]

What the blog world needs is not a universal “Code of Conduct”; what it needs is for people to remind themselves that deleting comments from obnoxious dickheads is a good thing.

Whether you decide to institute a comment policy as we have on GF, or to moderate on an ad-hoc basis as required, is up to you. But remember that deleting abusive comments is not censorship. Only the government can censor, and even governments draw the line at threats of violence, which are illegal pretty much everywhere.

Save copies of all correspondence.

Keep a copy of any blog comments, emails, or other correspondence you get from Mikee or anyone else who threatens or harasses you. Even if it starts out mild, it never hurts to have a paper trail.

Where appropriate, let other people know you’ve received threats or harassment. It might be relevant to mention it on a women’s mailing list (eg. one of the LinuxChix lists, or project-specific “Foo-women” lists) and ask whether anyone else has received anything similar. Point them at this post so they know what to do, too.

Report threats to law enforcement.

Threats of violence are illegal, and should be reported to law enforcement. Law enforcement must take them seriously, regardless of whether they occur online or off; if you think they won’t care, remember that the spectre of George Sodini will cause them to take online misogyny more seriously than they would have before this year.

Your first step is to contact your local police, wherever you are. You can call 911 (or local equivalent), or visit your local police station in person. Make sure you have saved your correspondence (see above).

Some countries have specific law enforcement divisions to deal with Internet-related crime. For instance, in Australia, the Australian Federal Police have a division that deals with technology enabled crime. Generally, you would not contact these divisions directly. Just contact your local police and they will escalate as required.

Other useful information

  • MikeeUSA also goes by the nicknames Mikee, Mike, Mitch O’Brian, and Drew Armon.
  • According to this profile posted in 2004 (screencap), his real name seems to be Mike McAllister and he is around 19 years old. On the other hand, his Sourceforge profile suggests that his surname starts with B, and this IRC log in which he says he was 18 in 2005 suggests he is currently 22-23 years old.
  • He has recently been using the email address though he changes regularly; other addresses include a number of variations on, and As you can see, he most commonly uses Yahoo’s free email service. He previously (ca. 2002) used Drew and New as of today, we’ve found he’s using, a Mailinator domain which provides anonymous, throwaway addresses.
  • He uses a dynamic DNS service for the server that hosts some of his websites; his server is connected to Optimum Online, an ISP which serves New York and surrounding areas, and his IP has been traced to Bay Shore NY, which matches the profile linked above where he says he’s from Islip NY.
  • When posting comments on blogs, he may use Tor to obfuscate his location; in this case blocking him based on IP address won’t work, though you may be able to block him based on email, username, or keywords in his comments.

Thanks to Leigh Honeywell for gathering most of the above information. Some further information came from “directhex” in this comment thread on Mackenzie’s blog. We (myself and Leigh) have additional information if you, or law enforcement authorities, need it. Please feel free to get in touch.

A note on trigger warnings

Please remember that many women in our community have been the targets of violence and sexual assault, or have a justifiable fear of becoming a target. Reading about these threats may cause extreme and immediate emotional and psychological distress, which is referred to as being “triggered”. If you are not familiar with triggers, you might like to read this post (Warning: Very explicit discussion of sexual assault and the nature, anatomy, cause & effect of triggers. Is itself triggery.)

Please, if you are going to link to this post, or to any other discussion of or writing by MikeeUSA or his ilk, or to post anything about this on your own blog, add a trigger warning to your post. This will allow readers to manage their reading and protect themselves. You can use the trigger warning at the top of this post as an example.

Comment policy reminder

A reminder that we have a comment policy here which means we will delete comments which are anti-feminist, abusive, or otherwise inappropriate at our sole discretion. Since we expect there to be a lot of people commenting, I’d also like to pre-empt any kneejerk reactions along the lines of “you should just ignore trolls” or “this is censorship” with an invitation for you to post those views on your own blog, not here.

47 thoughts on “PSA: MikeeUSA’s hate speech and harassment

  1. Mackenzie

    If you get one of his emails, here’s how to save all the information about how it got from him (sender) to you:

    KMail: View -> Headers -> All Headers
    Evolution: View -> Message Source (or Ctrl+U)
    Thunderbird: View -> Headers -> All

    GMail: Hit the down arrow next to “Reply” on the message, then choose “Show Original”

    1. Terri

      You can also use Ctrl+U to view “message source” on Thunderbird, which gives results which are a bit easier to cut and paste if you’re looking to record stuff.

    2. Leigh Honeywell

      In the interest of comprehensiveness:

      In Outlook: right-click on the message, choose “options”, and copy from there

      In Outlook Express: right-click on the message, choose “properties”, and copy from the “details” tab

      In mutt, hit the “h” key while viewing a message to see full headers.

    3. Joel Goguen

      May as well toss mine in here too. For Pine (I assume the newer and actually developed Alpine as well) it’s the same as Mutt, push ‘h’ to display headers.

  2. Liz Henry

    Thanks for working on this and for posting, Skud, Leigh, and everyone. I think it’s important for us to say and to expose.

    1. brainwane

      It’s so horrible to get these threats; it must be even more horrible to receive one of these threats and think you’re alone! I’m so glad we are standing together and supporting each other.

      1. Mel

        And sharing coping strategies, too. This was the first time I’d ever gotten a comment like this (yup, got Mikee’d this afternoon), and without the presence of a network like GF, I could very easily have concluded that “coming out” as female last week was a mistake and that I ought to stick my head back down and try Even Harder at becoming as androgynous as possible.

        As it was, I still came pretty close – which ultimately turned out to be good, because it (1) pointed out to me that I need to pre-emptively develop better strategies for dealing with this kind of thing so I don’t have to vacillate in energy-sucking solitude in the future, and (2) ended up making me reaffirm my decision to be openly female and feminist, which is still an Extremely Scary Thing for me.

        Just being told and shown (by Skud, and then Mackenzie, and then this post and comments thread) that it was OK to delete the thread, and it was OK to talk about it (I’d been going “…but am I making too much fuss? Maybe I should just leave it and not tell anyone; it doesn’t matter that it makes me uncomfortable and upset”) made a huge difference. So thanks to y’all for being here, and doing what you do.

    2. Rick Scott

      Hear, hear. Thanks for doing the work required to connect the dots, and for standing up and tackling this head-on.

  3. brainwane

    When I looked at that Debian bug, I was so proud to learn that two of my colleagues, years before I met them, were helping exclude this abuser from their — our — community. Choice lines include “Tags: wontfix” and Tollef Fog Heen’s message, which reads in its entirety, “Please go away.”

  4. Mel

    Man, that’s really scary and disturbing.

    One note: that profile that he posted in 2004 where he says he’s 14 doesn’t make sense with a join date of 2000 (age 10? that’s some serious lack of supervision). If he were 14 in 2000, however, he’d be 23 now, consistent with the IRC log. But who knows? He could be 40. I’d like to think it takes more than 20 years to build up that much persecution complex and hate.

    1. Skud Post author

      Thanks Mel, that was a thinko/conflation of two different pages on my part. I meant 2004 — if you check the profile you’ll see that’s the date on it — which means if he was 14 then he’s 19 now. I’ve fixed the post.

    2. Joel Goguen

      There’s a case in Canada right now about a young girl not yet in high school who is (hopefully “was” by now) able to speak calmly and graphically about fairly violent methods of how non-straight non-white people should be removed from Canada. This appears to be due to her upbringing in an allegedly neo-Nazi household (although with the propaganda and associated crap the cops found, it’s “alleged” only because the court case isn’t over yet AFAIK…). Maybe because of this, I don’t find it hard to believe that this character was only 10 at the time.

      Of course, you’re still right and the dates don’t match up, I’m just saying that with the right wrong environment it’s easily possible.

  5. Sam Bowne

    I really appreciate the careful and measured response you have given. I will show it to my students as an example of the right way to handle outrageous abuse. Keep up the good work!

  6. Cesy

    Thanks for documenting this, and reminding people that deleting troll comments on your own blog is not censorship.

  7. Thaily

    “Remeber the netherlands? Feminists die there. ”

    ORLY? Because I’m a Dutch feminist and I’m very much alive and kicking (or clicking, if you’d like to stay with the geek theme) as are all my female friends, my male friends, my fiancé etc. etc.

    Seriously, if people (and I use the term loosely) like Mike think that men are so fucking awesome, why would they at the same time be so intimidated by women that they’re “forced” to leave project feminist women are working on?
    And if he thinks he’s so awesome, why is he hiding behind Tor etc.

    I’d feel sad that he is a person of so little substance that he feels threatened by us, but he’s too much of an obnoxious twit to sympathize with. The police should probably look into this before he does turn into another Sodini.

  8. Andrew Bouchard

    I am not by any stretch of the imagination a feminist; in fact, I’ve been called the opposite. I’m all about the traditional family, gender roles, and I believe that stereotypes exist for a reason. For the record, I have no problem with female programmers, but let’s just say most feminists and I don’t see eye-to-eye. So when I followed the link to this article off a friend’s blog, I was expecting to roll my eyes at a bunch of hyper-reactionary whining about some trivial off-hand comment.

    It’s funny how, having been surrounded by people most of my life who don’t equate gender as a reflection of ability, I’ve become so spoiled as to think that people who are truly violently misogynistic are a thing of the past. I became so turned off to feminism by people who get upset at the gender bias of the word ‘history’ (his-story) and who hate men so much as to spell their own identifier ‘womyn’ that I was distracted from realizing that there is a legitimate reason that women do still need safe spaces, with people to gather together and guard each other from such things.

    I’ve dealt with my own brands of hate speech, though mine were for my opinions, and I know how much even patently false words can be like a cheese grater on your soul. The kind of thing that this blog reports on isn’t right, and I’m glad to see that people are banding together to deal with it well. I wish that I could offer more than just the supportive words of someone who, in most circumstances, might just be another male chauvinist pig (been called that before), but that’s what I’ve got. Well done, and keep up the good work.

    [Ed: removed final sentence commenting on personal appearance of geek women.]

  9. Trix

    Actually I don’t know if involving the police in a lone nutter’s pathetic threats is a particularly wise strategy unless there is evidence the threats are becoming particularly targeted or are escalating. I would suggest to anyone that they check out Gavin de Becker’s book, The Gift of Fear, which is excellent.

    However, yes, definitely keep a record, disengage, moderate – why don’t more people moderate comments, seriously? – and involve the police when necessary (which, of course, is up to you individually), and don’t get sucked into a “dialogue” with people like these.

    1. brainwane

      Well, The Gift Of Fear notes that involving the police is less useful with regards to stalkers/battering husbands when the abuser is aware of the police involvement, and it doesn’t immediately lead to any constraint on the abuser’s behavior. You’ve spent your threat, the police have come round and said “don’t do that anymore” but not taken any real action, and now the abuser feels even more empowered. (p. 246 of the paperback in my edition)

      But that’s separate from quietly giving the police evidence so they can build a case over the long term.

      Also, de Becker notes (next page) that, when a basically sane person just doesn’t get that what he’s doing is unacceptable and thinks it’s fun/romantic, a restraining order can clarify boundaries. I’m paraphrasing massively of course.

    2. emmajane

      In helping to research this post, I phoned the police department and asked what action I should recommend women take if they receive death threats by email. The answer was, “Phone the police, or dial 911.” If the police are asking women to take this action, I think it’s wise to do what they’ve asked.

  10. Laughingrat

    I’m glad you’re posting this, and I’m sorry this obsessive misogynist is doing such horrible things to you and other tech women.

    So much for “online misogyny is harmless and impersonal, just ignore it.” Ugh.

  11. johnnycocaine

    I had no idea someone like this was active in the geek community. Horrible. I’m glad I found this site. If there’s anything I can do to help, let me know. I’ll spread the word.

  12. Mislav Marohnić

    I would like someone to help me understand this issue better. No doubt that everybody agrees that this unpleasant character is certainly misogynistic, but what part of his messages quoted in this article is threatening? God willing, you will die is a curse and hateful speech, but in my opinion it’s far from saying I’m going to kill you.

    Don’t get me wrong—I’m not defending this person—I’m just wondering if tomorrow some ISP revealed his identity and whereabouts and he was brought to court by women he sent emails to, could the court find him guilty for threats by death and other acts of violence based on this evidence?

    1. Skud Post author

      IANAL and all that, but I had a bit of a look at the New York Penal Code, and here’s what I found.

      First up, the most relevant stuff is in section 120, where it defines various degrees of stalking. The fourth degree is:

      A person is guilty of stalking in the fourth degree when he or she intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person, and knows or reasonably should know that such conduct:

      1. is likely to cause reasonable fear of material harm to the physical health, safety or property of such person, a member of such person`s immediate family or a third party with whom such person is acquainted; or

      2. causes material harm to the mental or emotional health of such person, where such conduct consists of following, telephoning or initiating communication or contact with such person, a member of such person`s immediate family or a third party with whom such person is acquainted, and the actor was previously clearly informed to cease that conduct […]

      It goes on a bit more, but you get the gist — it’s about “reasonable fear” and “mental and emotional harm”, not about the specific wording.

      The third degree goes on to say that it’s basically the same as the 4th but you do it to 3 or more people, or that you threaten death or rape. That’s a more serious crime, obviously. And then section 485 on hate crimes says that if you do any of the other stuff because of someone’s gender, it exacerbates it and bumps it up a level, which brings third degree stalking up from a misdemeanour to a felony.

      I will add, though, that I am personally holding off on calling law enforcement because the only comment that I personally received was the one quoted first, that got pasted all round blogs in the last week, which is IMHO a little oblique. Still disturbing, but to my mind not as actionable as the Debian death threats from ’07, which I did not receive as I wasn’t active in the community at that time. I might be making the wrong choice here; I’m not sure. I’m going to continue to think about it.

    2. Jacinta Reid

      Even if there are no laws against inciting people to commit rape, statutory or otherwise, I would hope that there are laws against inciting people to go on shooting rampages.

    3. koipond

      Please also note that he has on various other forums and places called for the death of feminist and women. When someone has a history of that, mentioning the word “die” even if he is not the one doing the death dealing in that statement is still a death threat.

  13. Alan

    That is exceptionally foul. I expect he’s “just” trolling to get a rise out of people, but his ass belongs in jail. Threats are illegal, period. The victim to should not have to distinguish between trolling and actual threats. Unfortunately I gather it’s hard to convince law enforcement that internet threats are serious enough to get the necessary warrants to find this nutjob. If the FBI were to investigate, he’d be busted within a few weeks.

    1. Rick

      Yeah, agreed. IMHO, there’s a definite distinction to be made between “trolling” (saying things to get a rise out of people) and making threats of physical or other harm. This doesn’t excuse trolls and their behaviour, but harassment isn’t trolling, and the “just ignore it and it’ll stop” advice shouldn’t be applied to it.

      As for law enforcement taking things seriously — after Sodini’s misogynist shootings, you would hope that they would take threatening behaviour on the ‘net more seriously, especially when there’s an extensive, repeated pattern, like there is here.

      1. FoolishOwl

        While MikeeUSA is much worse than just a troll, I don’t think trolls should be taken lightly, either. Trolls aren’t always just immature people trying to “get a rise out of people.” Quite often, and especially in online forums oriented to political and social causes, they’re methodically trying to shut down the discussion or take over the forum by driving out the existing community. They will use teamwork and planning to accomplish this. I’ve seen online communities wiped out by the deliberate efforts of misogynists, racists, and extreme right-wingers to do so.

        I don’t believe ignoring trolls is the right way to handle it. For many trolls, that counts as victory — they know that less confident community members will withdraw, and lurkers will be intimidated from full participation in the community. Therefore, I believe that trolls should either be held up for public humiliation (by disemvowelling, for example) or banned outright.

  14. Terri

    Last go ’round, a bunch of us made sure that his yahoo account of the moment and his blogger blog were both shut down. I don’t know much about but it may be worth complaining to them and/or their upstream provider that they’re hosting a hate speech filled blog.

    1. Don Oorst

      Good stuff Terri! I work with an anti-racist group in australia, and part of what we do is going after neo-nazis on the net who try and victimize other people via their blogs and the like. Some of its just terrible. One guy was publishing home addresses and photos and phone numbers of local queer crew with suggestion that people have “harsh words” with them. Despite good cooperation by local police, Blogger just wasn’t interested, citing the first amendment, despite the fact that this was all occuring in australia. It was very frusturating, especially after one of this guys victims got bashed, and another had a hit-and-run attempt on his life.

  15. FoolishOwl

    Likewise. I tend to favor taking firm measures in response to simple trolling, and this guy is much more threatening than a simple troll.

  16. moose

    Years ago when Usenet was still The Thing I was stalked by a then-Known Usenet Kook. The guy lived in the same town as me. He was known to be literally crazy, a former lawyer who was known for hate spam, stalking & other “fun” activities. He regularly spewed stuff about me all over not just local Usenet groups (although he did “name” a local group [that nobody carried] after me:”$city.c**t”.) He threatened to get me fired. He got his hands on my phone number and left your generic stalker messages on my voicemail (“I”m watching you”, heavy breathing, etc.)

    I was worried, no doubt. I was even scared a few times, being female & living alone. But I resolved not to let it dominate my life. I kept records, I made some responses about what he was doing. Mostly I did not respond to him. After a while he disappeared. I suspect he might have finally been committed.

    It’s a crappy thing to have happen. No one should feel like they are in jeopardy because of some nutjob. A troll is bad, a violent troll is trouble.

    DO be vigilant. DO spread the word about him. DO keep good records. But I urge you to NOT respond to things he says. Keep the info about him centralized so it doesn’t become a repeated topic. And above all, be careful. But don’t let him stop you. Because, as much as it disgusts me to say it, he’s not the only one out there.

  17. Asad

    I went through a good chunk of his blog (several pages at least), and bulk of his anger is directed at his inability to have a “young girl” as his “wife” to rape—he repeatedly states he wants to marry 12 year old, and continuously posts Deuteronomy bits about how the only penalty for raping 12-year-old girls should be to be obliged to marry them (and thus continue to rape them). Pretty much the entire blog is about that, these are not just side comments.

    This seems to be the sum total of his obsession with women in open source. He realizes that women moving into male spaces is precisely the reason why he can’t satisfy his sexual fetish legally. He’s like the raw id of pedophilic patriarchality. There’s a bit where he describes his observation of a girl of 13 watching cartoons and obviously in mid-pubescence, and he asks why he cannot rape her there and then.

    This dude is not a troll, he is at risk of committing violent pedophilic rape. This is a George Sodini case, possibly multiplied by some nontrivial factor.

  18. Asad

    Also, interestingly, Google seems to have dropped him or never indexed him, at least in that a “site:…” query doesn’t work on his site, which is in one sense unfortunate in that Google is an easy way to get a count of term occurrences.

  19. Shane Curcuru

    Good work on the nicely organized history and suggestions.
    Um, ick. Yeah, there are people like that in the world, I just tend to forget they actually, y’know, actively poke their typewriters into the serious geek world.
    Good luck to anyone having to deal with direct harassment.
    Did I say ick?

    I’m a free speech advocate too. However, I feel no qualms about nuking spam or other inappropriate comments off of any of my blogs or discussion fora. I used to find this quote to be helpful in explaining where free speech applies – and where it doesn’t – to those who all-too quickly scream “censor!”

    One explanation for moderating comments – in whatever way a blog owner feels like, without having to worry about it (and you shouldn’t) – was well put by William Bennett Turner in WIRED magazine 4.03, “What Part of ‘No Law’ Don’t You Understand?”

    “Correctly interpreted, the First Amendment does not prohibit all restrictions on speech. It doesn’t prohibit private restrictions at all. Our constitution is a series of constraints on government, not on individuals or even powerful corporations. It is not a violation of the First Amendment for the Microsoft Network, if it so desired, to forbid postings that criticize Bill Gates. Microsoft is not the government, at least not yet. Similarly, CompuServe’s censorship of sex newsgroups may offend freedom lovers but does not violate the First Amendment.”

    A tad dated perhaps, but still a useful point. We each have our own personal soapboxes, and should feel free to paint them whatever colors we want.

    1. Mary

      I hope this is just me being Captain Obvious, but bloggers and/or posters outside the USA (and some within it) may not especially care what the correct interpretation of the first amendment to the US Constitution is, and I’m not sure how effective that quote would be in that case.

  20. Don Oorst

    Yeah I think its also important to remember the role men (like me) have in this. I’m a personal believer that standing by and watching ones workmates/family/friends/community victimised simply by virtue of a surface attribute (gender/race/sexuality/ethnicity) is a form of collusion. So yeah, its important for guys who witness this sort of reaction to stand up too and not let neanderthals speak for our gender.

    I’m sorry some of you womenfolk have had to put up with this dickhead, it reflects badly on us guys and for that I’m really sorry.

    Best of luck.

  21. Mary

    For reference, his activities this week seem to be focussing on IRC, including spamming channels and private messaging individuals with set messages. (Information from the LinuxChix volunteers list.)

  22. Damijan

    Women should die!

    Gee. This guy is an idiot and he seriously needs professional help. Thank you for your excellent post.



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