Alice Hoffman did not like getting a negative review. She took to twitter and posted some very mean things about Ms. Silman, who is a respected writer in her own right and "recipient of both a Guggenheim Fellowship (1979-80) and an NEA Fellowship (1983)".
Hoffman's twitter account has been deleted, but Gawker has some screenshots of some of the nasty things that she posted about Silman. Among the things she posted:
“Roberta Silman in the Boston Globe is a moron. How do some people get to review books? And give the plot away.”
“Now any idiot can be a critic. Writers used to review writers. My second novel was reviewed by Ann Tyler. So who is Roberta Silman?”
She also posted Silman's email address and phone number, and encouraged her twitter followers to call and harass Silman. For being a moron who just didn't get Hoffman's book.
According to the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act, introduced in the House of Representatives on April 2, 2009, that makes Hoffman a cyberbully.
Sec. 881. Cyberbullying
`(a) Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
`(b) As used in this section--
`(1) the term `communication' means the electronic transmission, between or among points specified by the user, of information of the user's choosing, without change in the form or content of the information as sent and received; and
`(2) the term `electronic means' means any equipment dependent on electrical power to access an information service, including email, instant messaging, blogs, websites, telephones, and text messages.'.
I'd say that calling someone a "moron" on twitter, and posting their email address and phone number and encouraging your followers to harass her, certainly qualifies as "cyberbullying" under the murky language of this proposed bill.
If only it had been passed back in April, some enterprising prosecutor could be making a name for himself, hauling Alice Hoffman off in handcuffs tonight.
Alice Hoffman, cyberbully.