A Reddit moderator whom Gawker has dubbed “the Biggest Troll on the Web” has been exposed as a longtime Texan. Gawker‘s Adrian Chen revealed Friday that Violentacrez—a Reddit moderator who has handled areas of the site devoted to posting pictures of “jailbait”, celebrating misogyny, and collecting “creepshots,” (voyeuristic shots of unsuspecting young women)—is 49-year-old Arlington resident Michael Brutsch.
If you are capable of being offended, Brutsch has almost certainly done something that would offend you, then did his best to rub your face in it. His speciality is distributing images of scantily-clad underage girls, but as Violentacrez he also issued an unending fountain of racism, porn, gore, misogyny, incest, and exotic abominations yet unnamed, all on the sprawling online community Reddit. At the time I called Brutsch, his latest project was moderating a new section of Reddit where users posted covert photos they had taken of women in public, usually close-ups of their asses or breasts, for a voyeuristic sexual thrill. It was called “Creepshots.” Now Brutsch was the one feeling exposed and it didn’t suit him very well.
“It’s amazing how much you can sweat in a 60 degree office,” Brutsch told Chen after learning the Gawker writer knew his real identity.
In a post on Reddit on Monday, Brutsch—a pudgy, goateed computer programmer—noted that his boss called him Saturday to fire him.
“Hooray for us,” the Dallas Observer‘s Anna Merlan wrote about Violentacrez being a resident of the Metroplex in a blog post, which appropriately was tagged “Generally Bad Ideas” and “Gross.”
Chen notes some of the disturbing details about his personal life Brutsch has overshared on Reddit over the years:
The Violentacrez clan seems to have walked out of a Todd Solondz movie, and a significant part of Violentacrez’s mythos on Reddit comes from the details he’s shared about his family. In 2010, Violentacrez hosted a legendary “Ask Me Anything” thread”—the same Q & A feature Barack Obama took part in last month. He was asked what was the creepiest thing he’d done “IRL” and delighted readers with a tale ripped out of Penthouse letters. “That’d be a tough call,” Violentacrez wrote, “Perhaps oral sex with my 19-year-old stepdaughter.” It was completely consensual, he claimed in the post, and went on to brag about how awesome it had been in graphic detail.
This happened over ten years ago, Violentacrez claimed. When his then-wife, the girl’s mother, found out, she “got mad, then got over it,” Violentacrez wrote. He says they were married for ten more years.
His current wife is similarly accepting of Brutsch’s unsavory side, according to Brutsch. She is not only aware of his online habits, she’s also a prolific Redditor under the handle not_so_violentacrez. She is a founder of the Fibromyalgia subreddit. She has diabetes and plays the online game Kingdom of Camelot. Violentacrez said that at home, the two would lie in bed together with their laptops, both on Reddit, him posting his porn, she posting cute animal videos and pictures of dolphins.
The backlash to Chen’s story on Reddit was swift. “It only takes one lunatic to comb through your profile, find something that can link you to your real-life identity, and mess you up. If it can happen to Violentacrez, it can happen to anyone,” one post on Reddit read. Chen noted the hypocrisy inherent in this response:
Even before I published this article, Reddit had already exploded in outrage. (Gawker sites are now banned from over 60 subreddits, and some pissed off user has signed me up for approximately two dozen mailing lists.) The irony of being upset that a noted custodian of “creepshots” is getting some unwanted attention himself is obvious. Jailbait defenders would often argue that if 14-year-olds didn’t want their bikini pictures to be posted to Reddit, they should not have taken them and uploaded them to their Facebook accounts in the first place. If Brutsch did not want his employers to know that he had become a minor internet celebrity through spending hours every day posting photos of 14-year-olds in bikinis to thousands of people on the internet, he should have stuck to posting cat videos.
In a post about the controversy, NewStatesman’s Alex Hern reminds readers that Condé Nast owns Reddit, but “doesn’t interfere in the day-to-day management.”