Early Saturday morning, Geraldine DeRuiter discovered that her Twitter account had been hacked. The panic didn't set in until tweets under her name began surfacing somewhat mysteriously. Her new pinned tweet now had a racial slur. The tweets she'd authored herself, meanwhile, slowly began disappearing.
Though DeRuiter regained access to her Twitter account roughly 36 hours after discovering the hack, the loss of access to her account was the maddening price she somehow had to pay for a post on her blog, Everywhereist, that had gone viral after she set it live last Wednesday.
In the post, she recounts her own experiences with harassment while making Mario Batali’s recipe for Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls, which he had used to inexplicably punctuate his apology email after facing allegations of sexual misconduct last month. The inclusion of the recipe resulted in confusion, outrage, and accusations of tone deafness and insensitivity. (MUNCHIES reached out to Batali’s team last month about the reaction to this recipe’s inclusion in the email and did not receive a response; we’ve reached out again and still have not received a response. MUNCHIES has worked with Batali in the past.)
As DeRuiter's piece steadily ricocheted across social, she began documenting the charges her critics were leveling against her—accusations that she couldn't write, that she was merely working through her "man-hating" tendencies, that the recipe that she concluded wasn't even worth attempting was actually, in fact, good. The most extreme expression of the backlash DeRuiter received, though, was the hacking of her Twitter.
“I don't think I've received any direct harassment, to be honest,” DeRuiter explained to MUNCHIES over email on Tuesday regarding her article. “I've gotten a few nasty blog comments, which pale in comparison to the supportive ones, about a day or two after the post came out.”
After she first learned her account had been hacked, she explained to me, DeRuiter got half a dozen automated emails from Twitter telling her that they wouldn't be able to do anything because she wasn't emailing them from an email address associated with her Twitter account, even though she insisted to MUNCHIES she was. DeRuiter also claimed that the company told her it might not be able to recover the account for her in spite of the fact that hers is a verified account that she holds copyright over. She was only able to recover access to the account with the help of friends who DeRuiter maintained were “well-connected at Twitter.” (Twitter did not respond to immediate request for comment from MUNCHIES on Tuesday.)
“A woman with something to say and an online platform on which to say it is going to deal with vitriol and harassment,” DeRuiter wrote to MUNCHIES. “This isn't conjecture; it's fact. I tend to write about travel and baking, and even those topics garnered me hate mail. It doesn't matter what you write about, it doesn't matter what you say—you will be harassed.” She maintained that her experiences were relatively minor within the broader spectrum of what many women face online.
DeRuiter explained to MUNCHIES that her main intent in writing the piece at all was to simply highlight the innate absurdity of Batali’s statement.
“He included a recipe in his sexual misconduct apology letter. He somehow thought that was appropriate, and I decided to illustrate how inappropriate it was by discussing my own experiences with harassment as I made the cinnamon rolls,” she wrote. “Also, his recipe was terrible.”