Don’t forget about the ‘good’ internet hatred

As Sweden continues to discuss internet hatred, Paulina Neuding, editor of centre-right Swedish magazine Neo, argues that the left openly subjects opinion-makers who disagree with them to similarly hateful comments.

Don't forget about the 'good' internet hatred

There’s no doubt that internet hatred and threats against people who actively take part in public discourse are a growing problem. But when Sveriges Television’s (SVT) investigative news programme Uppdrag granskning examined the topic last week, the perspective was almost entirely restricted to women who were attacked for their leftist views.

Internet hatred, I can tell you, also affects women who are not on the left. We have that in common, but there is a striking difference: Hatred directed at us from the left often finds its way into the established media.

Some examples: Last summer, Sara Skyttedal, vice chairwoman of the Young Christian Democrats, wrote a critical piece about the Pride Festival in which she argued that the festival was fixated on sex and exhibitionism, and in so doing did homosexuals a disservice.

She was subsequently met with aggressive, unwarranted attacks from established journalists and pundits.

The one who probably went the farthest was musician and liberal commentator Alexander Bard who wrote: “WHO ASKED YOU FOR YOUR FASCIST OPINION? We are NOT HERE TO PLEASE YOU! Fuck off, BITCH!”

Nor do these phenomena only affect women.

Last summer, the left-wing cartoonists at Galago Magazine joked that Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) editorial writer Per Gudmundson should be shot. When SvD filed a report with the Justice Chancellor (Justitiekanslern, JK), Gudmundson was mocked for being easily offended.

Simon Fors, a local Left Party politician who sits on the municipal and county councils in Pajala and Norrbotten in northern Sweden, tweeted: “Don’t all people with a brain advocate that Gudmundson be executed?”

Additionally, the site Vita kränkta män (‘Wronged white men’) regularly exposes and mocks men whom its administrator considers not to be sufficiently equality-minded or left-leaning. This site and its author are celebrated in the traditional media for being amusing and progressive.

Conservative columnist and blogger Alice Teodorescu has received death threats for her views on integration and equality – partly because she’s not a feminist. Among other things, people have written that you should “load your rifle” when you see her and accused her of writing that “foments class hatred”.

Another SvD columnist, Johanne Hildebrandt, has been threatened with rape and murder. She has also said that the hateful internet trolls targeting her become more active every time Åsa Linderborg or Jan Guillou accuse her in the Aftonbladet newspaper of being a warmonger.

“The hatred from the left is the worst,” she said when we met up this week.

“They think they are morally superior, that they can spout off anything they want.”

Pundits that would scream bloody murder if Skyttedal, Teodorescu, Hildebrandt, or I were paid less than men, or were subjected to repressive tactics in the boardroom, do not hesitate to write that we are disgusting, idiots, and fascists.

And this isn’t behaviour exclusive to the internet trolls.

When Aftonbladet’s opinion pages devoted two articles to finding similarities between me and Anders Behring Breivik – to underpin their thesis that we were both child killers – I had the same concern as Hildebrandt did: that such a comparison would spawn many more and more aggressive attacks from the haters.

We expected comments like those who agree with the Left Party’s Simon Fors when he wrote that “Moderates deserve nothing but bullets”.

That’s what hatred from the left looks like. The refined, “good” hatred that affects men and women because we are not sufficiently pacifist, queer, feminist, or simply because we aren’t on the left.

Paulina Neuding

Editor-in-Chief, Neo


This article was originally published in Swedish in the (SvD) newspaper Svenska Dagbladet

English translation by The Local.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Putellas becomes second Spanish footballer in history to win Ballon d’Or

Alexia Putellas of Barcelona and Spain won the women's Ballon d'Or prize on Monday, becoming only the second Spanish-born footballer in history to be considered the best in the world, and claiming a win for Spain after a 61-year wait.

FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award.
FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award. Photo: FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Putellas is the third winner of the prize, following in the footsteps of Ada Hegerberg, who won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018, and United States World Cup star Megan Rapinoe, winner in 2019.

Putellas captained Barcelona to victory in this year’s Champions League, scoring a penalty in the final as her side hammered Chelsea 4-0 in Gothenburg.

She also won a Spanish league and cup double with Barca, the club she joined as a teenager in 2012, and helped her country qualify for the upcoming Women’s Euro in England.

Her Barcelona and Spain teammate Jennifer Hermoso finished second in the voting, with Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia coming in third.

It completes an awards double for Putellas, who in August was named player of the year by European football’s governing body UEFA.

But it’s also a huge win for Spain as it’s the first time in 61 years that a Spanish footballer – male or female – is crowned the world’s best footballer of the year, and only the second time in history a Spaniard wins the Ballon d’Or. 

Former Spanish midfielder Luis Suárez (not the ex Liverpool and Barça player now at Atlético) was the only Spanish-born footballer to win the award in 1960 while at Inter Milan. Argentinian-born Alfredo Di Stefano, the Real Madrid star who took up Spanish citizenship, also won it in 1959.

Who is Alexia Putellas?

Alexia Putellas grew up dreaming of playing for Barcelona and after clinching the treble of league, cup and Champions League last season, her status as a women’s footballing icon was underlined as she claimed the Ballon d’Or on Monday.

Unlike the men’s side, Barca’s women swept the board last term with the 27-year-old, who wears “Alexia” on the back of her shirt, at the forefront, months before Lionel Messi’s emotional departure.

Attacker Putellas, who turns 28 in February, spent her childhood less than an hour’s car journey from the Camp Nou and she made her first trip to the ground from her hometown of Mollet del Valles, for the Barcelona derby on January 6, 2000.

Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas (R) vies with VfL Wolfsburg's German defender Kathrin Hendrich
Putellas plays as a striker for Barça and Spain. GABRIEL BOUYS / POOL / AFP

Exactly 21 years later she became the first woman in the modern era to score in the stadium, against Espanyol. Her name was engraved in the club’s history from that day forward, but her story started much earlier.

She started playing the sport in school, against boys.

“My mum had enough of me coming home with bruises on my legs, so she signed me up at a club so that I stopped playing during break-time,” Putellas said last year.

So, with her parent’s insistence, she joined Sabadell before being signed by Barca’s academy.

“That’s where things got serious… But you couldn’t envisage, with all one’s power, to make a living from football,” she said.

After less than a year with “her” outfit, she moved across town to Espanyol and made her first-team debut in 2010 before losing to Barca in the final of the Copa de la Reina.

She then headed south for a season at Valencia-based club Levante before returning “home” in July 2012, signing for Barcelona just two months after her father’s death.

In her first term there she helped Barca win the league and cup double, winning the award for player of the match in the final of the latter competition.