No one could escape the Internet trolls in 2014.
They spread their poisonous commentary on RFT and fill other St. Louis news sites with all-caps angst and misspelled, racially charged manifestos. It got so bad that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch turned off their editorial comment section entirely to halt the hordes of foaming-at-the-mouth ideologues who, for reasons we cannot fathom, never learned to play nice with others.
But when Boston comedian and RFT fan Glenn di Benedetto -- best known as "Goddamn Glenn" -- encountered a Daily RFT comment-section troll, things crossed the line from petty to personal.
Here's the setup: On December 20, di Benedetto "liked" one of RFT's Facebook posts that linked to a collection of our weirdest news stories of 2014. The post's main photo was drawn from an April article about a nudist bowling outing at Saratoga Lanes in Maplewood, and di Benedetto decided to tag a friend he knew would enjoy the bootylicious bowling pic.
That's when one of Daily RFT's regular Facebook commenters, a user named Dale Allen Proctor, apparently became incensed at di Benedetto's profane profile name.
"What kind of name is that? I think I will report you and see what fb thinks. Loser!" Proctor wrote.
The next day di Benedetto discovered that Facebook had locked him out of his Goddamn Glenn profile, the one he'd been building for three years to network and promote his comedy/news radio show and musical endeavors.
"The thing that really makes me irate is that there are these Facebook real-name police, and they basically call people out if they have fake names," says di Benedetto. "It's rooted in anti-gay, anti-transgender sentiment, but it's affecting all performers."
Indeed, Facebook endured widespread criticism in October from the drag queens and drag kings after the social network began shutting down pseudonymous accounts, demanding users provide "authentic names." Facebook later apologized and promised to change the policy, though obviously the kinks are still not worked out.
di Benedetto says he was distraught that all the work he'd put into creating Goddamn Glenn had been lost, seemingly because Facebook valued Proctor's petulant whining over his needs as a performer.
While di Benedetto navigated a frustrating back-and-forth with Facebook's customer service, he went on his own offensive by releasing a YouTube video titled "My Name Is Goddamn Glenn."
"Friends, do we really want to rely on a social-media site that relies on rat fink snitches to tattletale on its users?" asks a festively bare-armed di Benedetto in the video. He signs off by thanking his fans, as well as threatening Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg that he would leave the site completely if his Goddamn Glenn profile wasn't restored.
"On behalf of the Goddamn Glenn show, I wish you all happy holidays," di Benedetto says. "Except for you, Dale. You can go fuck yourself."
Thankfully, this tale of troll woe has a happy ending: Yesterday, Facebook reopened the Goddamn Glenn profile, thus signaling a victory for artists everywhere over the forces of rat fink snitches.
"Creative people create their own identities, which are as genuine and meaningful as the names we are given at birth," di Benedetto wrote in his first status update after getting his profile back. "Don't stop this fight. People still get caught up in this web of discrimination and locked out of their accounts. There will always be Dales and there will always be bad policies. But there will also always be you. And that beautiful voice of yours. Don't let anyone ever tell you speaking out on social media doesn't make a difference. Goddamn right it does. Happy New Year. Xo Goddamn Glenn."
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.