Photographer James Rhodes Thinks It’s Ok to Threaten People With Violence on the Internet

I was deeply troubled by comments made in a Flickr forum that I admin by Photographer James Rhodes. His Flickr account is here where he goes by thevikingjames. He’s on Facebook here. For some reason Rhodes seems to blame me for internet harassment that he feels he’s suffered on the internet for admining an uncensored group on Flickr. He claims to have stalked me at the Dream Machines Show this past year in Half Moon Bay and has written that I didn’t know how close I came to being mugged by him at that event.

Note. This is someone that I’ve never met in life and had no signficant interaction with on the internet prior to him making these sorts of threats. He’s made threats against other people in this internet forum as well. I’m not going to get into the details of this specifically, other than to say that I found it offensive that he’d suggest that he was stalking me at a public photographer event. And that he’d threaten physical violence against people over differences in photography in an internet forum. I’ve posted a few posts of his below so that for the record (and Google) they can be associated with his name.

I did give James an opportunity to try and de-escalate this situation prior to blogging about his behavior on the internet. When somebody threatens people physically however that is totally inappropriate. When somebody claims to have stalked me and almost mugged me I take it personally. Whatever qualms James may have about an internet forum, threatening violence is not the answer. Below are the quotes attributed to him. I’m happy to give him ample space in this same blog post to justify his position or provide a response to why he felt it necessary to use these words.

“Must be the Sicilian in me, just can’t let things go…. still have yet to pay a visit to EA, and TH doesn’t know how close he came at the dream machines event at that airport on the coast…. and TH never really did anything… I just wanted to make an example of him… good thing I realized that he never said or did anything… I would have felt horrible afterwords….”

well to be clear I never threatened you, I just watched you from a distance. You never knew I was there, and you would have never know why someone would have “mugged” you in the parking lot…..it would have all been a strange coincidence…

Here’s another threat he made against another member of the same forum:

“I’m with you Hyp. just begging for this piece of shit to dig his hole deeper. Fuck in South Africa, I bet I could hire someone to do whatever I want to his family for less than $5k US. Its amazing what can happen if you have enough money, I don’t even have to see or meet the people who do it. That will be pretty hard to prosecute….”

Yea you never claimed to be anything, because thats exactly right , you are nothing, and never will be for that matter. You hate on people who live the life you wish you had but can never afford. You are honestly the most pathetic person I have ever met, and I have met alot. The simple fact of the matter is you don’t know what I am capable of, and you think you are safe and secure in South Africa, but believe me one day you will see my face. I know where you work, and I don’t think it would be to hard to find out where you live, and who lives with you. Don’t think I’m above bringing this to your loved ones, I will make you regret every fucking word you write, with interest.

I’ve been threatened with violence on the internet in the past and it’s not very much fun. I find it deplorable when people seem so willing to suggest violence and very personal when it’s directed at me. Hopefully people who engage with James in the future will have the benefit of reading his words here themselves to gain insight into his character.

I really truly honestly wish I did not feel the need to blog this post right now. But I’m very upset over the threats of violence suggested by James.

Update: More from James: “Well Tommy, I am “warning” you that you are a over-bloated douchebag ego maniac, and the next time I see you, wether it be late at night, walking to your car, in public on one of your photowalks, or even outside your house. I’m warning you that you are going to need a good set of dentures when I’m done with you.”

If you piss me off I will bring reality to your doorstep, see its what men used to do before we had web anonymity to hide behind. You say shit about me I feed you my fist, very simple….

Update #2: Although I don’t normally censor comments on my site, I just chose to delete some comments on both my blog and Flickr photostreams where James was referencing my daughters by name who are 5 and 6 years old. In one reference he talked about looking up my 5 year old daughter’s dress. While James may be the type of person that is full of hatred, I find it deplorable that he would extend his threats of violence towards me by referencing my children by name in posts about them, innocent parties and young children to make it worse. Further, the perverted remark he made about looking up my daughter’s dress paints the picture of a truly troubled individual who would choose to sexualize someone’s child as a way of spewing hatred out against them.

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42 Comments

  1. Isaac says:

    Look what’s now on the top of his personal website:

    “Oh Thomas, please please don’t ruin my life with you google search smear campaign …..
    What did I ever do to you, nothing…….yet ;)”

    http://www.ontherhodes.com/James_Rhodes_Photography/James_Rhodes_Photography.html

  2. Wonderlane says:

    What is the antidote to such poisons? To search for the opposite and publish images or messages of trust peace and hope.

  3. Beau Liening says:

    Thomas, have you considered reporting this guy to the authorities? Stalking? Physical threats? Not something I would just want to blog about.

  4. Addycat says:

    I agree with Wonderlane and Beau – you should report him to the authorities in the country in which he lives as well as where you are living. It should not be considered something you “wouldn’t worry about” because he is making very real threats. Tho, I do agree with Gary’s premise – I also know that there are a lot of mentally disturbed people out there who have no problem fulfilling their threats.
    Please start legal proceedings.

  5. Jake says:

    So I guess you followed up on this promise then?

    “Ok, James, you’ve pissed me off. I’ve dropped my son at his game and am back home. You think you can fucking threaten me, for no reason, to make an example out of me? Fuck you.

    I want you to be very clear about what is possible to go down when I write this blog post because internet mobs are frequently not easy to control. I’ve had experience with more than one and I fucking hate them. When they are out frequently they are out. All the I’m sorry’s I fucked up in the world after the fact frequently can’t fix them. That’s why I’m taking my time to be very careful about how this thing might go down and why I feel that I owe you a pretty detailed explanation ahead of time for what it might look like.

    When I blog my post with your name in the headline, within 60 minutes or so it will be on the first page Google search results for your name. It will stay there for many years. Your name will be associated with someone who makes death threats on the internet and someone who wrote about potentially mugging me.

    This will piss people off. I’m a pretty reasonable guy and well liked generally speaking by most people who follow my blog. In addition to my blog the post will go out to the 20,000 or so people combined who follow my Twitter/Friendfeed threads. It will be a sensationalistic juicy blog post and as such it will generate alot of attention.

    I’m not sure where it will go. Simon Blint (mentioned above) moved out of his house for a while because he was petrified after getting death threats himself and people having figured out his home address and began publishing it on line.

    I know you’re a big tough guy who doesn’t care about these sorts of things but I fucking don’t like being threatened and I’m never one to just sit down and fucking let it go when some fucking internet bully like you is threatening me.

    So that’s where we are at. Consider yourself duly warned.

    Now, for those whom James has threatened, can you please provide me links to the threatening documentation. “

  6. Jakes_world says:

    That jake is NOT me TH!!

  7. Tucker Martinez says:

    So Thomas is the point of this blog to prove that you will sink just as low as James in your own passive aggressive way?

  8. Bob says:

    This is all very silly. You’re just antagonizing someone who never “really” threatened you in the first place. Some people are nice, others are mean, you could have walked out of this without making a big stink but instead, being the drama queen you are, you engaged, threatened and struck. You’re not a very smart man. It’s childishly vindictive calling on your internet buddies to swarm. Silly and sad. Walk away next time.

  9. Sorry you’re having to deal with this moron. Better to publicize it than to try to hide from him though.

  10. Ryan says:

    now THIS post really comes across pussy

  11. Ryan says:

    to elaborate you come across as a guy that posts personal stuff / opinions / your self and “brand” all over the internet, then a guy comes along and f’s with you, (and if you really think he’s serious take a look at his home page, it almost made me spit out beer when I saw it laughing) so you blog for what? What do you want to accomplish? Link to his facebook page and such, makes you look like a whiny little you know what.

  12. Well TH, no worries this week. I’ve got your back this week.

  13. Ya know, no matter what you post, TH, some folks will come along and disagree with you just for the sake of disagreeing. This guy made direct threats against you and your family, which is something I don’t feel should just be ignored.

  14. Thomas G says:

    This violates some law of being a guy. Blogging is the new “I’ll Sue You!”

  15. Thomas Cock says:

    for those of you who wish to see the entire thread that started this, including Thomas Cock’s threat to sick his internet minions on James to make his life a living hell, please visit the original thread here :

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/dmu2/discuss/72157622562683402/

  16. chi chi says:

    wow, the pettiness of this post astounds me, not to mention that you are now seeking to exploit the very people who have supported you over the years over some “you were mean to me on the internet”. This group you are in is built on being obnoxious and mean to one another. Sounds like it got out of hand and now you don’t know how to handle it in a reasonable way. It is shameful how you are trying to get your supporters to essentially create a mob against some dumb ass on the internet.

    Your credibility? tarnished.

    grow up

  17. James (aka Thomas Cock), I don’t agree with everything Thomas says or does, but at least he’s honest. He’s never made a secret over Thomas Hawk being his real name (people who try to “expose” him make me giggle), he doesn’t pull punches, and he’s a damn fine photographer.

    Your choice to threaten bodily harm to him and his family cross the line and go far beyond any blog posts, etc., TH has ever posted. That’s not “getting real” as you said on the DMU forum, it’s just wrong.

  18. Edit to above: He’s never made a secret over Thomas Hawk *not* being his real name. Sorry about that.

  19. Thomas Cock says:

    Obviously you can’t read, so how can I argue….

  20. Thomas Hawk says:

    James it’s unfortunate that you feel the need to resort to threats of violence over how you feel you’ve been treated by the internet. It’s unfortunate that you are proud to associate that behavior with your person and with the craft of photography.

    “wow, the pettiness of this post astounds me, not to mention that you are now seeking to exploit the very people who have supported you over the years over some “you were mean to me on the internet”.

    chi chi. I have no problem with someone “being mean to me,” I do have a problem when people threaten physical violence. It’s inappropriate. And it’s personal when it’s directed at me, especially when entirely unprovoked. I’m not seeking to exploit anyone who has supported me over the years. I found James’ threats of physical violence repulsive and choose to share my feelings on the matter. He seems proud of his actions, returning with even more threats of physical violence — at least those who might look into him in the future will understand that morally he’s ok with violence. I’m personally not ok with that and I think most people are not.

  21. James Rhodes says:

    Oh clap clap clap Andrew, you don’t see the hypocrisy of any of this do you ? You may not support violence, but you live in a country who bomb’s sovereign countries “into the stone age” if they disagree with them. Thomas or Andrew, or whatever other names you have for yourself, the fact that you have two is a testament to your ego, you live in a country that has always solved their problems with violence, why would you even for one second think that would change on the internet.

    Doubly so its laughable, that you find it inappropriate, when we destroy the lives of many innocent people on a daily basis. Yes Thomas Cock, I do believe its time for you to grow up. You support obnoxious and rude behavior on your group, and all I was doing was giving you a dose of your own medicine, and obviously you don’t like it do you ? Maybe you should think of all the people who are needlessly insulted on a group that you admin and have full control over, on a daily basis. Only time will tell if I am serious about any and all threats against you, the only thing I can tell you at this point is, I haven’t made up my mind what to do with you yet.

  22. Thomas Hawk says:

    James, I find it a stretch for you to somehow blame me for the actions of the U.S. military. You seem to be an Obama supporter so I’m assuming we both voted for him. I’m not sure any of that ties in to me specifically. You are reaching to say I support violence because I’m an American.

    I don’t “support” obnoxious and rude behavior in my “own group.” I happen to admin an uncensored forum on the internet (along with three other admins). Prior to your threats against me I had no interaction with you at all. I was never rude to you. I never insulted you.

    The fact that you would deem it appropriate to level threats of physical violence against someone because they happen to be an American and happen to admin an uncensored forum where you feel *others* not me had been obnoxious and rude to you is uncalled for.

    You weren’t “giving me a dose of my own medicine,” at all. Never have I physically threatened you or anyone else on the internet for that matter.

  23. Frank says:

    Kids, stop it now before I tell Mom. Seriously, this is so petty and childish.

  24. Thomas Cock says:

    Tommy Cock, lets just settle this like men shall we ? We can sell tickets and make a little cash, I bet there are more than a handful of people who would pay a decent amount of money to watch you squeal like the whiny bitch you really are.

  25. Thomas Cock says:

    Ok I’m calling you out…. bike racks after school…..you are dead meat Andy….DEAD MEAT !!!

  26. Bemused says:

    TH, I think you are wasting your time with this person. It seems pretty obvious he is some kind of troll and attention whore. Don’t give him even more of the attention that he craves. You’re better than that.

  27. Thomas Cock says:

    figure that out all by yourself ? Mommy must be proud….

  28. Thomas Cock says:

    awww Tommy what happened ? Did you delete your little circle jerk group ?

  29. chi chi says:

    Looks like James won.

    your group is dead

  30. Thomas Cock says:

    Tommy whats wrong you didn’t want people to see what you wrote ? You embarrassed of your original thread ? So you are just going to go on your one sided blog post and expect people to jump to your defense ?

  31. Thomas Cock says:

    Not to immature or anything but….. NANNY NANNY BOO BOOS !!!!

  32. headless chook says:

    Thomas Hawk is my hero.

  33. funny says:

    I thought threats made over the Internet were nothing to be afraid of Andrew? Didn’t you say those exact same things about 8 months ago? I bet I know someone who has a screen capture of you belittling someone else in your egotistical shit stained attitude of yours about this very thing.

    Funny, huh?

  34. Nony Mouse says:

    You can get a restraining order that will prevent this guy from legally getting near you. Threats of violence are never OK, even for badass dudes of the internet.

  35. James Rhodes says:

    Zzzzzzzzzz…..

  36. Just realized james Rhodes is the RL name of War Machine from Iron Man

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Machine

  37. James Rhodes says:

    and Thomas Hawk has asked for a war, guess who is going to win ……

  38. Brendan says:

    It’s quite obvious James Rhodes is immature, solely based on his choice of names in the above comments and continued childish insults aimed at Mr. Hawk.

    Grow up sir, and learn to use your words instead of violent threats against people to solve your problems.

  39. James Rhodes says:

    Brendan, the whole group was immature, how do you think it got this out of hand ? You really think its just me ranting against a bunch of people who are saying ” Please stop this James, you are taking it too far… ” Had you ever even visited or participated in this group ?

  40. Mary Atkin says:

    O come on Tom, James is a friend of mine and this thing never happened, you are really scary and quite disturbed. Get a life will you.

  41. Thomas Hawk says:

    Actually, it very much did happen Mary and was witnessed by a large group of people. Feel free to post on it in the group that he was harassing if you want more confirmation.

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/censorshipsucks/discuss/