Notorious Reddit Troll Is Apparently a 50-Something Software Engineer in Arlington [Updated: Definitely]
Newsflash: Reddit can get creepy. Really creepy. The hugely popular internet community has been in the news over the past few years because of various gross subreddits (message boards devoted to specific topics). Some of them, like the one devoted to sharing sexualized images of young girls, titled, "r/Jailbait," get shut down repeatedly due to media attention and widespread outrage. Then they resurface a few days or weeks later, like horrible little mold spores.
Image via Chris & Laura Pawluk How we're feeling about the Internet right now
Until a couple days ago, a Reddit user who went by the name "Violentacrez" was a moderator and prolific commenter on a slew of disturbing sexually-themed subreddits, including r/Jailbait, and one devoted to bestiality and one called r/CreepShots, which posts voyeuristic photos of women and teenage girls as those women try to walk around in public without having gross idiots take violating photos of them. (We're intentionally not linking to any of these pages.)
"VA," as most other Reddit users refer to him for short, recently deleted his account and scrubbed a lot of his comments, including one that listed every subreddit he created or moderates. The reason? He was worried that Adrian Chen, a writer for Gawker, had discovered his identity and was going to unmask him. And according to a slew of commenters and the man's own comments that he left behind, Violentacrez is a 50-something software engineer who lives in Dallas. Hooray for us.
VA, who sometimes referred to himself as "Reddit's creepy uncle," created this thread six days ago, dedicated to answering users' questions about him. Somebody asked if he's ever been recognized in real life, and perhaps punched in the face, by someone he's posted creepy photos of.
No, VA replied. "No, and not only because I don't do things like that. I organized the first few Dallas meetups, and I've met my share of redditors IRL [in real life], and no one has punched me in the face yet." A moment later, he claims that the account is run and used by multiple people, which seems to be an attempt to cover his ass.
In another post answering questions about himself, VA reveals that he moved to Texas a few years back, where he enjoys "a wonderful family life." This was in the midst of a thread where he was reminiscing about performing oral sex on his 19-year-old stepdaughter.
He's no longer married to the girl's mother; VA's current wife is also on Reddit, under the name not_so_violentacrez. She posts about living with fibromyalgia, and wrote earlier today that she hopes the "dramatic issue going on with my husband and reddit" doesn't harm her relationship with the other posters. She signs her name "Notty." VA has written that his wife "knows everything about me" and is "pretty much the opposite of me."
VA has deleted images of himself and several posts answering questions about what he does for a living. But as Chen wrote last year, he revealed in other posts across the site that he was in his 50s and works as a software engineer.
By the way, Reddit users have responded with outrage to Adrian Chen's attempts to unmask Violentacrez, decrying it as an attack on "free speech." One subreddit, r/Politics, has banned links from Gawker . Someone also posted a tribute thread to VA, in which he is described as "an absolute gentleman."
Always classy, that Reddit.
Update, 4:15 p.m.: Chen has published his article on Violentacrez. His real name is Michael Brutsch, and he is a 49-year-old programmer who lives in Arlington. Brutsch pleaded with Chen "in an affectless monotone" not to reveal his real name and insisted he is not a pedophile. In a private subreddit with fellow moderators a few days ago, he appeared briefly. He said he misses posting porn.