Ben White is a reporter for Politico. Hilary Sargent is the founder of ChartGirl – a website where she makes cool charts – and was, until this weekend, a big fan of White's. She'd even gone as far as to say he should have been nominated for the dubious honor of a place on Business Insider's list of "The Sexiest Financial Journalists Alive!" (yes, that exclamation point is part of the headline). But a comment she made about his new Twitter avatar, which she described as "meh", sent White into a Twitter rage, straining their Twitter relationship.
The picture she's referencing can be seen above on the left; White's original avatar, which he has switched back to, is on the right. White, who has since deleted all the angry responses he sent to Sargent, did not take kindly to Sargent's version of constructive criticism and said things like:
Why would you say something like that? What is the matter with you?
I liked your old face better.
meh on your entire existence.
happy now you horrid monster?
you don't just say someone's photo is "meh." It's rude and mean. That should be manners 101. It's not complicated.
I'm sorry but I'll have to block you. Have a nice life.
On her end, Sargent clarified that she was just teasing and that the whole thing was a reference to her original nomination of White for that "The Sexiest Financial Journalists Alive!" list.
White and Sargent seem fine now since he apologized (via email). He's unblocked her on Twitter, she's asked that people stop harassing him because he's not "used to this kind of abuse" and they're exchanging jokes about how they may or may not have had the best Twitter feud ever. But in a Storify about the exchange where Sargent archived the experience (including White's tweets), she explained that White doesn't understand the context in which he freaked out:
Rarely does a day go by when I don't get some kind of weird email to my website or comment on Twitter that relates to my looks or the fact that I'm female. What I forgot wasn't my manners. I forgot that to be a man on Twitter is inherently different. He doesn't get the same tweets referencing blow-jobs. I'm guessing no one tweets at Ben White suggesting they call him so they can 'bang'. But still, 'horrid monster' seems like an overreach. I just liked the old profile pic better. You have a nice life, too.
Sargent has become a bit of a Twitter avatar guru now, with guys asking her for advice on whether their pictures are flattering enough. The final word really goes to a man on Twitter named Oswald Heston, who created this beauty:
Images via Twitter