Shumirun Nessa, a British Muslim woman with more than seven million followers on TikTok, says she has been targeted after posting about Jeffrey Marsh, an American non-binary activist.
Social media platforms are often awash with controversy, but the latest row appears to have spilled over the boundaries of the virtual world and ignited an online conflict about gender and children’s rights.
Keep readinglist of 4 items
The clash began last month, when Marsh, who uses they/them pronouns, said in a video: “Stop telling trans people that we’re inspirational.”
Nessa used that video as the background for her own clip, calling on Marsh to “stop telling kids to go on your Patreon and chat to you privately without their parents knowing”.
Nessa, who presents herself as a comedian with the handle @therealoverloadcomedy, had previously posted videos criticising Marsh on the Chinese-owned social media app.
She said Marsh encouraged children to message them privately on Patreon – another platform for online content creators, and likened their content to grooming.
Her videos amassed millions of views, but the backlash was relentless, she said.
Nessa, who wears a hijab, has said people called her transphobic and attacked her religion.
She claimed photos of her without her religious headscarf had been posted online, without her consent, in a form of an attack, and that her car has been vandalised.
“I’m sorry, please don’t come for my kids,” she pleaded in a video on March 12.
The online row comes amid global debates on questions of identity, including gender.
This sister, @shumirunnessa, who spoke out against Jeffery Marsh (the pro alphabet guy who targets kids on Tiktok) has recieved death threats, had old images of her without hijab leaked, her car was damaged & now her kids are being targeted. There is so much fear in her voice- pic.twitter.com/CqOw7vqByH
— Sister Waad (وعد) (@sister_waad) March 12, 2023
In one of their videos, Marsh is seen saying, “Your parents screwed up”, but they do not say who their audience is.
Marsh goes on to say: “That’s why I made a Patreon so that we could talk about it, so that we could connect in a way that has more privacy, so that we can talk to each other in a way that’s more open.”
So-called gender-critical people – who believe sex is biological and should not be confused with gender identity – have spoken in support of Nessa, saying she wants to protect children.
“She got an unfathomable amount of hate, and she stood her ground. This is what protecting children looks like. A million props to this brave lady,” someone posted on Twitter on March 1.
SHE STOOD HER GROUND!
She got an unfathomable amount of hate, and she stood her ground.
— Right Side of History™️ (@xxclusionary) March 1, 2023
Feminist author Julie Bindel tweeted: “Jeffrey Marsh, as we can see by his online content, is a deeply disturbing man. @shumirunnessa pointed this out. For this, she has received threats with details of her children’s schools. Her car has been damaged. Marsh and supporters are misogynists.”
But others posted in support of Marsh.
A Twitter user named Ryan Beard said: “This woman REPEATEDLY spread misinformation about Jeffery Marsh. Doxing is never okay, but it’s ridiculous to pretend she’s the main victim in this situation after spreading false grooming allegations for weeks.”
In her last post on Twitter, Nessa called for peace, saying: “I don’t want any ill will on any community, whether it’s the trans community or the Muslim community.”
Please, I don't want anyone fighting, any communities fighting. At the end of the day we are all human beings and ai don't want anyone getting hurt. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/JKVXO2eTS2
— Shumirun Nessa (@shumirunnessa) March 13, 2023