How a tiny bookstore fought off an onslaught of sexist internet abuse

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Anna Pollitt
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Internet trolls are undoubtedly a bunch with plenty of time on their hands and an acute ability to spot a perceived weakness. Where they post, many others follow, eager for a momentary sense of belonging to make up for a deficit in their everyday lives. It’s not an enviable hobby and perhaps one to be pitied, but it’s also quite a nuisance if you’re a small business on the receiving end of the cyber pests.

Avid Reader, an independent bookshop in Brisbane, Australia, fell victim to a bunch of anti-feminist internet crusaders this week when they shared a Facebook post from Clementine Ford announcing her second book Boys Will Be Boys, which, she explained, will “examine toxic masculinity”.

Toxic masculinity, feminism and apparently free speech were concepts that proved too unbearable for some to just ignore though.


“Since you promote misandrist Clementine Ford who hates men, I will never visit this bookshop/cafe ever again,” another promised amid a sudden flurry of one-star reviews for the shop.

Avid Reader’s social media manager Chris Currie didn’t take the comments lying down though and his sarcastic comebacks gathered pace among supporters of the store. They added their own five-star reviews and comments supporting the shop’s right to promote whichever writers it wants.

“Best indie bookshop in Brisbane .... highly principled, aware, curious about the world and extremely fair minded... thank you Avid!” said one reviewer as supporters helped rebuild its Facebook rating with thousands of five-star submissions.

The store’s social media manager, Chris Currie told The Guardian: “The same ‘men’s rights’ swamp monsters emerged when Clementine’s first book Fight Like a Girl was released, and especially when we announced we were hosting an event (which sold out in record time, can I add) to celebrate its publication.”

The trolls may be relentless and a nuisance, but they’re not about to stop this shop – or Ford – from expressing their views.

Images: iStock/Clementine Ford


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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant.