Gwyneth: Mean Online Comments Are Kinda Like War

Paltrow speaks at ... tech conference?!
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2014 10:48 AM CDT
Gwyneth: Mean Online Comments Are Kinda Like War
On Saturday Feb. 1, 2014, Gwyneth Paltrow poses at the Goldene Kamera media award event in Berlin, Germany.   (AP Photo/ Britta Pedersen,Pool)

Gwyneth Paltrow ... tech expert? The actress spoke at the Code Conference yesterday, rubbing elbows with tech CEOs, thanks to her Web business, Goop. Before her surprise appearance, she talked to re/code (the tech news site hosting the conference, Vanity Fair notes) about Goop (it's profitable, though she won't give exact numbers, and the "open rate" for her newsletter emails is more than double the industry average), but she also spoke quite a bit about mean online commenters on the Internet. One quote that's getting her some negative attention:

  • "You come across [online comments] about yourself and about your friends, and it’s a very dehumanizing thing. It’s almost like how, in war, you go through this bloody, dehumanizing thing, and then something is defined out of it. My hope is, as we get out of it, we’ll reach the next level of conscience."
The quote, of course, led to headlines like "Gwyneth Paltrow: Celebrities Who Have Dealt with Mean Internet Comments Are Almost Like War Veterans." (Even re/code acknowledged that Paltrow "compared the experience of living through vitriolic Internet commenters to surviving a war.") NBC News notes that her actual speech focused on the same themes, but her comparison there wasn't as dramatic: She said reading mean comments was like having "the scabs from your high-school wounds being ripped off on a daily basis." (Paltrow's last ill-advised comment had to do with working moms.)

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