Woman calls out Marianne Williamson for feuding with her on Twitter (updated)

In July, 27-year-old writer Ella Dawson kicked off a Twitter feud with an unlikely foe: a presidential candidate.

Dawson criticized spiritual guru Marianne Williamson over her controversial “self-help cures all” stance to life. Dawson also aimed her criticism at people who made light of Williamson after her interesting demeanor during the Democratic debates.

“Marianne Williamson has implied that people who take antidepressants are weak, that you can cure cancer and HIV with love, and that fat people need to pray more. She’s a heinous wind chime of a human and I’m losing a lot of respect for people praising her right now. #DemDebate,” Dawson wrote in a tweet that went viral, with tens of thousands of shares.

What no one was expecting was that Williamson would respond, almost a week later.

“@brosandprose I have never implied that people taking anti-depressants are weak, I never told people with AIDS that they could just love it away, and I never told overweight people that their problem is that they don’t pray enough. EVER,” Williamson wrote.

Williamson didn’t even respond directly to Dawson’s tweet, but rather, she wrote up a whole new tweet, tagging Dawson in it. “Why not reply to my actual tweet, Marianne? Did the ‘heinous wind chime’ comment hit a nerve?” Dawson wrote back.

Williamson then replied and compared Dawson to Trump by accusing her of lying.

“I did reply, as soon as I saw it in NY magazine. And of course ‘heinous wind chime’ hit a nerve; it’s based on a totally false perception of me. You might not agree with me, but to say horrible things based on things that aren’t even true is no different than what Trump does,” Williamson wrote.

Dawson told the Daily Dot that she believes people with large social media followings, like Williamson who boasts nearly 3 million Twitter followers, have a responsibility to use their platforms carefully.

“Whenever a powerful figure like Williamson claps back at a critic, especially if that ‘critic’ is just a random citizen, they run the risk of weaponizing their large following and turning that person into a target,” Dawson said. “It’s immature enough when a musician gets mad about a bad album review, but a would-be politician should be a role model for their constituency and behave with grace and restraint. For all her talk about love and healing, Williamson hardly behaves in that spirit online.”

Writer Noah Berlatsky pulled out the receipts, featuring highlighted portions of Williamson’s book,  A Return to Love. Through her own words–and even old tweets–it’s hard to imagine that Williamson doesn’t believe self-help has a better curing ability than prescription medicine. Williamson writes that people with AIDS need to practice forgiveness, fat is caused by “distorted thoughts and feelings,” and implied postpartum depression doesn’t exist because “hormonal … and mood changes are normal”–all you need is to meditate and pray.

Berlatsky’s tweets received no response from Williamson. But, Dawson once again received another tweet from Williamson.

“For the record @brosandprose: I NEVER implied ‘people who take antidepressants are weak, that you can cure cancer and HIV with love, and that fat people need to pray more.’ You have the right to think I’m a ‘heinous wind chime of a human being,’ but those falsehoods remain untrue,” Williamson wrote, a full seven weeks after Dawson’s initial tweet.

Dawson told the Daily Dot she was “baffled” by Williamson decision to tweet about her for a second time.

“She already responded to my viral tweet criticizing her anti-science stances back in early August, so I’m not sure why she felt she needed to push back on me again over a month later,” Dawson said.

This odd feud resulted in Dawson addressing the matter in a blog post, titled, “I hurt Marianne Williamson’s feelings on Twitter and she’s still not over it.” At one point in her post, Dawson directly addresses Williamson and tells her that she is “utterly unprepared to lead this country,” as made evident by the feud.

“If you can’t handle me, if you can’t handle one viral, snarky tweet from some random girl who watched the debate at her boyfriend’s apartment because she doesn’t even own a television, how the hell are you supposed to handle Donald Trump? Or Putin? Or Kim Jong Un?” she asked.

“I was right. You are a heinous wind chime, and I’m tired of listening to you rattle. To quote another popular meme, keep my name out of your mouth. And drop out already, it’s getting embarrassing,” she added.

It will probably take Williamson a week or so to respond.

This article has been updated.

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Siobhan Ball

Siobhan Ball

Siobhan Ball is a historian, archivist, and journalist. She also writes for Autostraddle and bi.org