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Kurt Eichenwald/Twitter

FBI arrests Twitter user who allegedly gave Kurt Eichenwald a seizure with a GIF

Sending strobing GIFs on Twitter is now, apparently, a federal crime.


Jay Hathaway

Internet Culture

Posted on Mar 17, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 8:23 pm CDT

The FBI has arrested a Twitter user who allegedly gave Newsweek senior writer Kurt Eichenwald a seizure by sending him a blinking animated GIF, Gizmodo reported Friday. The arrested man used the handle @jew_goldstein.

The incident happened in December 2016, amidst criticism of Eichenwald’s blustering, politically centered Twitter persona. Eichenwald was under attack online for bragging about telling a third-party voter, “You’re lucky it’s illegal for me to punch you in the face,” and for an incident involving alleged threats against a young journalist. Then he appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, where he was raked over the coals for tweeting unproven speculation that Donald Trump had been committed to a mental institution in 1990.

On Dec. 15, @jew_goldstein, apparently reacting to the tweets featured on Tucker Carlson Tonight, wrote, “YOU DESERVE A SEIZURE FOR YOUR POSTS.” He attached a strobe-light GIF that, Eichenwald alleges, gave him a seizure. Eichenwald had previously written about suffering from epilepsy.

At the time, this tweet appeared on Eichenwald’s account:

Shortly afterward, he temporarily quit Twitter, claiming he wanted to investigate the GIF-poster. That move helped him win the 2016 Shittiest Account on Twitter Tournament, which was decided by popular vote.

Eichenwald asked Twitter to reveal @jew_goldstein’s identity, but withdrew his motion in January because “we know who he is.”

On Friday, Eichenwald tweeted that the suspect was in custody and facing federal charges, a fact Gizmodo later confirmed with the FBI in Dallas. Eichenwald claims the man will face additional charges from the Dallas District Attorney:

Sending strobing GIFs on Twitter is now, apparently, a federal crime.

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*First Published: Mar 17, 2017, 4:42 pm CDT