Patton Oswalt raises money for man who trolled him on Twitter

pattonoswalt/Instagram

‘Aw, man. This dude just attacked me on Twitter and I joked back but then I looked at his timeline.’

Patton Oswalt is not known for his grace when it comes to online trolling.

For years, the comedian has made it a habit to hunt down and serve anyone who dares come after him online. But on Thursday, a story that began with Oswalt clapping back at a Twitter heckler ended with a heartwarming display of humanity.

In response to a tweet of Oswalt’s mocking President Donald Trump on Jan. 23, Twitter user Michael Beatty said: “I just realized why I was so happy you died in Blade Trinity!”

In response, Oswalt retweeted Beatty’s words and wrote back:

Dude, I already know: ‘cuz “…one more second of you on screen and my heart would belong to Patton Oswalt.” I get told this at least twice a week by Trump supporters. It always makes me smile and I’m grateful and blessed.

Normally the comedian would have left it there. But after popping by Beatty’s page, he realized that Beatty was going through a tough time. “Aw, man. This dude just attacked me on Twitter and I joked back but then I looked at his timeline and he’s in a LOT of trouble health-wise,” Oswalt wrote, alongside a retweet of Beatty’s GoFundMe. “He’s been dealt some shitty cards — let’s deal him some good ones. Click and donate — just like I’m about to.”

It turns out that Beatty, a Vietnam veteran, suffered a long hospital stay over Christmas. On his GoFundMe page, he explains that he was in “critical condition w/Sepsis,” before coding twice in the ER. He’s managed to recover well, but his “meager retirement check” is not enough to cover his expenses. The GoFundMe goal was set on Jan. 13 for $5,000.

A few people were sarcastic, pointing out the flawed logic in supporting the GOP-backed campaign to end Obamacare, only to be left with no option but a GoFundMe to pay for medical expenses. Oswalt took these comments in turn, agreeing with the sentiment but urging people to “un-fuck what’s been fucked.”

Beatty was blown away by Oswalt’s about-face from sarcasm to kindness. Oswalt himself donated $2,000 to Beatty’s cause. In sharing Beatty’s story and GoFundMe, he saw the $5,000 goal realized and vastly surpassed within hours. As of the writing of this article, the GoFundMe has reached $31,000.

Beatty responded to Oswalt less than an hour after their exchange. “Patton. You have humbled me to the point where I can barely compose my words,” Beatty wrote. “You have caused me to take pause and reflect on how harmful words from my mouth could result in such an outpouring.” He thanked him for his kindness and said he would pass some of the donated money on to his cousin, who also needs some help.

Oswalt asked Beatty to use his newfound perspective to consider that people like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who Beatty has criticized in the past, are working to make healthcare affordable enough that seeking help through a GoFundMe isn’t necessary.

Beatty reached out to thank all of those who donated and sent him their support and compassion. “I want to thank everyone who came to my aid with generous outpourings – and also to @pattonoswalt without whom I would not be the recipient of so much love and support,” he said.

Oswalt finished the evening off right, retweeting another grateful message from Beatty and urging him to use the extra funds well. “If you want to pay this forward, maybe find a GoFundMe for a furloughed government worker who’s feeling the pinch,” Oswalt wrote. “Or maybe a big-ass haul o’ goodies to your local food bank?”

Beatty and Oswalt remind us that just because we don’t agree doesn’t mean we can’t lift each other up—even on Twitter.

Nahila Bonfiglio

Nahila Bonfiglio

Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.