Jewish author of Melania Trump profile files complaint over deluge of anti-Semitic abuse

Julia Ioffe turns to police after threats on social media, harassing calls and emails after GQ piece on candidate’s wife

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump sits with his wife Melania Trump while appearing at an NBC Town Hall at the Today Show on April 21, 2016 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump sits with his wife Melania Trump while appearing at an NBC Town Hall at the Today Show on April 21, 2016 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

A Jewish reporter filed a complaint with Washington, D.C., police over threats she received after publishing a critical profile of Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, last month.

Julia Ioffe filed the complaint under a statute that describes a threat “to kidnap any person or to injure the person of another or physically damage the property of any person or of another person, in whole or in part” as a criminal offense, subject to a fine and imprisonment.

The Washington Post, in reporting Ioffe’s complaint on Monday, quoted it as saying “an unknown person sent her a caricature of a person being shot in the back of the head by another, among other harassing calls and disturbing emails depicting violent scenarios.”

The reference apparently is to a cartoon Ioffe received via email and which she posted on Twitter.

The Post also said the Anti-Defamation League was assisting Ioffe in the matter, although it was not clear what the assistance comprised.

Ioffe was deluged with anti-Semitic abuse through phone calls, emails and on social media after her profile of Melania Trump appeared in GQ on April 28. Melania Trump in a Facebook post said the article was inaccurate and violated her privacy by revealing that her father had a son born out of wedlock to another woman before her parents married.

Ioffe said the hatred she had experienced since her piece was published reminded her of racism her family experienced in Russia before it immigrated to the US 26 years ago.

One Twitter user superimposed her face on a photo of an Auschwitz inmate, under the title “Jule Ioffe at camp Trump.”

She received several threatening phone calls, with one person playing her a Hitler speech over the line. She was also called by a homicide cleanup service, where she was told an order had been placed for her.

Many of those who assailed her online referred to her as a “kike.” White supremacist website The Daily Stormer wrote a blog about her titled “Empress Melania Attacked by Filthy Russian Kike Julia Ioffe in GQ!”

“It’s unsettling,” she told the Guardian. “I started the day off having a sense of humor about it but by the end of the day, after a few phone calls like this, with people playing Hitler speeches, and the imagery, and people telling me my face would look good on a lampshade, it’s hard to laugh.

“If this is how Trump supporters swing into action what happens when the press looks into corrupt dealings, for example, or is critical of his policies?”

Ioffe characterized the responses to her article as “horrible anti-Semitic shit that I’ve only ever seen in Russia.”

“Twenty-six years ago today my family came to the US from Russia. We left Russia because we were fleeing anti-Semitism,” she said.

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, pressed by CNN to urge his followers to abjure such attacks, refused.

“I don’t have a message for my fans,” he said recently, and “I’d like to see my family treated fairly and nicely.”

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