Taking a stand against social media trolls

I can truly understand why some people get so fed up with the drama acted out by narcissistic trolls on Facebook and other social media outlets. During the past 30 years of researching and writing about the history of the Romanov dynasty and Imperial Russia, my name and work have been a regular target for their nasty comments and criticisms. As far as I was concerned, most of these criticisms were water off a duck’s back. Having said that, however, I was forced to grow a thick skin against some of the more hostile attempts to discredit my work.

While Dodinsky’s comments above are indeed true, they also beg the question: where exactly is one expected to draw the line between constructive criticism and outright libel and slander, made by toxic narcissictic social media trolls?

Last month, it came to my attention that Nick Nicholson, had accused me of “ripping off” Romanov writer Helen Azar, and even going as far as accusing me of committing “plagiarism” of all things!

Not only did Nick tell an outright lie, he also committed libel in the process. Given that many people who follow me on Facebook, also follow either Helen and/or Nick, I decided to take the matter in hand and set the record straight once and for all.

Nick was referring to my article What kind of ice cream was served to Nicholas II?, which I published on my Nicholas II blog on 2nd August 2022. It was this article, which he claims I “ripped off” from Azar. The idea for this article was in fact inspired by a short article, which I found on Russian media: Какое мороженое подавали Николаю II?, published on 20th July 2022.

Nick’s post on Helen Azar’s Romanov Facebook group generated a flurry of nasty comments by Helen Azar and Marlene Eilers-Koenig, among several others. Nick continued to fan the flames, from which a flurry of spiteful jibes ensued, many of them made by Azar herself. Nick even referred to me as “a jerk”. Trust me, when I tell you that I have been called much worse, and by better people.

Such immature and childish behaviour by this trio of toxic trolls is nothing short of pathetic! I suppose I should take some solace in knowing that by attacking and bullying me on social media, they spared some other poor soul of their toxic behaviour.

I think what was most hurtful and disappointing was to discover that several of my so-called FB “friends” took part in Nick’s attack. Needless to say, I “unfriended” them.

I am not quite sure what Helen’s problem with me is, as I have never had anything to do with this egotistical woman. I have never taken any interest in her work, never followed her on Facebook, nor have I ever purchased or promoted any of her books. Quite frankly, I find her crude and vulgar, I don’t like her, and never have.

Back in the days when I administered my popular Royal Russia Facebook group – which at its peak had more than 175,000 followers – Helen took numerous liberties by posting and promoting herself on my FB page without my permission. Perhaps my rebuff and my declining her friend requests over the years was reason enough for her to belittle me and my work?

As far as Marlene Eilers-Koenig goes, I have no idea why she decided to stick her oar in the water? This toxic woman has been around for a long time, and is well known for her acid tongue and poison pen. I, like so many others, absolutely despise her.

Getting back to Nick’s post, which he later deleted [I made a copy of the post beforehand], and then issued an apology to Azar’s Romanov group, citing that he did so because he did not think it proper to encourage an “argument” on a group page. Another lie, to spare himself further embarrassment. The post was in fact removed by Facebook, because I reported it! My action then prompted Helen Azar to block me from her Romanov Facebook page.

Nick Nicholson is well known among the tightknit “Romanov circuit” on Facebook and other socia media. From April 2020 to September 2021, he served as Curator of the Russian History Museum in Jordanville, NY. In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Russian Nobility Association In America.

Nick has had an axe to grind against me ever since I terminated our friendship of many years in April 2018. I unfriended and blocked him from my Facebook page, simply because I was sick and tired of his patronizing and condenscending attitude towards others. He has now made it his mission to discredit both myself and my work at every opportunity, and to any one who will lend him an ear. Helen Azar is no better.

Nick Nicholson is NO gentleman! In addition, his slanderous attacks against me are unbecoming of the good and caring Orthodox Christian, which he so desperately tries to portray to others. Quite frankly, I am so tired of people like Nick Nicholson, running around with a mouthful of scripture and a heart full of hate. May God forgive this man for his behaviour.

So, let me conclude by saying, I believe that my record of 30+ years speaks for itself. Not every one has to agree with my articles and posts, but that does not give them any right to attack me or my work on social media. Most people would tell me to ignore them, but again, and in my own defence, just where does one draw the line?

Dear reader, if you read any further toxic posts penned by Nicholson or Azar, I respectfully ask that you first give me the benefit of the doubt, and then to look at the source of these nasty spiteful comments: if you didn’t hear it from the horse’s mouth, stop listening to the ass who told you! And always remember . . . rumours are carried by haters, spread by fools and accepted by idiots.

© Paul Gilbert. 5 September 2022