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Told Ya So: Steve Lepore Creeper

Twitter can be a cruel cruel world y'all

Twitter can be a cruel cruel world y’all

Tonight my Twitter feed led to me to this Deadspin article titled Hockey Blogger Fired for Being a Serial Creep to Women on Twitter, and before even clicking, I knew who it was – Steve Lepore.

How was I so sure? Because the jackass did the same thing to me recently. After reading the article I immediately sent this tweet – “Funny I reported this Steve Lepore BS months ago TO his editor at USA Today & she tweeted snark back to me.”

Curiosity got the best of me so I looked back at past emails and tweets and realized my own personal situation with Lepore took place NOVEMBER 2013 – more than a year ago. Has he been treating people like shit and soliciting pictures using his sports gig as a way in for an entire year hiding behind a Twitter handle without cause for concern?

I find it grossly ironic that I had brought this to the attention of not only the Twitter world, but his editor (at the time) at USA Today Sports and got nothing back. Actually, even worse, the exact second I hit send on the email detailing my issues and run-in’s with Lepore, the same editor RT’ed some of his nasty tweets about me. Tweets making fun of me and other nonsense completely downplaying my career. Yes folks, The Blonde Side is my career. I devote countless hours researching athletes and coming up with new angles, pitching editors, networking and making connections, keeping up to date on some of my favorite writers recent work. It’s work, I promise. And in one fell swoop, Lepore and his editor discredited everything I had worked for, all because of a backstory of me not wanting to tweet-flirt with the creep.

The sad (and yet simultaneously cool) thing about having a Twitter bio fueled by “writer for USA Today Sports,” is that you kind of have a built-in posse salivating at your every tweet. The moment you say attack – they’re on it – all for the simple and basic hope you’ll shout them out on social media for a brief moment of solidarity. (Can I get a RT for my birthday!?)

While I can’t speak to what Lepore is like in real life, I can speak to what his faux-balls and power as a writer at a highly regarded publication made him in the Twitterverse – a complete jackass with a bunch of lemmings ready to crucify you just because he gave the go-ahead. Hockey fans are intense, and if one of their beloved writers says to go after you, well that’s exactly what they do not even knowing the backstory.

Because there is a backstory. 

My conversations with Lepore started just like every other one with a sports fan/potential creeper – we start following and RT’ing each other, then we progress to try and outwit one another with our regionally biased sports trivia and banter, and then out of nowhere they inevitably get that urge to send a direct message – a private message no one else is privy to.

Since this wasn’t my first rodeo with a not-so-good-looking guy with a stellar vocabulary and exceptional use of oxford commas, I knew his game – he’d start by telling me how rare a pretty girl into sports was and how much he loved my column and if he could ever be of assistance to let him know. My response as always was pleasant and appreciative, but I left it alone.

His direct messages quickly became more frequent and flirty and I started to taper back. After all, I’m not a huge hockey fan and he wasn’t all that entertaining. Truth be told, I never read his work. He started commenting about my Instagram photos (yes, he’d send a tweet to talk about Instagram, which is Creeper 101…) and how I should show more cleavage. I was too pretty not to show more. When would I be in his area? If I get you an interview with my editor, can we hang out? When can I teach you all about hockey – we need pretty girls like you covering hockey. How come you only post a bikini picture every few weeks? Why not more? What’s your favorite thing to wear?

It got annoying. It got creepy. I may be single, but I wasn’t interested.

Yup, this is him.

Yup, this is him.

And then it happened. I unfollowed the schmuck. I’ve watched enough Lifetime movies to know it wasn’t pretty once you block a number or click unfollow, but I did it.

I had to – he was that annoying. And wouldn’t you know that very same day he took to Twitter (this time in a public forum) to try and call out one of my previous tweets. He took to a handful of messages (some he eventually deleted and karma-loving enough now he has deleted his entire account since whistleblower Toni M. called him out, which eventually led to his firing) of telling me my “job” wasn’t real and that I didn’t know what I was talking about.

Totally fine, you’re entitled to your (wrong) opinion…

He then resorted to saying that any girl who says she loves football (i.e. me) was just a t-shirt fan and in it to find a husband. All very insulting things, then he’d RT my original tweet with a rude message so his basement loving vultures would come after me. He would @ me and say “girls pretending to work in sports,” and just wait for his “pals” to tear into me. And then other USA Today Sports writers would chime in on his behalf. Honestly, it was one of the few times I’ve felt bullied and disrespected, and this all coming from someone who was simply butt-hurt I didn’t want to play the DM game with him.

Don’t get me wrong – I can handle ridicule. Hell, it’s basically been a part of my life since I learned to tie my shoes. But the part that really sucks is I debated long and hard to reach out to my acquaintances at USA Today Sports and whether or not to send an email to his editor. I mean, I did want to pitch a few freelance ideas to this same editor, so I didn’t want to be that tattle-tail girl. In the end his unprofessional behavior deserved to be called out and perhaps looked into. But to my knowledge, it wasn’t.

Quite frankly, USA Today Sports should have been ashamed that one of their employees, a grown man, had to be BLOCKED from another adult.

I’m glad other women felt the need to call him out and it finally led to his dismissal. I do believe in Freedom of Speech and not everyone has to agree with everyone by any means, but to put a bounty-tweet on another human when you know your ravaging fans will be relentless on your behalf is just nonsense. And all because I didn’t want to get all cuddly and talk about photos with you?

It may be Twitter, but the computers and mobile devices that Twitter lives on still exist in real life.

Imagine if this had been a more serious issue that was ignored by so many. Sure makes you think…

[Updated 12/2 12:25p]: Since the world wide web is always full of controversy and speculation, I wanted to rephrase who the “she” was in reference to Lepore’s editor – I realize there are many “she’s” at USA Today Sports, so please don’t assume. She may have been interim, in charge of particular stories/assignments, or just in general over social media since that was my complaint. Heck, my email could have been buried in an inbox for all I know (but the tweets sent by her certainly did not). I applaud USA Today for letting Lepore go and for all the other women who stood their ground, unfortunately this kind of behavior happens a lot more than people realize.