A notorious internet troll has been fired from his job at a US financial services company after he was exposed as the creator of an online forum where users shared sexualised images of underage girls.
Michael Brutsch, a cat-loving grandfather from Texas who spent years posting vile messages online, claims he has received dozens of death threats since his identity was revealed last week in the New York-based blog Gawker.
The 49-year-old, who used the online pseudonym Violentacrez (pronounced violent acres), had pleaded with Gawker not to expose his identity, saying he had a disabled wife and could lose his job.
And the 49-year-old's fears proved to be well-founded. He has since been fired from his job as a computer programmer at a financial services company in Arlington, Texas.
"Everything that happens is a test from God, and how you respond to that test determines whether you pass or fail," Brutsch wrote in a new forum on Reddit, where he also claimed to have received dozens of death threats.
"At this point, if any of the dozens of death threats I've gotten were to make good on their promises, at least my wife would have the insurance," he wrote.
Reddit - a merger of the words "read" and "edit" - is a social news and networking site that is described as "the front page of the internet".
The posts, which live on pages called "subreddits" according to their subject, are voted for or against by users, the most popular of which appear on the home page, thus garnering more attention.
Brutsch was behind Jailbait, a Reddit forum where users submitted images of scantily-clad tween and teenage girls, often in bikinis or skirts.
He also created or moderated Reddit forums called Chokeabitch, Niggerjailbait, Rapebait, Hitler, Jewmerica, Misogyny and Incest, as well as an entire forum dedicated to pictures of dead teenage girls called Picsofdeadjailbait. He was also the main moderator for Creepshot, a forum of stalking-style pictures of women taken without their consent.
When contacted by Gawker last week, Brutsch said he "would stand by exactly what I've done".
"I've always been upfront about the sorts of things that I find attractive."
However, he said exposing his true identity could have an impact on his employment and on his wife, who was disabled.
"I got a home and a mortgage, and if this hits the fan, I believe this will affect negatively on my employment," he told Gawker. "I do my job, go home, watch TV and go on the internet. I just like riling people up in my spare time."
In the new Reddit forum, where he posts under the name mbrutsch, Brutsch said he had warned his boss about the impending article last week.
"He thought I was exaggerating the potential fallout. So when he called Saturday morning, I just said, 'Told you so'. He said not to come in Monday and that he'd call when he knew more. All my remote access has been disabled, my health insurance and FSA were cancelled immediately (so they had to drag someone in over the weekend to do that)," he wrote.
Gawker described Brutsch as "an unabashedly creepy old man with seven cats and two dogs and a disabled wife and a teenage son about to join the Marines. He was all of that online, too - only he was famous for it."
- Sydney Morning Herald