Anonymous Threat Against Prospective Voice Editor
by Anne Mooney / July 30, 2022
On Monday, July 25, a small, unmarked envelope – the kind that comes with a greeting card – was found slipped under the office door of a prospective Winter Park Voice editor, who has asked not to be identified in this article. Inside the envelope was a small strip of paper, shown in the photograph below, which contained the following message.
“[Name] if you take over the Winter Park Voice we will make sure you regret it. Don’t do it.”
On Friday, July 29, the would-be editor arrived at the work place to find the letters “F * C K [NAME]” spray painted on the grass in dayglo pink.
Word is on the street, apparently, that it was my intention to step down this fall as editor of the Winter Park Voice and that someone was in line to take my place. We had planned to announce this in early September once we had completed the administrative details of the transition. That will no longer happen, as the person in line to take over has withdrawn in the face of this intimidation and harassment.
No Responsibility Taken for Threat
There were no markings on the envelope. There was no signature on the message. And spray paint is anonymous. It is impossible, therefore, to know who the “We” is that was going to make sure the new editor regreted taking over the Voice. All we know about the person or persons who wrote and delivered these threats is a: he/she/they is/are a bully, and b: he/she/they lack the courage to sign their name(s).
On a personal note, it is disturbing and disheartening to realize, in our beautiful city, there is anyone so mean-spirited and angry that they would threaten the incoming editor of an online local news organization – before that person has written word one.
For now, the Winter Park Voice remains dedicated to unbiased, accurate reporting of the news and events of the city. If anyone has issue with our reporting we welcome and encourage debate in our forums and guest columns.
As these events occurred on City-owned property, the Winter Park Police Department has been made aware of the situation.
Unbelievable and disgusting and disturbing!
The way things are going at the City of Winter Park, it’s not surprising someone would stoop that low to threaten the truth.
That’s outrageous and I hope the Winter Park Police take the threat to one of our residents seriously and pursue it. Doorbell cameras catch so much!
It is disheartening to think that someone that disturbed is among us. I’m glad the police are looking into it.
Mary Black is absolutely right. It’s creepy to think we have a weirdo like this nearby.
Thank you for publishing this Anne. I hope the police are able to track down this hater/bully. It is so sad to even think that someone like that could be a neighbor. I am grateful for WP Voice and hope that someone will step up to the plate when you retire! All the best!
A very sad state of affairs
WInter Park is better than this. These are serious actions. Did someone drink too many martinis? distinguishing spray paint? threatening letter? Glad WP has a platform for all residents on all sides of the local issues to voice their opinion. Love your neighbors and agree to disagree.
It’s so hard to believe this low life coward lives in WP, but interesting this person reads and is interested in the power of The Voice.
Please don’t give in to these empty threats and be proud that this paper represents the fair and unbiased voice of all. Too bad for the coward!
Unfortunately there are no laws prohibiting cowardice but doesn’t
this qualify as a hate crime?
At least when the editor of the Voice was vilified from the dais of the
city commission a few years ago we knew who was casting aspersions.
The bully/hater does not like truth.
Not merely anti-social activity, this is criminal activity. Could police be asked to fingerprint the note? There are a number of occupations and professions which require finger printing as a matter of course, not to mention records of those with arrests on their resume. Thank you, Anne, for this article. I am sure it was as uncomfortable to write as it is to read. Thank you even more for being there for Winter Park for all these years. This has made me realize just how much your work at The WP Voice matters and how much this community needs The Voice.
There might be DNA recoverable from the envelope. I hope WPPD is taking this very seriously.
I hate to think about how 1 sick voice tries to be so much louder than all of the sane ones; Keep up your good work, Anne.
Unfortunately the offender has already won this fabricated battle because the target has succumbed to the non-specific threat.
I urge the unnamed next-in-line to reconsider, knowing that the WPPD, W.P. and the citizens have their back.
To do otherwise only encourages repeat offenses.
So much for the Winter Park cache’ and
“City Beautiful” image. I hope this threat receives the transparency it deserves so that law abiding citizens can feel it safe to speak out. I join with Beth Hall’s comments and value the WP Voice as a true source of community issues and table for opinion. What is happening to our Democracy??
How low but certainly the actions taken are not unusual in our country anymore nor is this the first time harassment has been used as a tactic in Winter Park to silence its residents. Such behavior has just been elevated to a more hideous & direct threat.
I don’t wish to criticize the person of choice for the editor position, but it is better to find out now whether he/she could stand up to such abuse. I have no doubt Anne will find the right individual for the job. We must all have the courage to stand up against such pressure. We must all use our voices at the ballot box whether at a local, state or national level. We must all support others who are the target of such viciousness and who have the courage to speak out against any inequity or bad practice.
That said, I’m now going to make a contribution (though modest) to the Winter Park voice and thank Anne for the time, energy and personal sacrifices she has made to keep the community informed with such a well written newsletter. I hope the rest of you will also give generously to the Winter Park Voice. We must keep it alive and well.
Terrorism has arrived in our beautiful city. Just unacceptable.
He, she, or they, have apparently scared off the editor in waiting.
And perhaps The Voice, by running the above story, has now scared off most everyone else in town from taking the editorial baton from Anne.
What to do now?
A Help Wanted Ad.
Something like this.
Winter Park Voice, Central Florida’s only source of credible news, seeks Editor. Must be able to read, write, and publish reader comments. Preferred candidates will demonstrate an ability to grin broadly when criticized, to laugh in the face of intimidation, to refuse to be impressed by the titles “Mayor,” “Vice Mayor,” “Commissioner,” “Former Mayor,” “Former Commissioner,” “City Manager,” “President,” “CEO” or “Executive Director.” Must to be able to know the difference between the truth and a load of bull – without regard to who said either, and to publish only the truth. A graceful demeanor and a spine made of 100% American made steel are required. If you have to ask what the pay is, this job is not for you. The right candidate won’t be interested in this job for pay. The right candidate will want the job because this is what they are thinking, “This is MY town! And I’m taking this job to make it a town where THE RESIDENTS want to live all the time!” Those interested in the position send resumes to Anne Mooney at The Voice.
I absolutely adore this idea!
Sadly, I am too old to consider the position (and lack editorial experience); however, it would be fun!!
Needless to say, both actions were cowardly and repulsive. However, the unanswered question is why? Does someone have a personal grudge against the individual selected to replace Anne or do they believe the threat will shut down WPV when Anne moves-on?
The Voice could always start over and be a real “news site” and publish their donors, instead of assuring donors they will remain anonymous. What is up with that? Tee hee. We all know what’s up with that. Secrecy leads to nothing good.
It is exactly this kind of nasty, vindictive and mean-spirited comment—a specialty of this commenter, her spouse and several others—that leads to the bullying, threatening behavior experienced by the person who received these threatening and profane messages.
Hello John W. You and I are at least using our real names. Anonymity, and the encouragement of same is what leads to trouble. But if you’d like to blame me, go ahead. Cheers!
It is odd the way you are obsessed with the names of donors to the Voice. This article discussed the serious problem of threatening communication toward a person who was to begin working at the Voice. What is your comment? Anonymity of the Voice’s donor! This clearly is a non sequitur, and a familiar one at that. Winter Park residents are faced with many important issues involving our city and our quality of life—who donates to the Voice is not among them. Yet, this is all that you and some others seem to care about. The article might be about green space, smart growth and development, or historic preservation, and still you rattle on about only one thing: who donates to the Voice.
This publisher’s donors’ names sure has the Warner’s in a stew.
John Wettach is right. Sad to say it was predictable that long standing and outspoken adversaries of the WP Voice would waste no time in projecting blame onto the victims of these bad acts. Is that what we are about?
Funny how nobody cares about donors. All the acolytes assume assume assume that it’s all above board. WP Magazine lists it’s donors. Why the secrecy here? Maybe the prospective editor thinks donors should be disclosed and the anonymous note maker disagrees. Strongly. Hmmm.
Who is financing the32789? Let’s be equitable in the criticism here.
I appreciate the WPV protecting their donors especially given this thuggish, criminal letter. No one is safe from these monsters.
I’m not surprised at the defenders of the anonymous letter.
And a round of applause to years of the WPV in-depth reporting that educated the masses. They have managed to survive horrendous attacks and the odds of surviving while other news sources faltered.
I hope the WPV can broaden their representation so one reporter isn’t on the receiving end of these threats.
I hope the Winter Park police will swiftly use any means possible whether it be by, surveillance, fingerprinting or use of DNA to identify this person or persons, apprehend them and press appropriate charges. This person(s) is/are stalking this potential editor of The Winter Park Voice. “Stalking is legally defined as when a person travels ‘with the intent to kill, injure, harass, intimidate, or place under surveillance with intent to kill injure, harass, or intimidate another person, and in the course of, or as a result of , such travel or presence engages in conduct” per the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence,2015. “This may include any form of verbal or electronic communication” per Legal Information Institute2013.” “Florida defines stalking as an intentional, malicious, and repeated harassment directed at a specific person. It includes unwanted telephone calls or emails, unwanted gifts, and surveillance of someone without their knowledge and /or consent (Florida Statute 784.048.” Stalking has a high propensity for the development of physical violence and injury. For example, weapons are commonly found in stalking cases; additionally, these cases are are closely related to homicides (Skiner, 2017.) This information is quoted from an article “Domestic Violence for Florida Nurses” authored by Marquetta Flaugher, Ph.D., ARNP-BC.
I was shocked and saddened to read about this. I believe in freedom in speech and if that person disagreed with anything written in the WP Voice why wouldn’t they just write a letter explaining their position? I hope Anne finds someone to pick up the baton and continue The Winter Park Voice. It’s an important publication for the Winter Park community.
To Anne Mooney
Editor: Winter Park Voice
Why don’t you publish a “Job post” that specifies the duties and activities that a potential candidate for Editor can expect to fulfill? Like any employment description, it should explain suggested time and skills required to do what you have done so well. Then appoint a Board who can review candidates — and along with you, nominate a replacement, and hold an open vote. . The alternative: Stay where you are – you have done a great job! Michael Harrell
It is wonderful to hear so many “voicing” their opinions as to how important THE VOICE is for the community and their appreciation for the job Anne has done. For those commenting on how we should do a search for someone to follow Anne, we have done that. Among other things, we posted a notice, with job description, on a board that goes to retired Sentinel reporters. We also queried other journalism institutions. We thought we had the job filled, but now we’ll resume our search.
A recent photo of the contributors
A proud contributor-
Tillman, and his associate, Col. Colt
If The Voice chose to incorporate as a non-profit, it would be as an educational organization, not a PAC.
Non-profits are required to make their financial information public, but not their donors, nor the amounts of the individual donations.
Only the total annual contributions are made public along with the tax return.
But, since The Voice is neither a non-profit educational organization nor is it a PAC, one can assume that it is a website, and that its donations received are either taxable or non-taxable to the individual(s) or organization(s) who receive them, according to applicable tax law.
Voice readers have offered a reward for information identifying the person(s) who sent the mean note.
Details of the reward were unveiled today as was a poster to get the word out around town about the note and the reward.
Call me crazy but ….I read opinions on both sides of an issue, anonymous and not, do my own research and make up my own mind. I know where my Pete Weldon newsletter comes from, but I’m not inclined to believe or disbelieve what is written there based on who sponsored it….I can think for myself. Sometimes I’ll agree sometimes not.