During a speech earlier this week, actress Gwyneth Paltrow compared online bullying to war, and the backlash has been fierce. The star talked about cyber bullying and explained at a web coding conference, "You come across (online comments) about yourself and about your friends, and it's a very dehumanising thing. It's almost like how, in war, you go through this bloody, dehumanising thing, and then something is defined out of it. My hope is, as we get out of it, we'll reach the next level of conscience."
Cindy McCain, the wife of former U.S. Presidential candidate and Vietnam war vet John McCain, was angered by the comparison and wrote on Twitter, "Gweneth (sic) Paltrow is a joke. Her life is like taking bullets for a soldier. What a joke! My 2 sons serving in the military should talk to her... Perhaps Gweneth (sic) Paltrow should go out on patrol with some soldiers. Kind of like a red carpet in her mind I guess!"
U.S. Army Sergeant Bryan Sikes wrote an open letter on ClashDaily.com, saying in part, "You know what is really 'dehumanising', Miss Paltrow? The fact that you'd even consider that your life as an 'A-list' celebrity reading internet comments could even compare to war and what is endured on the battlefield... Let me be the first to burst your bubble: a long line at Starbucks, your driver being 3 minutes late, a scuff mark on your $1200 shoes and a mean tweet do not constitute difficulty in the eyes of a soldier."
The comments angered some veterans groups, including Veterans for Peace. A rep for the organization told TMZ.com, "She doesn't understand what it means to be in real danger ... Not someone talking to you on the Internet, but actually having bullets shot at you. I've gone to war and had that kind of fear. She's not in a situation where she can compare the two. She hasn't had to fear for her life and not know whether she'd make it home."