Confused about why American defence contractor, Lockheed Martin, has been trending on Twitter for the past two days? Chances are, you aren’t alone.
It all kicked off in April this year when Ana Mardoll, a Twitter-famous trans and disabled author, claimed that expecting writers to read other books was ableist. Part of his reasoning was that people with ADHD may have difficulty focusing, where reading can be elitist and exclusionary.
Many internet users criticised these claims, where discussion on Kiwi Farms, an internet forum dedicated to gossiping about online figures and communities, resulted in Ana being doxxed and exposed for being a long-time employee of Lockheed Martin— an American corporation working across industries including aerospace, arms, defence and information security.
Known for speaking out on social issues, Ana’s employment history sparked debate online about ableism and ethical consumption under capitalism. Many Twitter users noted that his employment at Lockheed Martin contradicts his unapologetically leftist online persona.
One Internet user wrote, “If you’re working for the military-industrial complex, you are complicit in mass death. Your identity and your haters does not excuse your complacency.”
Although Ana has since deactivated his Twitter account, he addressed the backlash in a series of Tweets.
“I got this particular job because my family works for the same company,” he shared. “I stay because I am on an unusual part-time arrangement for medical reasons.”
In light of his explanation, some Twitter users have come to Ana’s defense, claiming that it is ableist to criticise the author for taking a “legacy job” at Lockheed Martin. With a labour market that doesn’t cater to disabilities and the high costs of health care in the United States, these internet users are giving Ana the benefit of the doubt.
“Ana needs to pay medical bills and carry insurance while working part time from home,” @ADubiousPronoun writes. “Those things aren’t easy to find.
However, many users feel he shouldn’t be excused, claiming that justifying Ana’s employment is an example of “transmisogyny in action.” For some, defending Ana’s job undermines the experiences of non-white people suffering due Lockheed Martin’s weaponry.
After this saga, its safe to say that the devil works hard but Twitter users work harder.