As It Happens

Chicago sports columnist is threatened for covering Patrick Kane story

A Chicago-based columnist is receiving online threats for her coverage of the sexual assault allegations against NHL player Patrick Kane. Julie DiCaro tweeted that she would be working from home today as a precaution.
Chicago journalist Julie DiCaro has received threats on Twitter following her coverage of Patrick Kane. The Chicago Blackhawks player has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman in August. Kane insisted he is innocent at a press conference on Sept. 17, 2015. (Left: 435 Digital, Right: AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
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WARNING: This story contains graphic and explicit language. 

A Chicago-based columnist is receiving online threats for her coverage of the sexual assault allegations against NHL player Patrick Kane. Julie DiCaro tweeted that she would be working from home today as a precaution. 

"There were a lot of things … A lot of comments about 'I hope you're Bill Cosby's next victim' and 'you need to be beaten to death with a hockey stick,'" she tells As it Happens guest host Laura Lynch. "There was one in particular that sort of referenced where I enter my work building every day. So, that was the one that was sort of alarming to me and the people around me."

 

DiCaro has been covering Kane's story since allegations against him surfaced in early August. A woman has accused the Chicago Blackhawks right-winger of sexually assaulting her at a home near Buffalo, New York. No charges have been laid.

At a press conference last week, Kane insisted he is innocent and said he expects to be exonerated. He's still playing with the Chicago Blackhawks. 

"It's been disappointing to a lot of us ... the way that this has been handled from the beginning. It seems to have been like 'let's just keep our heads down and pretend this isn't happening," says DiCaro. "I think this is helping to embolden people who are attacking victims and embolden people who are attacking journalists. I think it's really unfortunate."

DiCaro is not the only journalist receiving threats. In a tweet earlier today, DiCaro said that her colleagues were also being targeted online, mentioning Chicago Sun-Times reporter Mark Lazerus, ESPN radio host Sarah Spain and journalist Tim Graham.

She says, however, that comments toward women have been more violent.

"When it comes to the women, it seems to be much more calculated to demean, destroy and threaten," she says. "It feels a little bit like sports is the province of men, and women shouldn't be involved."

A tweet directed at ESPN's Spain reads: "You need to knocked out like Janay Rice ... Do all of us a favor and jump off the Willis Tower and kill yourself!"

Today, the Erie County District Attorney said in a press conference that the accuser's mother had tampered with evidence. DiCaro thinks that this may have a negative effect on the credibility of the case.
Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita III holds a Rape Kit Box as he addresses the media about allegations of evidence tampering in connection with the sexual assault allegations in Buffalo, N.Y. Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. ((AP Photo/Gary Wiepert))

"What has happened in the Kane case in the past couple days has sort of just stoked the fire. All these people from the beginning who were saying this accuser was money grubbing and just out to destroy his career … they feel like they're having that validated by what has taken place."   

Despite all the hateful comments that DiCaro has received, she says she will continue covering the story.
"I've reached the point in my life where you can hurl all sorts of horrible invective at me and I can take it. I'm not going to stop talking about it. It's an issue that our entire society needs to be talking about."