Verified Journalist on Twitter Calls Police on Target Manager Over a Toothbrush: Backfires Spectacularly
David Leavitt has 215,000 followers on Twitter. His bio reads "Award-Winning Multimedia Journalist. Bylines: CBS, AXS, Yahoo, Examiner, etc." With a resume like that, he's not the kind of person you would expect to be publicly shaming retail workers, and yet, that's exactly what he did...over a toothbrush.
Leavitt posted on Twitter about an upsetting trip to Target where he tried to buy an expensive toothbrush for a penny. He claimed this was part of a law requiring retailers to sell an item for the advertised price. The price on the display for the toothbrush was marked at 0.01 cents. It was also clearly marked "display." When the Target manager, Tori (now known as #TargetTori) refused to allow Leavitt to rip off the store, he called the police, photographed her and posted her photo on Twitter expecting the Internet to help him shame an hourly worker. But that's not how the Internet works.
When people started pushing back against his public shaming of a girl trying to do her job, he dug his hole deeper by making excuses for this terrible behavior. "I did not call 911," he wrote. "I called the business number for the police and told them it was not an emergency and they could take their time and explained the situation," as if that makes calling the police over a toothbrush acceptable. "I have not been able to afford to go to a dentist in over three years," he tweeted from his several-hundred dollar iPhone.
The response to this nonsense was immediate and cutting.
Then the memes started.
But then, magic happened. Carpe Donktum, who is famous for making memes the president retweets regularly, started a GoFundMe campaign to sent #TargetTori on a vacation to escape jerks like this at work. It's currently at $28,000.
The Daily Beast is trying to insinuate that the campaign is fake and Tori doesn't exist. But this person didn't dig very far because I found Leavitt's articles right here. Some of them are in the NYT. Is "imposter David Leavitt" linking to another David Leavitt who writes about Magic the Gathering? It doesn't seem likely. Leavitt's Instagram account is linked to the same photo and the full of Magic the Gathering cards and gamer interests. And if he's not who he says he is, then how did he get verified on Twitter? If there is a journalist out there with the same name and this guy has taken his identity, why hasn't he sued him and Twitter yet?
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The Daily Beast can't be bothered to look into a basic Google search, though. According to one of their intrepid reporters, it's all a right-wing scam and Tori doesn't exist.
The Daily Beast reporter has not taken down his allegation that Tori is not real even after this post with Tori holding up a "thank you" sign with the hashtag "Target Tori" on it. This is clearly the same girl.
The attention-seeking Leavitt couldn't leave it alone and go away quietly. He had to take credit for giving #TargetTori a vacation. Considering so many conservatives have been kicked off Twitter for "targeted harassment" one wonders what Leavitt would have to do to reach that threshold. Isn't posting a photo of a retail worker and identifying her store and calling for repercussions "targeted harassment?" His account is still active.
This video gives a great overview of the whole story.
Megan Fox is the author of “Believe Evidence; The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo,” and host of The Fringe podcast. Follow on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter