On Wednesday, GQ published a profile of Melania Trump penned by the journalist Julia Ioffe. Since then, Ioffe has been harassed by Trump supporters sending her anti-Semitic threats like photoshopped images of her wearing a Jude star, and others referencing the Holocaust.
Soon after it was published, Melania Trump released a statement on Facebook expressing her displeasure over the piece. "The article published in GQ today is yet another example of the dishonest media and their disingenuous reporting," she wrote, adding, "Julia Ioffe, a journalist who is looking to make a name for herself, clearly had an agenda when going after my family."
Trump supporters were quick to respond, and Ioffe quickly started receiving hateful messages and threatening calls:
Ioffe told the Guardian on Thursday that she found the messages extremely disturbing. “I started the day off having a sense of humor about it," she said, "but by the end of the day, after a few phone calls… with people playing Hitler speeches, and the imagery, and people telling me my face would look good on a lampshade, it’s hard to laugh.”
Ioffe said that her family emigrated to the United States to escape anti-Semitism in Russia.
Donald Trump has been openly derisive of the press, and the possibility of a Trump presidency has shaken reporters. In February, Trump said "we ought to open up the libel laws," adding, “when [members of the press] write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money."
And in November, when a reporter took issue with Tump's false claims that "thousands and thousands" of Muslims in New Jersey cheered the September 11 terror attacks, Trump targeted him directly. "Now, the poor guy… you’ve got to see this guy," he said, before apparently mocking the reporter's disability, “‘Ah, I don’t know what I said! I don’t remember!’”
For Ioffe, the attacks signify that a Trump presidency would be dangerous for members of the press. "This is not a heavily critical article. There is nothing in it that is untrue," Ioffe told the Guardian of her piece, adding, “If this is how Trump supporters swing into action what happens when the press looks into corrupt dealings, for example, or is critical of his policies?”
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.