Like any rabid Kentucky basketball fan, actress Ashley Judd was watching the South Eastern Conference championship game between Arkansas and Kentucky and live-tweeting her reactions Sunday night.

Judd said she thought Arkansas was playing dirty. This was enough, apparently, to set off a stream of misogynistic invective. “When I express a stout opinion during #MarchMadness I am called a whore, c—, threatened with sexual violence. Not okay,” she tweeted.

Judd is a survivor of rape and incest.

She told MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts she would press charges, presumably against those who issued physical threats, and she expressed remorse for accusing Arkansas of playing dirty.

“Yesterday I was upset that three Kentucky players were bleeding on the floor,” Judd said. “In my impassioned game moment, I said something that, if I were in a more calm state of mind, I might have phrased differently. I might have said, ‘I feel really disappointed with what seems ultra-aggressive play.’ Instead, I wrote, ‘I think Arkansas is playing dirty.’ ”

It’s difficult to predict what will happen next, or if law enforcement will bother taking the harassment seriously. Judd, thanks to her famous face and 243,000 Twitter followers, stands a better chance than most probably would.

Last year, a British judge jailed a troll for 18 weeks for tweeting rape threats at a female politician in the United Kingdom, but The Washington Post’s Caitlin Dewey explained that it’s unlikely something similar would ever happen stateside.

This sort of treatment has become so standard it’s hardly news. People are pelted with all manner of horrid insults and threats every day on Twitter, especially if they’re women tweeting about a subject dominated chiefly by men. Enduring a constant stream of Internet bile is seen as the price of admission for participating in public debate.

“We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years,” Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo wrote in a company memo last month. “It’s no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. … There’s no excuse for it. I take full responsibility for not being more aggressive on this front. It’s nobody else’s fault but mine, and it’s embarrassing.” This week, the platform instituted a new tool for reporting ongoing, targeted harassment to the police. Gizmodo called it a “dodging, spineless fix” and a “PR stunt.”

One user named Matthew Spence, who disagreed with Judd pushing back, tweeted: “You can’t trash talk and not expect blowback.”

But many women, such as



have said there’s a difference between threats of rape and violence and run of the mill “blowback.”

Judd is a pretty keen Kentucky basketball fan, but the vitriol thrown her way is par for the course for women in sports such as ESPN’s Cari Champion or Jemele Hill — so much so that’s it’s practically baked into the job description. Remember those vile tweets Artie Lange felt compelled to direct at Champion last year? The Post’s Marissa Payne called them “racist, sexist, misogynistic and just plain gross.”

“I had a situation a couple years ago where I had to contact the U.S. Army, because someone had sent me a vile racist and sexist letter on one of their e-mail accounts,” Hill said during a journalism industry event. “I probably wouldn’t have bothered to contact them, but this person scared me a little because he made reference to physically threatening me if he saw me in person. I wanted them to be aware. They investigated and someone from that e-mail account responded, claiming that their account had been used by another person and apologizing.”