A Twitter user who allegedly tried to cause Newsweek writer Kurt Eichenwald to have a seizure by tweeting a strobing graphic at him has been arrested by the FBI on federal charges.
John Rayne Rivello, 29, of Salisbury, Maryland, was arrested Friday on suspicion of cyberstalking after allegedly tweeting Eichenwald, who is known to have epilepsy, a strobing GIF with text reading “You deserve a seizure for your posts” on Dec. 15.
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Eichenwald’s wife said on Twitter that the strobing image had caused a seizure and that police had been alerted.
The account the message was sent from, @jew_goldstein, has since been suspended.
The account contained direct messages to other Twitter users that included statements by Rivello, such as “I hope this sends him into a seizure,” “Spammed this at [victim] let’s see if he dies,” and “I know he has epilepsy,” the office of Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco announced Friday.
Rivello’s iCloud account also contained a screenshot of a Wikipedia page for Eichenwald that had been altered to show a fake obituary with the date of death listed as Dec. 16, 2016, as well as screen shots from epilepsy.com with a list of commonly reported seizure triggers, prosecutors said.
In an interview with Good Morning America after the incident, Eichenwald said other Twitter users followed suit by also sending him strobing GIFs.
“I can't look at my Twitter feed anymore,” Eichenwald said on GMA. “Apparently, a lot of people find this very funny. A lot of people who identify themselves as Trump supporters are loading up my feed with more strobes.”
On Friday, Eichenwald tweeted that more than 40 people tweeted strobing images at him after they learned they could induce seizures.
Information on those Twitter users, he tweeted, had also been turned over to authorities.