Nukes, death threats, and racism. Another day in the life of the internet

Poor Jeffrey Wong. He had the misfortune of being photographed by the Associated Press for a story last year about how Hawaii is preparing for the missle threat from North Korea.

He was shown happily preparing.

– In this July 21, 2017 file photo, Jeffrey Wong, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency’s operations officer, shows computer screens monitoring hazards at the agency’s headquarters in Honolulu. The photo originally accompanied an Associated Press story in July about Hawaii preparing for a missile threat from North Korea. Jennifer Sinco Kelleher | AP File

When the agency for whom Wong works issued a false warning of an incoming missile last month, some news organizations — the Associated Press didn’t identify them — used the photo to illustrate the story, even though he didn’t make the mistake, nor hire the guy who did.

Boing Boing published an article that said a password on a post-it note raised questions about the security at the agency.

The internet took it from there, the AP reports.

Some of their comments called for Wong to be shot and water-boarded and there were also racially derogatory comments with some people questioning his loyalty to Hawaii and the U.S., he said.

The photo also included a yellow sticky note in the background that appeared to have a password on it, which people circulating the photo after the false alert pointed out as a reason to criticize the emergency management agency — prompting even more online rage.

Fearing for his safety, Wong took screen-shots and print-outs to Honolulu police and filed a police report four days after the Jan. 13 false alert. Authorities are conducting a first-degree terroristic threatening and harassment investigation, said police spokeswoman Michelle Yu.

When the alert was issued, Wong was attending a conference on the civil air patrol, and spent the time shepherding people to relative safety. The internet didn’t much care about one way or the other apparently.

To his credit, perhaps, when the Associated Press wrote his story this week about the torture he’s endured, he again agreed to pose for a photo.

In this Feb. 1, 2018 photo, Jeffrey Wong, current operations officer for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, poses for a photo in Honolulu. He filed a police report after seeing threatening comments online from people who confused him with being the agency employee who mistakenly sent a missile alert. He wants to set the record straight that he’s not the so-called “button-pusher” and was on a different island when the alert was sent from Honolulu on Jan. 13. Jennifer Sinco Kelleher | AP