Stapes Twitter fight starts with a pun, ends in hate speech

Jon Pill
Posted on: April 22, 2021 15:56 PDT

It began with word play. Joe Stapleton pulled out one of his old jokes by turning "hole" to "hold" in a description of Omaha.

"It goes by many names. PLO. Four card. Four card hold 'em. Ok, maybe just a few names. But still," Stapes wrote. "It's twice as many hold cards as hold 'em and we like that. Come hang with us today as we have PLO's biggest hype man ( @Joeingram1) joining us for the conclusion of the 5k."

@CladeMalum did not quite catch the joke. No worries, it happens to the best of us, and also to Matt Savage. Writing is an imperfect medium, and Stapes really knows how to turn a gag into a bit.

Because of what followed, one has to go to the Way Back Machine for a record of Malum's side of the conversation. Malum's account is now permanently struck from Twitter for breach of terms of service. Malum, as a noun, translates from the Latin as "the bad."

"They are called 'hole cards' not 'hold cards'," Malum says.

Ah, how the innocents come to the slaughter. Stapes pounced on this.

"Like the song says 'You gotta know when to hole 'em....know when to fole 'em.' LOLOLOL," he said, letting the joke build momentum. "I've been hosting poker TV shows for 11 years, but you probably know better than me, 'Clade.'

Amo, amas, amat, ...

Clade malum, as a stand alone Latin phrase, appears grammatically unsound. However, it can be translated as "the bad from the calamity." Which is kind of amusing in context.

Malum utterly lost it. In a couple of dozen Tweets he invoked everyone from Google to PokerNews in his rant against Stapes. He had chosen a hill to die on, quite possibly literally. At one point he was offering $500 to fight various people in an MMA bout. Trial by combat.

This nonsense went on for hours. PokerNews threw up mock-definitions pages, people posted altered headlines, the fun went on and on.

Malum still hadn't cottoned on. "You literally are too stubborn to admit you used the wrong terminology and rather sick your fans on me that admit that," he wrote at one point. "You are a disgusting human being and I would challenge you to show me where I am wrong? Waiting????????"

Taking pity on the poor guy, K. L. Cleeton stepped in to explain what was happening. Hoping to relieve a bewildered and embattled Malum.

As Cleeton put it when I spoke to him about it: "I merely pointed out that he was indeed falling for the bit and tried to help him avoid further embarrassment by having everyone in the replies laughing at him. Apparently he didn't take that well."

To explain, for the Malum's of this world: that is understatement.

No tolerance for intolerance

Cleeton's Tweet to Malum triggered a slew of hate speech aimed at Cleeton's disability — Spinal Muscular Atrophy has almost completely paralysed Cleeton from the neck down.

"Well if the cripple says so," Malum wrote sarcastically to Cleeton in one reply. "Maybe you missed the 'running gag' because you can't run homie."

Malum has previous experience in this field. Just in the last few days he referred to a child who was shot by police as a "little roach" in a previous Tweet. He also aggressively defended the murderer of George Floyd. So, hate speech appears to come naturally to him.

Despite the fracas, Cleeton remains positive about the poker community.

"I think one only needs to look at the replies to see the true reflection of what and who the poker community are," he says. "Overall, even though we play a largely zero-sum game with the only purpose being to take each other's money, the poker community is generally thoughtful and kindhearted."

If you want to prove him right, Veronica Brill is running a gofundme to get Cleeton an accessible van.

That's the hold-story, start to finish.

Featured image source: Twitter