10 Famous Internet Shamings That Actually Ruined Peoples Lives
Have you ever wanted to be internet famous? Be careful what you wish for because there is a very fine line between internet fame and internet infamy. In the good old says vigilantes would chase criminals out of towns and villages when the local police were too inept to do it themselves; well vigilantism is back in a big way and anyone with a laptop or phone can join in! The world wide spread of social media has allowed huge online communities to become the judge, jury and executioner for anyone they deem worthy of punishment.
Internet shamings are becoming a regular occurrence, with people punishing those who have done wrong by posing evidence online and watching it go viral. The perpetrators are usually identified and harassed by thousands of people, their reputations are ruined and their lives are changed forever. The list below shows some of the most extreme examples of internet shamings that have completely ruined people’s lives forever.
#10 – Paul Christoforo
This is the face of Paul Christoforo, a man who managed to ruin his company in just a few days. His PR firm was hired to represent another company, N-Control, makers of the Playstation 3 Avenger controller. A disgruntled customer who had ordered an avenger controller which he never received emailed the company demanding a refund; Paul did not take kindly to this and decided to reply with a huge rant.
Paul, who had clearly not been trained in customer service, said in an email ‘you look like a complete moron’. He didn’t stop there; he went on to say ‘sometimes we get children like you we just have to put you in the corner with a stupid hat on’. Not the best customer service strategy. The customer informed the owner of Penny Arcade, a gaming community, who posted all the emails online. The community reacted furiously and wrote hundreds of negative reviews for the gaming controller, sending its Amazon rating down to 1 star. Paul Chirtoforo was fired and his company tanked.
#9 – Justine Sacco
This is a story of how to completely ruin your life with one tweet. Justine Sacco was waiting to board her flight to South Africa at London Heathrow airport when she decided to tweet the following to her 170 followers ‘Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white! Justine casually boarded her 17 hour flight and though nothing more of it.
In the mean time, the questionable tweet was picked up by a tech blogger who retweeted it to his 15,000 followers. This started a snowball effect and before long the Justine’s tweet was the top trend worldwide. People reacted with extreme anger to the tweet, calling her racist and even sending death threats. Justine was none the wiser, until she landed in South Africa and discovered she was now infamous; she lost her job and due to the scale of the scandal her name will forever be associated with that mildly racist tweet.
#8 – Adam Smith
When Adam Smith discovered that the CEO of fast food company Chick-Fil-A’s had gone on an anti-gay rant, he was not happy about it. The CEO of the company had recently given an interview stating that gay marriage ‘is inviting God’s judgement on the US’. To say that Adam disagreed with this stance is an understatement, but instead of directing his anger towards the CEO himself, Adam decided to go the nearest Chick-Fil-A drive though and abuse the staff. Oh, and he filmed it.
Adam unleashed a torrent of abuse on the innocent staff member, saying ‘I don’t know how you can live with yourself’. He uploaded the video to YouTube expecting to receive support for his actions, unfortunately for Adam, the opposite happened. The video spread around the internet and people judged Adam as a bully. He lost his job and is unable to find another as his name is tarnished.
#7 – Lindsey Stone
Well it doesn’t take a genius to work out why this person became one of the most hated in the country. Lindsey Stone worked for a charity which organised trips for adults with learning difficulties; she was on one such trip to Washington DC when her and her friend decided to take a photo, a photo that would ruin her life. Lindsey and her friend had a running gag where they would take photo’s next to signs doing what the signs tells them not to do, so when she came across a sign saying ‘Silence and respect’ at the national cemetery she couldn’t resist.
Lindsey had her friend take a photo of her swearing and pretending to shout next to the sign, it was then posted on Facebook. Not much happened for a few weeks, but all of a sudden the picture went viral and Lindsey became a hate figure. Lindsay was immediately fired from her dream job and she barely left her house for a whole year.
#6 – Racist Chelsea Fans
Everyone knows that soccer fans are hooligans right?! Well these Chelsea fans lived up to the stereotype when they traveled to Paris to watch their team play. For the most part the notoriously boisterous fans remained civilised, but in the Paris metro things began to get very ugly. A group of rowdy Chelsea fans were packed onto a train and shouting loudly, a French man of African descent was attempting to get onto the train but was repeatedly being pushed off by the Chelsea fans. The group then began to sing racist chants including ‘I’m racist and that’s how I like it’.
Unknown to the Chelsea fans, the whole incident was being filmed by a passer by on their phone who then uploaded the video to social media where it went viral. The identities of the men involved were discovered and they all lost their jobs as well as receiving lifetime bans from attending any football match.
#5 – Dog Poop Girl
One of the first examples of internet shaming is the dog poop girl, affectionately named after an incident on a subway train. The girl in question was with her small dog on a South Korean subway when her furry friend left an unexpected parcel in the middle of the carriage. The other subway users were not happy with the new addition to the train and requested that she clean the mess, she refused.
One of the subway users took a photo of the incident and posted it to a popular South Korean blog; within days the girl had been identified and hoards of her personal information was shared online. Reports say that both she and her family received constant abuse and she ended up quitting university; just goes to show you should always clean up after your pets.
#4 – Cat Abuser
If the internet is anything to go by then cats are extremely popular, apparently this young boy didn’t get the message when he asked his friend to film him abusing his pet cat. The video was seen over 30,000 times before it was taken down. Despite being removed from YouTube, internet vigilantes from the website 4Chan managed to extrapolate the identity of the boy from his YouTube username and the location where the video was shot, internet vigilantism at its finest!
The information was passed onto local police who launched an investigation, eventually finding the boy and the cameraman and arresting them both. The cat, named dusty, survived the incident and was placed in the care of a local vet while the two boys were charged with animal cruelty and left with a criminal record. Don’t you just love a happy ending!
#3 – Walter Palmer
This guy is public enemy number 1 right now and if you find him you may be obligated to send him to Zimbabwe. As you may have guessed from those stunning teeth, Walter is a dentist, be he’s also a keen animal hunter in his spare time; his most recent kill, however, has landed him in a bit of trouble. Mr Palmer paid upward of $50,000 to hunt a lion in Zimbabwe and to receive the lion’s head as a trophy. The guides who organised the hunt lured a lion named Cecil from a protected sanctuary to the open plains where he was illegally hunted and shot by Walter Palmer.
Walter returned home the US and waited for the lions head to be delivered to him, unaware of the fact that his actions were about to become world news. The story of Cecil’s death reached the internet and sparked a worldwide witch hunt; Walter has gone into hiding and the Zimbabwe government is seeking his extradition to face justice.
#2 – Mary Bale
It was a fairly normal day in Coventry, England, when Mary Bale was walking down the street near her home. She came across a cat sitting on a wall; she stopped to stroke it, then grabbed it by the neck and put it in a rubbish collection bin. This strange series of events was captured on a security camera of a nearby home and was posted online once the owner of the cat had realized what had happened.
The video was shared thousands of times on Facebook and became one of the most watched videos of the year. Mary was identified and was forced to appear in court, she was only fined £250 for her actions, but her life was changed forever. She was dubbed ‘the most evil woman in Britain’ and was harassed with death threats and hate mail for months.
#1 – Monica Lewinski
Who doesn’t recognize the name Monica Lewinski?! It’s been nearly 20 years since the first incident of internet shaming which involved the most powerful man in the world and his intern. It was the mid 90’s and the internet was still its infancy, there was no social media and a limited number of people had access to the web. This didn’t stop the internet for fueling what would become one of the largest scandals in US history.
The story first appeared on the internet gossip column the Drudge Report, causing rumors and hearsay to spread around the country. The scandal eventually erupted as large news organisations picked up the story, forcing Clinton to speak out. The whole event caused Lewinski to become the butt of jokes for years and seriously discredited the president. Lewinski eventually moved to London to escape the constant media attention on her life.