Trolling on the interwebz is nothing new, with the likes of Twitter and Facebook enabling the troll generation to fester. To be fair, some well-crafted troll comments are genuinely hilarious – like the time Kim Kardashian’s IMDB was hacked to reflect the extent of her “entertainment career”. This week, however, things got pretty nasty on the WWW, with Australia’s Next Top Model judge Charlotte Dawson getting told to #gohangyourself via Twitter.
As a seasoned professional in receiving online threats and bullying, Dawson RTed the abuse she had received – as per her troll-handling MO – intending to shame the bully publicly. After the troll tweeted: “on behalf of NZ we would like you to please go hang yourself”, Dawson’s followers immediately sprung to her support, including one woman who’s fiance had committed suicide. The troll responded with the tweet: “If I was your fiance, I’d hang myself too.” Nasty disgusting stuff.
After seeing her supporter receive such a hateful message Dawson, an ambassador for anti-bullying program Community Brave, tracked down the twitter user, Tanya Heti IRL, and contacted her over the phone, and then reported the incident to Heti’s employer Melbourne’s Monash University.
Monash issued a statement saying that their employee was commenting on a personal level and had no endorsement from the university. Heti has been stood down (with pay) whilst the situation is investigated further.
With people and trolls alike weighing in on the debacle, The Daily Telegraph gave Dawson the opportunity to host an online forum this morning that you can read here. Some users commended her attempts to force accountability onto the bully, while others were more concerned with perfecting the art of trolling themselves, with one user asking Dawson if she needs ‘a teaspoon of cement?’
Dawson is not the first Australian to publicly shame a cyber bully, with author Marieke Hardy (wrongfully) naming and shaming an internet troll earlier this year. Do you think this approach is the best way to combat online bullying or is it simply feeding the trolls?
Words By Nikki Brogan
Photo by Graham Denholm for Getty Images