Talk about the world in your living room. Earlier this week Gawker, the pariah of tabloid gossip featured the story of 11 year old Jessi Slaughter and her family dysfunction, where dad is seen going ‘wacko wacko’ at some nondescript internet presence which he can not see, but all he knows has disturbed his daughter. As he rants we the viewer are lent a bird’s eye view to a scenario (courtesy of the subject daddy is beseeching) that for all intensive purposes should have remained private and non disclosed. Of course that’s not the way online media works.
So what appeared to be an emotional tirade gone awry suddenly morphed into something very predatory once people did a bit of investigation and tried to figure out the identity of the undisclosed little girl maddeningly crying as her dad was losing his top.
And once you go viral as every aspiring media whore will tell you- ‘you go viral!’ Except when this video went viral (to date the video at the time of publication has received 1.8 million views) the consequences weren’t payola pay days- but rather payola nuisance phone calls from people the family had never heard from before including phone calls threatening their daughter’s life.
How about that for viral? Star as an anonymous parody skit gone wrong, have a few people work out your real identity, get role played by a merciless media (one has to admire Gawker for suddenly being surprised and slightly peeved at the offensive treatment this girl’s family has endured, of course they can’t resist suggesting the little girl started it all) and wham now you have wackos calling you up threatening to kill you.
Granted the person who was getting the mouthful initially decided to submit this piece to the media, but one has to wonder at what point do media companies like Gawker have to exercise discretion, especially in light of their large influence in culture (for better or worse) when choosing to then share such content with their readership? It’s a question Jessi Slaughter and her dad must be asking themselves right now.