People Whose Lives Were Ruined By The Internet

January 26th 2016

Internet fame is a double-edged sword. It can either skyrocket you to the glory you've always wanted—like Justin Bieber and YouTube—or pretty much ruin your life. For example, when the digital space deems someone's appearance unflattering, they go viral and it sets off a series of critiques on social media. After a few days, the Internet usually tires of that punching bag and moves on to another. But what happens to people after they're done trending on social media for a bad reason? Do they get back on their feet again or go into hiding?

The response varies by person, but here are some people whose lives took a hit after going viral online.

1. Luke Gatti

Last fall, University of Connecticut student Luke Gatti faced immense backlash on the Internet after a 9-minute video surfaced of him drunkenly demanding macaroni and cheese at his university cafeteria. Gatti was repeatedly asked to leave because he was heavily intoxicated, but he refused to go anywhere without his carb fix and shouted a slew of homophobic slurs at the cafeteria manager. As Gatti became more aggressive a crowd formed around him and the manager, and he was arrested as people cheered him on.

A week later, Gatti posted an apology video to YouTube, stating he couldn't believe what he had done and that his behavior was a "wakeup call" to get on the right track:

"At the time, I was, to say the least, very intoxicated," Gatti said. "When I watched the video a few days later, I couldn't even believe it was me in it. I was just watching it, thinking, 'Oh my God.'"

Related: Twitter Trolls Have A Lot More Power Than You Think

Nevertheless, Gatti went to court for his actions and was granted accelerated rehabilitation, which means his case may be expunged from his record if he cooperates with drug testing and stays out of trouble with the law, according to NBC Connecticut. He is no longer attending the University of Connecticut,and the school won't say whether he was thrown out of school or chose to leave.

2. Jillian Kramer

Jillian Kramer TwitterJillian Kramer Twitter - twitter.com

Last summer, the Glamour writer began trending on social media after Vice writer Joel Golby mocked her post titled "13 Little Things That Can Make A Man Fall Hard For You." Kramer's less-than-ingenious suggestions included making one's man a snack after sex, stocking his fridge with his favorite beer to "bring him back to his fraternity days," answering the front door naked and giving him a massage—"happy ending completely optional."

Jillian Kramer Glamour articleGlamour

Golby picked apart each line item as a way of criticizing Kramer for perpetuating outdated female stereotypes, ultimately concluding:

"This isn't the way true love should be ... Are there not better things to be doing, Glamour? Do you not have lives to live, passions to explore, friends to be hanging out with? Do you really not have anything better to do than learn obscure sporting facts and rub my feet and then my dick? Do you not have hobbies?"

Many agreed with Golby's sentiment:

With the widespread backlash against Kramer, Glamour threw Kramer under the bus and took down the article, stating the hate surrounding it was well-deserved:

"We've been taking some heat for a post on man-pleasing tips that ran here a few days ago—and honestly, we kinda asked for it. (That's the consensus across the Internet and even within our own ranks). We hear you, tweeters—and we agree. Finding real, satisfying romance in 2015 essentially comes down to one thing: showing someone who you are, celebrating who he or she is, and respecting each other. We understand that the list read like a 1950s marriage handbook—and nobody wants to go back there."

Kramer is still writing for Glamour but lately she has been sticking to career and wedding planning content.

3. Nir Rosen

Nir Rosen TwitterNir Rosen Twitter - twitter.com

When journalist Lara Logan was sexually assaulted during the Egypt protests five years ago, war correspondent Nir Rosen published several tweets that were widely criticized by the public. He wrote that Logan "had to outdo" Anderson Cooper, who was punched multiple times during the protests, and minimized what happened to her by saying it had happened to "thousands of other women." He also criticized Logan for defending embattled former general Stanley McChrystal.

Nir Rosen tweets Huffington Post - huffingtonpost.com

The wave of criticism regarding the tweets pushed Rosen to resign from his fellowship at New York University and pen a Salon piece titled, "How 480 characters unraveled my career," writing:

"With 480 characters I undid a long career defending the weak and victims of injustice. There is no excuse for what I wrote. At the time, I did not know that the attack against Lara Logan was so severe, or included apparent sexual violence. Even so, any violence against anyone is wrong. I’ve apologized, lost my job, and humiliated myself and my family."

Rosen added that he wrote the tweets because he developed "dark humor" from working in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen and Lebanon and that he initially assumed Rosen had been "roughed up" like many journalists reporting in chaotic environments:

"When I first heard the news about Logan, I assumed she was roughed up like every other journalist — which is still bad — but I was jokingly trying to provoke one of my think tank friends on Twitter, thoughtlessly, of course, and terribly insensitively. Stupidly, I didn’t think the banter between myself and a couple of other guys would amount to anything."

4. Justine Sacco

Last year, The New York Times published an extensive piece on the crumbling of Justine Sacco's life after she posted a tasteless joke about AIDS on Twitter before getting on an 11-hour flight to South Africa. Her tweet read: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” and went viral during her flight, and it wasn't until she landed that she learned the entire Internet was talking about her. In fact, when Sacco landed, a Twitter user actually went to the airport to document her arrival like the paparazzi:

Sacco told The Times that she had never intended for the tweet to be taken at face value and that she'd spent a lot of time crying over the response to it. “I cried out my body weight in the first 24 hours,” she said. “It was incredibly traumatic. You don’t sleep. You wake up in the middle of the night forgetting where you are.”

Sacco lost her job over the tweet. “I had a great career, and I loved my job, and it was taken away from me, and there was a lot of glory in that," she said. "Everybody else was very happy about that.”

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