When Social Media 'Shaming' Goes From Funny to 'Too Far'
5 months ago
Feeling bitter? Keep it private, not public
This week, adding another notch to the bedpost that is Kardashian-related news, Robert—brother to the famed trio of sisters—embarked on a Twitter tirade against his now ex-girlfriend, singer and rising star Rita Ora.
Choosing not to mince or sugarcoat his words so as to protect, you know, his entire family's reputation (not that it's that exemplary) or avoid the wrath of Jay-Z (Ora's manager, and with him, his entire influential network), Kardashian took to the social network to slam the singer for (it seems) cheating on him.
But instead of a posting the usual passive-aggressive message—Justin Bieber went with a cryptic anagram for "single" when news broke of his break-up—Kardashian chose to expose Ora's (alleged, varied, and unsafe) sexual history.
He wrote, among other things: "I'm disgusted a woman could give up her body to more than 20 dudes in less than a year's time while trying to start a career" and "So you let me get you pregnant and you let others hit raw[?]" (See more below)
Sure, he's since deleted the tweets, as well as denied that they were ever directed at Ora to begin with—not that his denial makes a difference since she's already taken an equally high-road approach by responding: "Rob's d**k was wack [so] I had to go get it somewhere else"—but it seems his remorse comes too little, too late. After all, post-rant, and likely much to the chagrin of the singer, the phrase and pun "Rita Whora" began trending on Twitter among amused users.
So, when does Internet "shaming" go from funny to 'too far'?
As of late, the trend has certainly become popular, but most often with innocent babies and dogs as the targets. Respective parents and owners post pictures of the cute culprit next to the scene of their accidental crime -- say, an expensive, but now broken gadget -- sometimes with a handwritten note added, admitting their mistake.
But when the offender is an adult, and when there's more at stake than a chewed-up shoe, should shaming be kept off public platforms?
"I would strongly advise that," said Holly Parker, lecturer on psychology at Harvard University. "What can be gained productively otherwise? This is fundamentally a form of revenge. The Internet is a great tool but, in the wrong hands, it can unfortunately allow people an opportunity to enact social revenge on a very large scale. And when we enact revenge, we stoop to the level, or below the level, of the person with whom we're upset. Besides, it doesn't really make people feel better."