When a photographer started harassing a young model, her friend took action — by posting his number on Twitter. We talked exclusively to the victim about her stalker's creepy messages, and her friend's Twitter response.
Bucky Turco, editor-in-chief of Animal New York, tweeted yesterday about a man who was harassing his friend:
He followed it up with the guy's cell phone number:
When we called, Gloomy's phone just rang and rang — but we did get in touch with the model, Sarah McSweeney (who agreed to be identified by name). McSweeney told me Gloomy initially found her through a mutual friend on Facebook, and when she accepted his friend request he immediately began IM-ing her. When she stopped responding, he wrote this:
if you're a bitch keeping your sweet side for but whom you chose to share it with then please let me know now and i wont bother for i know the type to the T.. save you and me some precious time.. im just trying to spark a conversation here.. if you dont even know me and dont know what to say and feel akward and all that crap.. take me off your friends.. act,, do or say something or tell me to fuck off.. i much prefer beef to diluted mush.. FORZA !!
McSweeney responded that she used Facebook "strictly for contacting those I need to speak with," but his messages kept coming. He wrote,
funnie i ask you courteous questions you ignore.. i raise my voice at you and you respond instantlie with the same length bark.. work on the surprise factor next time that shit is widespread like the flu.. oh.. please just block me there chap.. or flush.. the choice is all yours.. leave the in between far away out of my reach where i most enjoy it.. the pleasure is all mine like i was after some facebook beef
He then wrote a long, apologetic message asking her out for coffee, plugging his artwork (and, oddly, the fact that he lives under the Williamsburg Bridge), and suggesting that he photograph her. He added, "im a dude that is probablie gona be mad attracted to you and def gona want you but that im not sure i can help.. the dog in me cant possiblie be tamed on this one im afraid." Then he started in again with insults, calling her a "fucking cunt" and a bitch and saying that "my silence means nothing and he can't wait to watch me crumble." Finally McSweeney started getting uncomfortable — he had started talking about knowing friends of hers — and so she enlisted her male friends to call him. That's how Turco got the number and posted it on Twitter.
McSweeney says she didn't ask Turco to tweet the number, but she's happy he did. She says Gloomy "is psychotic and deserves anything that's coming to him," and explains, "the only reason I'm really adamant about screwing this guy over is that I really think hes a threat to people." She adds that she's not looking for revenge, but wants to warn other women who might otherwise accept his advances.
So is crowdsourcing justice the right approach here? When MIA tweeted a journalist's number in response to an unflattering profile (apparently rife with misquotes), I disapproved — I worried that if all subjects "crowdsourced revenge" after pieces they didn't like, journalists might stop criticizing people entirely. But McSweeney's case is different — Gloomy made his number visible to her not by contacting her for an interview, but by sending her unsolicited and frightening messages. There was no social value in what he was doing — and if he wants to insult and intimidate women on Facebook, he'll have to accept the consequence that those women might see and use his contact info. Gloomy used social media to harass McSweeney — using social media to harass him back may be a blunt tactic, but it's a fair one.