Nik Richie — founder of TheDirty.com, a website that cruelly mocks, and some would say defames, the non-famous — appeared on 20/20 on Friday, where he presented the same kind of unapologetic, self-aggrandizing, total asshole-ish persona as has in the past, referring to himself as a "blog star." Except in this interview, he seemed more delusional than ever, claiming that he is to the internet what Howard Stern is to radio and what Larry Flynt is to publishing.
Sarah Jones is a high school English and math teacher and was a professional cheerleader for the NFL Cincinnati Bengals when she became one of the targets of Richie's site. Pictures of Jones were posted on TheDirty along with assertions about her sex life, like how big of a slut she is and the different STDs she supposedly has. Jones repeatedly wrote to Richie, asking him to remove the defamatory content, but he refused. When the 15-year-old kids that Jones teaches found these rumors about her on the internet, it shattered her reputation at the school. Richie, however, remains unrepentant about the life he's basically ruined, saying that Jones obviously wants sexual attention, seeing as how she dresses in skimpy clothing to be a cheerleader. So by Richie's logic, it's OK to do horrible things to a woman merely because she's "asking for it" with her attire? Not according to a federal judge in Kentucky, who awarded Jones an $11 million judgment after she sued Richie for defamation.
The problem — and actually, there are many — with Richie's argument is that he makes it seem as though "wanting attention" is a punishable offense worthy of the cruelest mockery. Yet he brags about his own D-list celebrity, how he's such a hit on the club scene and that he's the "rock star of the internet generation." So wouldn't it be accurate to say that Richie wants attention, too? After all, he's not some nameless, faceless blogger. You can tell that he loves this shit, going on 20/20 and Dr. Phil, marrying a washed up reality star. According to his own arbitrary dogma, shouldn't he be penalized in some terrible way for his breach of his desperate-for-attention societal laws? (It's partially why it's so funny and ironic that he likens himself to Mark Zuckerberg — Richie is clearly no genius, and apparently too stupid to talk himself around his own twisted tenets.) The thing is, though, that it would be difficult to damage Richie's reputation, since you'd be hard-pressed to knock someone down a peg or two when he's already a bottom feeder.