When a Pennsylvania photographer saw that some of her teen clients were cyberbullying other kids, she refused to photograph them. Now she's receiving an outpouring of support.
On her blog, Jen McKen writes,
I came across a page on facebook that was created (by someone under a ficticious name) thats purpose is to bully, ridicule and say mean and hurtful things about their class mates. While visiting the page, I found several teenage girls that have scheduled sessions with me for their senior pictures. I am emailing them tomorrow to cancel their shoots. I do not want them to represent my business and I am beside myself at how MEAN and CRUEL they were on that page.
I mean how I could spend 2 hours with someone during our session trying to take beautiful photos of them knowing they could do such UGLY things. Realistically, I know by canceling their shoots it's not going to make them "nicer people" but I refuse to let people like that represent my business.
I spoke with McKen, who explained that she was directed to the bullying comments by a friend who had heard of the Facebook page and was campaigning to have it taken down. The specific comments McKen objected to were "mostly sexual in manner. They were commenting on how big of a slut [the other girls] were, things along those lines."
On Facebook, a number of fans support McKen's decision. Says one,
Jen, you are an amazing lady! I was a bullied teen & young adult and never had someone stand up for me. I am so proud that you stood up for the kids who didn't have a voice & person on their side.
Thank you for standing up and speaking out. Senior pictures are a milestone moment for so many and you made it a wonderful life lesson. I hope these girls learned that poor treatment of others has consequences and more importantly standing up for others does as well. May your business boom as big as your integrity.
Even the parents of the girls she canceled on appear to approve of her decision. She writes that when she called to notify them, they "apologized that their child acted in such a way and that they would deal with the matter." McKen also told me that the response to her post has been "99% positive." She says the experience has led her to a new resolution: "if I [schedule] a shoot with somebody and then I come across something that I feel is inappropriate on Facebook and I don't want them to represent my business, I am from now on going to cancel the shoot." Her post sends a valuable message to teens everywhere: when you insult someone on a public forum, be prepared for the consequences.
I Won't Photograph Ugly People [Jen McKen Photography]
Image via Carolina/Shutterstock.com