Internet Responds to Britt McHenry’s Bullying … With More Bullying
“I’m on television and you’re in a fucking trailer, honey.”
By now, you’ve probably seen the viral video of ESPN reporter Britt McHenry coldly ripping apart a towing garage attendant.
Apparently upset over the fact that her car was towed and she was forced to pay for it, McHenry insulted the anonymous worker’s job, education level and appearance, telling her “I will fucking sue this place,” “Makes my skin crawl even being here,” and, “So I could be a college dropout and do the same thing?” McHenry’s final words in the video: “Lose some weight, baby girl.”
It’s a very disturbing scene, the kind that can instantaneously vaporize your faith in humanity. And yet ESPN has only suspended McHenry for a week. Many on social media are saying that isn’t good enough, and are calling for the network to terminate McHenry (hashtag #firebrittmchenry).
It’s a completely justifiable response. McHenry’s words were classist, elitist and just plain ugly. As the Chicago Tribune‘s Rex Huppke wrote, “We all get mad. We all say dumb things. But most of us don’t say cruel things repeatedly and with such apparent ease. McHenry’s comments revealed a smug sense of superiority and the kind of detached meanness that has become so prevalent online and so corrosive to society.”
What’s not so justifiable is, without a trace of self-awareness, calling for McHenry’s termination while also calling her a “bitch,” “cunt,” or dumb, as some have on Twitter:
— Fauna (Nancy) (@mistressfauna) April 17, 2015
— Peaches (@ChelcieeAnn) April 17, 2015
— sue gasieski (@sueceeq) April 17, 2015
— Annette Bennett (@NettieBoom1) April 17, 2015
"Wait, Britt McHenry has a journalism degree? Yep, that is why we hired her. Let's go with that" – Multiple ESPN Execs. #BrittMcHenry
— Ryan McCann (@fakefbnerd) April 16, 2015
Do we really have to point out that it’s still cruel to call a person names when that person is a bully? Even some of the less profanity-laden comments about McHenry on social media sites have been laced with a mean-spirited, hypocritical glee.
We’ll never end bullying with more vitriol.
Follow Holly Otterbein on Twitter.