Few of us can say that we personally know a cyberbully who would admit to cyberbullying. My best friend wouldn’t call himself that but nonetheless became one of the first antogonizers better known as Brad Pitt when he was in high school, in the early dawn of MySpace while we were still logging in on a dial up connection. Everything he said was disgusting and awful but his intentions came from the heart and he never tried to hurt anyone that was already vulnerable. It wasn’t like that. Even so, the school took it very seriously but had no idea what to do about it.
How did you get the idea to use MySpace as your modus operandi?
I had a Friendster before MySpace and I thought about it then. My friend made a few fake profiles like for AC Slater from Saved By The Bell and he started adding people from school and no one could figure out who it was and then I realized I could use this to talk shit to everybody.
Did you have a good reason to do that?
Yeah. Someone had scratched, “faggot” into my car door. There was a group of dudes who pretended to like Exploited but their parents were rich doctors and they thought you had to be white to like punk and they would always fuck with me so I always suspected it was them. Now they work in IT companies now so I feel somewhat validated for what I did. My car was constantly getting slammed with shaving cream too but I’m pretty sure that was just some girls doing it so I didn’t care about that.
Were there any other competing cyber bullies to your knowledge?
Well of course there was 4Chan or other forums where you could bully people or troll around but that was mostly anonymous anyway. You could flag it but MySpace didn’t have that sort of function yet. No one could block you. It isn’t like now where you can talk shit directed at or about someone’s personal profile.
Using Brad Pitt as your anon is just the best. Why Brad though?
It was just funny because someone would look at their inbox and it would say, “Brad Pitt sent you a message!” with an early nineties picture of him standing next to a motorcycle or with his shirt off. The subject line would always say “Hey…” and then they would open it and see “… you’re a faggot I hope you die” or something rude and retarded like that. And then they wouldn’t know what to do or say because what are they gonna do? Get in an argument Brad Pitt on MySpace?
What are some examples of how you used Brad Pitt?
There was a kid that I knew for a long time that died and there were a few weeks afterward when this other kid that wasn’t really friends with him basically used his death to get out of class all the time. Brad Pitt would ask him if he remembered the kid who died and bunch of other weird questions to make him feel weird. Or if there was something that happened at school, Brad Pitt would say “hey remember when you did that to her? How do you feel about it now?”
Care to be any more specific?
There were kids that would say racist shit all the time or say fucked up things about retarded kids to be funny like “I’m gonna rape that bitch with her Frankenstein boots on.” So Brad Pitt definitely had something to say about that like “I hope your father rapes you the same way.” Really awful vulgar stuff that I would never say to anybody now but I thought it was well deserved at the time. There was another instance in class when I saw these popular girls point and laugh at a really fat girl with her thong hanging out and Brad Pitt would call those girls out for doing that but none of them had any idea who it was other than it was somebody in their class that overheard them. They would think it was one of their friends before they ever thought of me because I kept my mouth shut at all times.
So would you say that what you were doing was cyber bullying or ruthless vigilantism or somewhere in between like just venting as a pissed off teenager?
Well I would use Brad Pitt to say what I wish I could to people that pissed me off, which was all the time but it was mostly just to entertain myself because people would try to talk shit to Brad Pitt like they were actually talking shit to Brad Pitt. They didn’t understand the concept of a troll because everyone in my town was so completely dumb. Nobody figured out that you could make a fake profile and say whatever you want to anybody. There was no reason for them to think that it wasn’t Brad Pitt. That’s why this was so fun. I was doing all of this was on dial up, by the way, just so everyone knows how long ago this was. So it’s not like I was doing this all the time because my mom would get mad at me if she couldn’t use the phone.
When did school faculty start treating um, Brad Pitt as an actual cyber bullying situation that they needed to address ?
One girl started replying and I guess some of the things I said upset her enough to the point that she told her parents so her mom started talking to me online and I would tell her that her daughter was a horrible person and that if anyone would know, it’s Brad Pitt. So she brought it up to the principal, and it became a big deal at school. Then one day it was casually mentioned at the family dinner table and it scared me so I never did it again.
Every school is at least aware of cyber bullying now. Since this was sort of the infancy of social media, how did your school or other kids respond to it?
It definitely caught their attention because they were able to figure out that it was someone everyone knew. They never had a chance to conduct an actual investigation but that’s because I knew I could delete the profile whereas nobody else was smart eneough to block me let alone trace an IP address. I think most of the kids knew about it but the ones that Brad Pitt talked to couldn’t say anything because they wouldn’t really be able to complain to anybody about how someone online is harassing them about some fucked up shit they said or did at school that day.
So do you feel like Brad Pitt helped you….
Not want to kill myself? Yeah. No it didn’t really help me. I was a pissed off idiot 17 year old and for some reason this was one of my outlets. I’m tired of talking about this.
Okay, good talk.