Sick Big Brother fans threaten Shelly and her family with death, rape; express their hatred

Some extraordinarily stupid and horrible people are threatening Big Brother 13 houseguest Shelly Moore and her family, at least in part because Shelly’s vote sent beloved Jeff Schroeder out of the game on Thursday. Saturday, executive producer Allison Grodner pleaded on Twitter, “No matter how much you dislike an HG, this is wrong! True BB fans do not try to ruin lives. Please stop!”

That’s a reference to some horrific behavior from a significant number of people who are severely overreacting by hating a person because of their actions on a reality TV show, which they think justifies their threats, libel, or other awfulness.

As Yakkity Yaks first noted, fans’ “hate speech has gone to a whole new level. People are posting phone numbers and e-mails to Shelly’s work, urging others to call to get her fired from her job. They are urging people to help get Josie, Shelly’s young daughter, kicked out from her school. They are posting Child Social Service numbers, and asking that everyone call them to report Shelly as a child molester to have her daughter taken from her, and they are wishing violence on her and their family.”

The site screencapped one woman’s despicable post that said, “if you want to file complaints with Child Protective Services over Shelly molesting and abusing Josie, here is some info on how to do that,” and most horrifically, a post in which someone wrote, “I hope someone kidnaps and rapes and murder Josie. (Doesnt even matter what order of the raping and murder.”

Most aren’t that violent, but the level of anger is obvious, and they are feeding each other’s rage. Responses range from angry language to comments about Shelly actually being male to veiled threats (a woman who claims she lives in the same town promised that she’d post photos of Shelly’s house, although she or the page’s administrator later deleted that). Among the doctored photos of Shelly, some funny, some not, one person posted a photo with a smashed tomato on Shelly, hoping that’s what we’d see on “Thersday.” You can’t make that up.

Most of this has appeared on the Facebook fan page America Hates Shelly More; spend a few minutes scrolling through the anger and vitriol directed toward Shelly and you’ll understand how empty some people’s lives really are, and how empowered they feel to express themselves, grammar and civility be damned, online because they’ve wasted their summers and lives watching other people in a house instead of living their own miserable lives.

Just this morning, a man posted that Shelly is “a abusive mother.” It’s amazing that these kinds of posts appear on Facebook, which associates their libelous or even illegal comments with their real names. (For the mouth breathers that don’t know the difference: There is a big difference between an opinion and fact, and you can’t assert facts publicly without consequence, even if you disguise them as opinion. You can’t just preface something with “I think” or “it’s my opinion” and call it an opinion if you’ve made a statement that asserts fact, such as that someone is an abusive parent. And freedom of speech doesn’t apply to anything except the government’s ability to control your speech, so shut up.)

The page’s administrator responded to this somewhat flippantly, referencing Shelly’s destruction of another houseguest’s stuffed animal, posting that it “does not condone any kind of threats or violence. This includes threats against stuffed animals. Have a nice day.”

Meanwhile, TMZ followed up with a typically useless TMZ-style report that says anonymous sources say “Shelly’s family is preparing to get the FBI involved,” but offers no details, probably since nothing has actually happened.

As a result of this, there’s now a Stop the Shelly Moore Hate page on Facebook, which is great. However, it has just over 500 members while America Hates Shelly More has more than 7,500 members. That discrepancy makes sense, because it’s much easier to invest in the lives of people you don’t know and then focus the emptiness and anger you have about your own shitty life toward them than it is to attempt some critical thinking or empathy.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.