Did they go too far or should they be allowed to express themselves?
by Lisa Fogarty
I'm not sure what kind of sicko would find this funny, but someone apparently did. A Twitter user named RichlonelyJuan, who has since had his account suspended, posted a disgusting photo on New Year's Eve of a woman passed out in her own vomit and then added the message, "Somebody put something in her drink, anyways, me and my brother bout to rape this b***h."
RichlonelyJuan and another Twitter user named TaBarius continued to post photos and insane messages about the woman's well-being, but now -- as police investigate the situation and try to identify the users -- they're claiming it was all just a joke. Ha, ha?
After the first user's initial post and photo, TaBarius posted a follow-up photo of the woman (or at least it looks like her) wearing clothes and curled up on the floor. He wrote "I changed her clothes...shes sleeping piecefully (sic) for now." His next post was even more disturbing: "RT if I should let this xx live Fav if I should kill her"
Let's ignore the crazy fact that a whopping 46 Twitter users thought this was hilarious and favorited the post. Far more users were disgusted by these posts and, after finding out it was a hoax, expressed their hope that RichlonelyJuan and TaBarius be caught by police and be forced to suffer the same fate by their employers (or school administration, depending on their ages) that Justine Sacco dealt with after posting a Twitter message about not catching AIDS in Africa because she is white.
Here are just a few of the messages that were posted by stunned Twitter users:
A few people questioned why so many were gullible and believed the posts and photos in the first place, but I feel like they're missing the point. It's very possible that legal action can't be taken against these users for their "joke," but that in no way means we should be accepting and tolerant of this behavior.
Rape is not funny. A photo of a drunk woman covered in vomit is not funny. And, no matter how free we may be to post content on social media sites that others find disturbing, there are times when lines are crossed. Having a good laugh at the idea of violating a woman is one of those times.
Do you think these Twitter users went too far with their posts or should they be allowed to express themselves?