Good Morning America was supposed to air a follow-up today to yesterday's report on 11-year-old cyberbullying victim Jessi Slaughter. It got spiked. Why? For one thing, a harassment campaign by 4chan users discouraged GMA's cyberbullying expert from going back on.
For the last two days, 4chan's anarchic /b/ messageboard has been in an uproar over Good Morning America's coverage of the Jessi Slaughter saga that 4chan helped launch. After GMA's resident cyberbullying expert, lawyer Parry Aftab, appeared on the show to discuss the case, 4chan users targeted her for a harassment campaign similar to the one they've waged against Gawker. They shut down Aftab's websites—wiredsafety.org and aftab.com—prank called her, vandalized her wikipedia entry and Google-bombed "Parry Aftab Arrested for Child Molestation."
Today, the planned follow-up to yesterday's Jessi Slaughter segment was quietly dropped. An ABC insider tells us that the story was spiked in part because producers "had too many other things they wanted to run and there was nothing new." But also "Parry Aftab didn't want to come on because of the attacks." (Aftab couldn't be reached for comment.)
Aftab didn't even mention the central role 4chan had in harassing Jessi Slaughter during her GMA appearance, but just talking about cyberbullying is enough to be targeted by 4chan. Aftab apparently followed her own advice in dealing with cyberbullies:
Don't do anything. Take 5! to calm down.
Block the cyberbully or limit all communications to those on your buddy list.
Tell a trusted adult, you don't have to face this alone