Raped, bullied, stalked, leered at, sneered at: Kiki Kannibal is the much-reviled teen Internet celebrity that launched a thousand scathing blog comments. This is no way to become famous.
If the traditional journey to fame is full of obstacles, then the path to Internet celebrity is laced with landmines. That's the lesson from the long Rolling Stone profile of 18-year-old Kiki Kannibal: Each step of her rise to internet fame was marked by a harrowing level of hostility and drama.
In 2006, Kiki (née Kristen Ostrenga) started her first MySpace page when she was 13 with her parents' permission. She concocted the outlandish scene queen Kiki Kannibal character and started amassing friends attracted by her kooky outfits and provocative photos. Pretty soon she was attracting death threats and cyberstalkers, too.
But that was nothing compared to what happened when, at 14, she started seeing 18-year-old Danny "Mr. MySpace" Cespedes. He allegedly raped her one night at her house, but when cops tried to arrest him in October of 2007, he threw himself off a parking garage and died. The following backlash of internet hate against Kannibal forced her and her mom to move.
That's when our old buddy, stalkery sextortionist Chris Stone entered the picture via his vile tween gossip site Stickydrama. After Cespedes' suicide, Stickydrama relentlessly hounded Kiki, blaming her for his death.
Here's a little detail from the Rolling Stone article about the kinds of opportunities open to the young and e-famous like Kiki, courtesy of Chris Stone:
[W]hile Stone rallied the mob, he was also trying to lure Kiki to his newest venture. He called it "Stickyhouse" - really his own L.A. condo - where he invited teens to live so he could film and blog the resulting drama, the more depraved the better. He had at least one steady resident, the bleached-blond Amor Hilton, who vamped about for Stone's online audience. But mostly Stickyhouse became a revolving guest list of boys, for whom Stone posted a casting call of sorts: "I'm over titties, I prefer cocks and assholes. TEENAGE cocks and assholes." The kids stayed rent-free, although Stone, who is gay, was straightforward about the terms, as when he posted, "I'm buttfucking a legit str8 boy tonight, or he's homeless, lol." He posted twitpics of his supposed conquests, like one of himself lying beside a sleeping teen of indeterminate age: "I have seen paradise and [name] gets to stay here another month."
Among her detractors—and there are many—the general consensus is that Kiki's relentless self-promotion and fame-seeking meant she was "asking for it": She posed for sexy glamour shots while underaged; she called out her haters in blog posts. "She knows everything can be stopped, she's CHOOSING not to," wrote the e-celeb gossip blog efagz in an outraged post over the Rolling Stone article.
This argument falls apart if you consider the fact that someone can no more "ask" for death threats and harassment or the attention of Chris Stone than they can ask to be raped. People act like jackasses literally every second on the Internet; are they all asking to be serially harassed and cyberstalked by strangers? No.
But nothing gets the online hive mind's psychotic rage juices flowing better than a young woman who it feels is out of line. That the internet so readily confuses a young girl's misguided quest for fame as a plea to be brutalized (see: Rebecca Black, Jessi Slaughter) says more about the Internet than it does about the girl.