The Internet is increasingly becoming a vehicle for public shaming for those who enrage communities by thoughtless or reprehensible conduct. Holly Jones, a hair stylist in Indianapolis, is the latest target of the collective condemnation. Jones went on Facebook to complain that Kilroy’s Bar N’ Grill had ignored her needs on New Year’s Eve to help some “Junkie” who died. It turned out to be a 57-year old lady celebrating with her husband and son. Fortunately she survived. Jones’ reputation did not.
Jones was upset in having her celebration interrupted on New Year’s Eve: “After the way we were treated when we spent $700+ and having our meal ruined by watching a dead person being wheeled out from an overdose my night has been ruined!!.” As if that is not enough, she continued to bemoan that
“The manager told us someone dying was more important then us being there making us feel like our business didn’t matter, but I guess allowing a Junkie in the building to overdose on your property is more important then paying customers who are spending a lot of money!!”
Kilroy’s manager joined the rising virtual mob and celebrated the loss of Jones’ business.
Even Serenity Salon, where Jones works, went online to distance the business from Jones.
The trend toward Internet shaming appears to be growing. While it can sometimes have value as a form of local community action, it can also have negative elements as a form of vigilantism. Once selected as a story of the day, a person can be ruined and hounded by the resulting scrutiny. It is hard to be sympathetic over a person who writes such cruel and narcissistic things. However, the stigma and outrage over this posting is likely to remain with her for her lifetime. Indeed, some businesses would likely fire such an employee to avoid the public backlash.
Putting aside the justified anger, do you believe that level of scrutiny in such cases is commensurate with the offense given to the public?