Browse all

Who is the most hated man on the Internet?

A new Netflix series opens back up the Hunter Moore case

Who is the most hated man on the Internet? A new Netflix series opens back up the Hunter Moore case

Hunter Moore is not a good person. In fact, he himself described himself as a «professional life-ruiner». The reason? Moore was the man who took something as abject as revenge porn and elevated it to a system - not to say an empire. It was he, in fact, who created the online platform Is Anyone Up?, a kind of huge online revenge porn archive that brought out all the bleak misogyny of its users. Moore published intimate photos and videos of women and men with their full names, geo-tags, social media contacts and any other information he could find, bringing together a crowd of ex-husbands, ex-boyfriends, unrequited lovers, misogynistic 'redpilled' incel and haters of all kinds with the explicit aim of embarrassing, damaging and hurting his victims. But it was not just revenge porn: Moore enjoyed hacking into the computers and accounts of individuals to find photos with which to humiliate them. It was in this way that his downfall began, when he stole a topless photo from the account of 24-year-old Kayla Laws that the girl had taken of herself without sending it to anyone. When the girl found out that Moore's site had posted the photo and her information she was shocked - and her mother, Charlotte, launched a crusade against the 'most hated man on the Internet' by investigating the last two years of his activity, bringing a whole dossier in front of the authorities and facing hearing after hearing while, among other things, Moore's own followers sent her insults and death threats.

But don't think that Charlotte Laws was the only one who wanted to take him down - Laws was the only one who succeeded. Before her there were Facebook admins who banned him for life, then Anonymous hackers, and even PayPal blocked him. In the past, a woman whose photos had been posted had gone up to his house with her father and stabbed him in the shoulder with a pen, a scar Moore still bears. In reality, little had been done to stop him: after two different talk shows had invited him to confront his victims, without Moore showing any signs of repentance, the site's fame had grown (reportedly 350,000 individual visits a day) and the gates of the Internet's deepest hell had been opened, allowing underage porn videos, photos of naked disabled people, photos of corpses and even tortured animals to flood onto the platform. A law defended it: the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which basically makes the owner of a site not responsible for the content posted by users. A kind of bulletproof vest that led Moore to respond with a literal 'LOL' to numerous warning letters. At one point, in 2012, it was the FBI, following a complaint by Charlotte Laws, that knocked on his door with a search warrant for his computers: he had been accused of hacking and his bulletproof vest could not save him. The site was closed down and the domain sold to an anti-bullying site that still existed but was now inactive after his hacking problems. 

The rest of the story will be told by the Netflix series. What emerges, however, is perhaps a snapshot of a society: on the one hand there is the total sadism of the site's users, who gave so many views to the unauthorised pornographic content posted by Moore that they convinced him to post only those and not photos received through voluntary submissions as he was at the beginning; on the other hand, there is the complete oppression of the victims who, even in the face of invasion of privacy, even in the face of ruined reputations and lost jobs (it happened for instance to a teacher), were bullied and did not come forward to accuse their perpetrator who, on the contrary, built his own temporary fame on the image of bad boy. What is even more disturbing is that many Twitter users speak of Moore with nostalgia, and Moore himself is using his recently reopened Twitter account to promote himself and his book with the first followers, who call themselves #thefamily, beginning to rally around him again. The return of the documentary, in fact, raises the doubt that all this dredging up of the past doesn't just end up giving Moore more visibility by proving that perhaps, sometimes, crime pays. Let us hope this is not the case.