TheDirty.com: Public nuisance or a much needed public forum?
Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 19:01
Imagine waking up to text from a friend along the lines of, "You got posted on TheDirty.com. Someone is saying you slept with the entire Bengals football team," and though you know the claims are false naturally, mortification is the first emotion to rush in.
Every day, a handful of unlucky individuals are featured on this site. The mostly anonymous contributors claim the individuals on blast are guilty of everything from having STDs to statutory rape.
TheDirty.com is an open forum for people to post pictures and claims about any and every person they would like to publicly slam. Most of the posts in this blog-type site are aimed at calling out "slooty," or slutty, girls and commenting on their drug addictions, body weight, life goals or lack thereof, and even sexual histories. Essentially, it's a way for the jealous, scorned or just annoyed to let their opinions, valid, truthful or downright false, to be heard.
There are posts slamming men clad in tall tees and pink, popped-collar shirts, donning freshly frosted highlights. Some even go as far as claiming the individual on blast had raped or sexually assaulted a friend or loved one, but suffered no consequences.
One post from about a week ago claims that a man by the name of Chris W. Wertz had a hand in the statutory rape and consequential downward spiral of a woman who was later killed during a car crash, where Mr. Wertz was in the driver's seat.
"He at the age of 21 had a sexual relationship with her at the age of 13 and got her into drugs," read the article posted by an anonymous contributor. If this is true, then this guy deserves every ounce of blacklash this post may afford him. But what about the people who claim these posts are libelous?
A good friend of mine named Stina was featured by an anonymous informant on TheDirty.com. The no-name blabbermouth spewed false information about her drug habits and inability to stay committed in a relationship. She is by no means a "good girl" and did suffer from a drug problem for a few years. But now, a year sober and in a happy relationship, she feels that whoever did this was either a jealous girl or a man that she wouldn't sleep with.
In the end, this type of forum is somehow legal and the owner of TheDirty.com, Nik Richie, though often criticized, is rarely held accountable for letting these often false and hurtful things become publicized.
Richie was recently featured on the "Anderson Cooper" show, explaining how many of the people put on this site against their will aim to get retribution, but he almost without fail refuses to take the post off of his site. Even amidst a slew of lawsuit threats coming his way, he stands by his site, claiming that it's within his legal rights to let this false information on the thousands of individuals featured on TheDirty.com remain open to the public.
Legal or not, this concept has aided in stripping the crowns from Miss America contestants. It's lost otherwise refutable people their jobs, and has resulted in the demise of these people's self-worth and reputation.
And at the heart of it, I'd assume most of the foot traffic coming to the site takes these posts with a grain of salt. It's obvious the people writing each post have an ax to grind; they're speaking out of jealous or anger, not as an unbiased entity. But regardless, the claims on the site do have real life consequences for those featured.
While generally I think TheDirty.com is less-than appropriate and down right abrasive, people who are featured in a negative light are hardly innocent.
The pictures posted on this site are usually taken directly from the person on blast's Facebook page or personal Instagram feed. Some of the people featured even took naked cell phones pictures of themselves that eventually found their way onto the site.
Many of the "victims" featured on the site are well known as heavy partiers and have often times wronged just one too many people. But ultimately, does the punishment fit the crime? For many TheDirty.com fans and members, the answer is yes.
Some of the people who had been previously featured on TheDirty.com write their own posts to Richie after having realized maybe they weren't helpless victims, but untrustworthy partiers who, despite the pain it caused, were glad to have been featured on the site. Some even credit seeing themselves in such a negative light on the site as helping to save their lives and bring them out of their frivolous partying days.
The lesson to be learned--don't get drunk and messy and, by all means ladies and gentlemen, stop taking naked pictures of yourself. No good can come from it.
And if you are featured on the site, instead of getting mad at those who put you on the spot, maybe take a good look at the direction of your life and determine if maybe you actually belong amongst the ranks of the rest of "The Dirty" crowd.