Bullies are out of control on Twitter

Image courtesy Twitter

Basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven other people were killed in a helicopter crash Sunday in Calabasas, Calif.

The seven other people were John Atobelli, Kerri Atobelli, Alyssa Atobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Christian Mauser and the pilot Ara Zobayan. The helicopter was headed to Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy.

Bryant’s death has caused mourning worldwide. It’s also led to some ugly postings on social media as some decided to be rude and make jokes on Twitter about his death.

I’ve never been a sports fan and have never been interested in basketball. There were certain things that Bryant did and said that I didn’t always agree with.

I nevertheless think of him as a talented basketball player and still find his death sad. It’s even sadder knowing that eight other people, including his daughter, were killed.

In 2003 Bryant was accused of raping a hotel employee in Edwards, Colorado. Bryant pleaded not guilty and settled a civil suit.

In the era of feminism and the #MeToo movement, many activists were quick to make heartless tweets about Bryant and brought up the rape allegations.

Felicia Sonmez, a writer for The Washington Post, was temporarily placed on suspension after being caught on Twitter reposting an article that labeled Bryant a rapist.

Abigail Disney, the great niece of Walt Disney, reposted the same article on Twitter and tweeted, “It’s time for the sledgehammer to come out. The man was a rapist. Deal with it.”

Julie S. Lalonde, a women’s rights advocate, tweeted, “Kobe Bryant was a rapist. In case y’all forget that over the next few days.”

Evan Rachel Woods, an actress and model, tweeted, “What has happened is tragic. I am heartbroken for Kobe’s family. He was a sports hero. He was also a rapist. And all of these truths can exist simultaneously.”

I’ve always supported women’s equality but I don’t support those tweets. Being a feminist and a women’s rights advocate doesn’t give you permission to send out tweets making fun of someone dying. It also doesn’t give you permission to bring up something from their past.

Recent trends such as “cancel culture” and being “canceled” are ways for people to stop supporting celebrities and public figures due to something that happened in their past. I think this trend is unfair because no one is perfect and everyone has skeletons in their closet.

Ari Shaffir, a comedian, tweeted, “Kobe Bryant died 23 years too late today. He got away with rape because all the Hollywood liberals who attack comedy enjoy rooting for the Lakers more than they dislike rape. Big ups to the hero who forgot to gas up his chopper. I hate the Lakers. What a great day!”

On top of that Shaffir posted a video on his Instagram account stating that Bryant “got what he deserved since he got away with rape”.

A day later Shaffir made a post on his Instagram count claiming that what he posted on Instagram and Twitter was because he enjoys “dark comedy.”

I was taught by my parents to respect the dead and to never make jokes about someone when they die. I was not raised to be disrespectful when I hear that a person died.

There’s a huge difference between having an opinion and being insensitive. A person can express his or her opinion without dancing on someone’s grave.

I was happy to see that some of these people received backlash and ended up deleting their tweets out of guilt.

Over the past year I’ve seen more people use Twitter as a way to be a bully and a troll. The worst part is that those same people can make fake accounts with a fake name and without a profile picture just so they can be a cyberbully. I find it cowardly and evil.

People need to learn that what they tweet or post on Twitter will consequences. This is especially true if they’re making jokes or mocking someone’s death.