It was a tasteless and insensitive costume. I think we can all agree on that much. But did it deserve rape and death threats? Twenty-two-year-old Alicia Ann Lynch dressed as a Boston Marathon bombing victim for Halloween and posted the photo from her workplace on Instagram. Because Lynch has a history of unwise oversharing, her identity was revealed far and wide. Then the inevitable followed: Vicious, frightening personal attacks. Did she deserve it?
Lynch's identity was revealed because she had once posted a photo of her driver's license. There were nude photos and videos of her on Tumblr. You can guess what happened next. Angry tweets were just the beginning. There were death threats, rape threats, threats against Lynch's parents. People found out where she worked. Lynch deleted all of her social media accounts. She was fired from her job. But the cyberbullying didn't stop.
People left voicemails threatening to slit Lynch's throat or rip her face off. But it was the rape threats that really got to her. She says she actually had been raped last Thanksgiving, so she took those threats harder than the others.
Lynch re-opened her Twitter account (it's suspended as of this writing) to ask for bullies to at least spare her parents. "Plz stop with the death threats towards my parents. They did nothing wrong. I was the one in the wrong and I am paying for being insensitive," she said. "Please stop spreading around my parents number, and my home address. THEY DID NOTHING WRONG." She also apologized, saying, "I have been fired from my job. I am paying for what I thought was a simple joke. I know it was wrong now. I wasn't thinking ... I'm sorry."
Yesterday Lynch reached out to BuzzFeed to apologize again.
It seems as though my outfit was too soon, and will always be that way, it was wrong of me and very distasteful. My costume was not meant to disrespect anyone, ever. I am truly sorry to anyone that I may have offended or hurt with this. I know my apology doesn’t ever fix anything that has been done, but at least know that I am being sincere. I can’t undo my actions or make up for them, but my apology is a start.
I myself have been through tragic events, I just handle mine differently because that is how I was taught to. I realize I was in the wrong with this and again, I am truly sorry.
I wore a costume to work, with people that know me, and wouldn’t get offended by it. I had even ran the idea by a friend whom had his father in the marathon and he didn’t have an issue with it.
What I did may have been wrong, but is it truly right to wish harm upon someone and say that you’re doing it for the victims? As being a part of a tragic event I never would ever wish what had happened to me upon someone else, as I can say most people wouldn’t wish death upon someone to ‘make it right.’
It sounds like Lynch is still defensive about her choice of costume. She didn't mean to offend anyone, but she also seems to think it wasn't really that bad. She claims she was portraying a survivor, not one of the people killed in the blast.
I can see why people were outraged -- and why they still might be outraged. Lynch's choice of costume wasn't just insensitive, it was stupid. She should have anticipated the vitriol it would bring her.
But I don't think Lynch deserves threats of any kind.
When someone hurts you or does something horribly insensitive, like Lynch did with her costume, we are all justified in expressing our anger and disappointment. We are justified in telling her that we think what she did was wrong. But people who cross the line of civilized behavior and make threats are just as unethical and wrong as Lynch was.
You don't elevate yourself with threats. You don't honor the victims of the bombing with threats. And you don't right Lynch's wrongs with threats. You just degrade yourself to her level. I think at some point people got carried away and used Lynch's costume as an excuse to unleash their own inner demons.
Do you think people threatening Lynch really care about what she did, or are they just trolls looking for an excuse to bully?
Image via Instagram