by George Heymann

Anything goes on!

by Jon Pompia

When you allow — nay, encourage — anonymous posters to submit unsubstantiated claims and allegations against anyone in the world, two things are sure to happen.Your Web site will become one of the most popular out there.

And those who appear on said site for the world to mock would like nothing more than to punch the living daylights out — at the very least — of the site’s operator. Welcome to The Dirty, the brainchild of one “Nik Richie,” an Arizona entrepreneur who claims to be the Net’s first “reality blogger.”

What this means is that “Nik Richie” — a fictitious name, of course — hosts a site that encourages visitors to submit “dirt” or gossip — i.e. allegations, made-up stories, lies, innuendoes — about anyone and everyone.
Most often, this “dirt” includes unsubstantiated allegations of venereal diseases, infidelity, drug use, homosexual behavior, criminal behavior, etc.

But that’s not the whole of it. TheDirty allows posters, anonymous, of course, to add further insult to the “accused” by commenting on the postings. Oh, and “Nik Richie” offers his two cents, too.

So to summarize: TheDirty is nothing more than a free, unregulated world-wide arena for vindictive posters to launch a vicious, viral assault on defenseless — and probably more often than not — innocent people.

Now, in the real world, if a newspaper or a television station blasted out that Joe Celebrity has AIDS and four other venereal diseases, is spreading them without conscience, and just happens to have 10 illegitimate children he hasn’t paid a penny to and whose mothers he regularly pimps out, you can imagine the legal ramifications that would ensue.

Even if these allegations were true, you couldn’t find a single newspaper or television gossip show to tackle the subject. Not so for The Dirty. Nothing is off limits. Men and women have been blasted as thieves, adulterers, drug dealers/addicts, plastic surgery disasters, unfit parents, homosexuals and lesbians, and on and on.

Oh, on the “lesser” end of the spectrum, people are continually lambasted for being fat, non-attractive, balding, wrinkly, poor dressers, etc.

While the average person without legal representation or the money to procure it pretty much has no recourse should he or she appear on the site, not everyone has taken the abuse lying down.

Random post. Names redacted and photo altered to protect the innocent.

A lawsuit launched by a Northern Kentucky teacher who sidelines as a Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader resulted in an $11 million judgment for libel and slander against the Web site.

Sarah Jones, a high school teacher whose picture was posted on the site along with an accusation she had been exposed to two venereal diseases, was the plaintiff in this particular case.
Additionally, a Texas woman was awarded $1.5 million last year after TheDirty smeared her with an obscene posting the court determined “was not of legitimate public concern.”
And while “Nik Richie” has plenty of supporters — all of whom most likely have never appeared on the site — his list of critics and detractors is getting longer by the day.  Television celebrity Dr. Phil publicly lambasted “Nik Richie” for posting “hurtful” things about defenseless, normal people. (Editor’s note: This include racial slurs directed at Asians and African Americans, especially).

Dr. Phil pointed out the recent suicides that resulted when false and defaming information was posted on the Web about the victims. “These are just regular people going about their own business,” Dr. Phil said. “Somebody takes their picture who doesn’t like them, or for whatever reason, and then they just write terrible, horrible, insulting things about them on the website.”
Responded “Nik Richie” — “It goes both ways, but yeah, there’s a marketplace for it. What I’m doing is a business.”
And here’s the rest of the transcript:
Dr. Phil: “Well, there’s a marketplace for heroin too, but that doesn’t justify being a heroin addict”
NR: “Yeah, but if 15 million people weren’t coming to my site, then obviously it’s something that’s demanded and needed.”
DP: “Wait a minute. You think this is needed? You think it’s a necessary element in today’s society?”
NR: “I think it’s a form of holding people accountable for their actions, Dr. Phil.”
DP: “Holding them accountable? You actually think you’re holding people accountable? Who are you to hold people accountable?”
NR: “People are sending me stuff from all over the world. I didn’t ask to be the guy. I just stumbled upon it, and the timing was right.”
DP: “You’re not posting people’s dirt. Many times, you realize, you’re posting lies about people.”
You be the judge. Here is one of the less vulgar but equally vicious postings from TheDirty:
• Nik This heffer here is named Rachael C*. She is the biggest whore in a hundred mile radius of Lexington, Kentucky. Beginning in high school Rachael has always craved for attention. After flunking out of the community college she was forced to go to Spencerian College where she took her skankness to a whole other level. You may be thinking how could this ugly fat girl get sleep with so many different people??? She is just proof that beer goggles really do exist!
How would you feel if you were the subject of this post? Or if it were your daughter or sister being referenced?
Yeah, that’s what I thought. Me too.
But, “Nik Richie,” maintains, it’s not his fault. The information just keeps flowing into him and since this is America and business is business, he does what any entrepreneur would do: post the stuff and then sell advertising space to keep the site running.
“Viva le freedom,” cry the protectors of unmitigated speech…libel and slander be damned.
Let me know, freedom fighters, if you still feel that way when you your photo gets posted and you get labeled a racist, child molester, drug abuser and neo-Nazi.



Filed under: Media, , , , , , ,

One Response

  1. Horacio says:

    Found your site through Delicious. You already know I am subscribing to your rss.

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