By Kevin Ryan
In no time at all, public shaming has gone from a cottage industry to a full-on post-industrial revolution business. From Hollywood to Bollywood, corporate America to Main Street anywhere, no one is safe from the wrath of social justice. Informed or otherwise. True, or catastrophically false. Or somewhere in between.
Last week, in Short Hills, two women interacted badly while shopping for underwear. Overnight, the story was international news. One of the women was branded a “Karen” and for the rest of her life, she will be judged by that moment. Every search for her will result in a mountain of information about her very bad day at the mall. Every aspect of her life will be picked over, commented on and judged.
This was not the promise of the Internet. We were supposed to be set free — but we’ve only freed mob rule. When something like this happens, people call me to help clean up the lifetime of destruction a moment in time can create. I’m just a digital marketing wonk who knows how the plumbing works. I could tell you some stories, but they all end the same way.
In one case I worked on, the accuser went to federal prison for fraud and the accusation itself from an accuser who had filed multiple frivolous civil lawsuits, was an obvious money grab, but that didn’t matter. His career and professional life were over because he was accused. And being accused is all that matters.
John Oliver famously told us that we are in the golden age of shaming while…