James McGibney is sick and tired of reading about kids who kill themselves after being subjected to online and offline bullying, which is why he started BullyVille.com. If he reads about a kid attempting suicide after some jerk classmates litter their Facebook pages with insults, it infuriates him, and apparently he is not alone. Thousands of celebrities have joined his cause, including Becca Tobin from the hit show Glee on FOX and Dj ASHBA, lead guitarist for Guns N Roses. BullyVille has been credited for saving countless young lives and the national media has taken notice. If someone is bullying a teenager and telling them they should go kill themselves or to “go drink bleach and die,” chances are pretty good BullyVille will go after them. The website gives people a safe place to talk about their own bullying experiences, in the hopes that sharing these feelings will give people a chance to see that they’re not alone.
Every day we read the stories about kids like Amanda Todd and Jamey Rodemeyer who were subjected to such bullying that they felt their lives were no longer living. We warn our kids about saying hurtful things to each other via text messages, on message boards. We tell them about how not only is bullying someone online hurtful, but in some cases, it is also illegal. We can do so much as parents, but it’s websites like BullyVille that can give kids (and adults) the tools and support they need to fight back. Mommyish spoke to former Marine James McGibney about his wonderful project, and how it all started.
What made you decide you wanted to start BullyVille?
It’s no secret that I own quite a few “Ville” Internet properties and I knew that BullyVille was going to have the greatest impact on our society but I wasn’t exactly sure how. There are so many amazing anti-bullying websites already in existence, such as thetrevorproject.org, noh8c
BullyVille has an interesting history in regard to its origins with Hunter Moore and how you obtained the website from him. How did that all come about?
When I first heard about Hunter and isanyoneup.com, I’ll admit I was mildly intrigued. It’s one thing to build a website, almost anyone can do that, but his fan base was growing at a staggering rate. Once I looked at the content I realized why. This guy was taking images of naked women (and men) some of which had been reported as hacked (and underage) and was republishing them on his site with vicious captions for millions of people to see and subsequently comment on. He would even put their Twitter handle and a screenshot of their Facebook page. Like his company tagline stated it was “pure evil.” Young girls were threatening suicide and he could care less. The images would never come down. I then spent a couple of weeks studying his every move online and researched him ad nauseum.
I observed his responses to lawyers who attempted to get naked images of possibly underage girls removed from his site. They were all unsuccessful. Facebook even sent him a cease and desist letter which went nowhere. The guy was untouchable from a legal standpoint (CDA of 1996), so I trolled him harder than anyone could ever imagine. He was telling the media he was making almost $20,000 a month — that was a total lie, not even close. We offered to buy it for next to nothing and he was desperate for money but had no intentions of shutting it down. He finally caved in and we purchased and immediately shut down the site. We were flooded with thank you emails from women who were contemplating suicide before the site went down. It was a good day for humanity. Unfortunately, he recently stated that he was going to rape my wife while my kids watched, so he’s now dealing with retraining orders and lawsuits which I’m sure he’s enjoying. As @primusdomina once said, “have you heard of the karma café? There are no menus, you just sit down at the table and get exactly what you deserve.” I’m going to spoon feed him.