The internet is a dark place and brings out humanity’s ugly side at times.
A viral meme known as “Meth Curry” recently made the rounds on Instagram. It showed the picture of a frail-looking man who resembled Golden State Warriors star Stephen “Steph” Curry. Long story short, the man depicted in the image is not the MVP basketball prodigy, a cancer survivor who shared gut-wrenching pictures of his struggles through chemotherapy and a changing body.
Leon Mitchell of Tacoma, Washington, spoke to local media about an abominable act that tore at his soul. The 31-year-old said someone stole an image of him from his Instagram account and posted it online, according to the Mirror.
The picture of the gaunt man soon became a cruel mockery of his appearance. The unknown person dubbed it “Meth Curry,” which bears a striking resemblance to the point guard. The name was inspired by how a crystal meth-addicted baller would look like in real life.
The comments that resulted in its wake are nothing short of cyber bullying. But there’s a touching story behind Washington’s gaunt look.
— Dre1alliance (@Dre1alliance) January 8, 2016
Leon, the owner/operator of K.N.O.E. Clothing, learned about the “Curry” meth meme when it went viral. He broke his silence and responded to the heartless souls who bullied him over his body image. Arguably, his statements were classy and shut down the social media trolls.
“The fact that the meme was posted was a reminder of how distasteful and cruel people can be without background knowledge of the person in the bulls eye of the target.
“I’ve struggled deeply for years with the devastating effects cancer treatment plagued my body with.
“The massive destruction it took on my neck, shoulders, nose, throat, and ability to function normally.
“I, though, have overcome all of those things and become so much stronger then the after effects of cancer treatment, and proudly bare myself and ravaged appearance to the world with KNOE shame!!”
— Mashable (@mashable) January 7, 2016
Thankfully, Leon has been free of cancer since 2010. He was strong enough to endure the grueling effects of chemotherapy treatments, and although hurtful, he didn’t let online taunting get him down. Still, he has a message to haters and people who lob insensitive comments at others.
“Let’s remember these types of social media attacks on people can be massively detrimental to some who still battle with insecurities and uncomfortability [sic] with themselves and their battles.”
He adds this about the Meth Curry internet joke.
“I am more then [sic] a meme, I am a father, husband, survivor, mentor, community advocate, and positive motivational speaker. Proud to have endured and conquered everything I have!”
It’s unfortunate that the man was on the receiving end of a cesspool of insensitive comedy. Like celebrity death hoaxes and the fine lines some people cross to drive home a point or support an agenda, the point to remember is there are breathing people affected by slips in judgment.
However, there is some value that has emerged out of this Meth Curry meme. Recall that Leon is a business owner. Although he’s known to locals, his name — and face — is forever associated with one of the most talked about and gifted basketball players on the planet (sorry LeBron). With his new celebrity, he’s likely to see some love at the cash register. Arguably, the best lesson learned is one of survival.
I applaud this brave man for telling his personal story and coming out squeaky clean on the other side. His only fear is for others who are not as strong to deal with those hell-bent on hardhearted humor at the expense of others.
[Image via Twitter/KUBE 93 Seattle Screenshot]