Online trollers can be pretty crass at times, and in this particular woman’s case, wide off the mark too.
As reported by the Inquisitr, Harambe, a 17-year-old Western Lowland gorilla, was killed at Cincinnati Zoo last week after a 4-year-old boy fell into the enclosure. The killing led to a social media outrage with animal lovers criticizing the zoo authorities, and the mother of the child, for Harambe’s death. Many gorilla experts, including Ian Redmond, argued that Harambe could have been saved if the staff at the Cincinnati Zoo had engaged him for a period of time before deciding to use deadly force.
In the days after the gorilla’s death, the mother of the child, Michelle Gregg, became the subject of widespread abuse online, with many people blaming bad parenting on her part as the primary reason that Harambe had to be shot.
As it turns out, however, she is not the only Michelle Gregg who became the target of infuriated online trollers. A namesake of the woman, living in Northwest Ohio, who coincidentally also has a son of the same age as the one who fell into the enclosure, became the target of online abuse after people mistook her for mother who was present at the zoo.
According to WTOL, she received several hundred messages on Facebook, almost all of which were unpleasant.
“It is crazy that they typed in my name, saw that I was from Ohio, saw that I had a little boy, and assumed that I was her,” she said.
This Michelle Gregg did not only receive abuses online but was threatened with death, with one person even telling her that her son should have had his limbs taken off by the gorilla.
“That I deserve to die instead of the gorilla, and someone even said that my child should have had his limbs taken off and he should have been eaten alive by the gorilla,” Gregg said.
When the overwhelming outpouring of abuse, coupled with ridicule, became too much for Gregg, she decided to change her Facebook profile photo so that the angry trollers could make out the difference between her and the actual mom whose son fell into the enclosure.
Then the Ohio mom took the painstaking measure of replying to each of the messages one by one, not only informing them about her identity but also letting her trollers know that showering abuse on the mother of the child would not help anyone involved with the incident.
“People that were hateful, I thought they needed to know that I wasn’t the person that they were looking for, and for the people who were being positive, I wanted to thank them,” she said.
She even went on to concede that after having received all the abuse, she could identify with the mother whose son fell into the enclosure.
“I know how she feels because I’m receiving a ton of email that’s directed towards her, and I’m sorry that everything is happening to her like this, and I know what a child is capable of in a blink of an eye.”
Now, a week after the Cincinnati Zoo incident, the hate mail has subsided, but it has taught Michelle Gregg a lesson she will never forget.
[Image via Shutterstock]