The Smoking Gun has kicked up the 4chan coverage this year. Mostly it’s been kiddie porn stories, but in March they reported the arrest of Jessi Slaughter’s father Gene Leonhardt for hitting Jessi, and now they’ve followed up with more police records on the family. It’s not fun. Not fun at all.
Slaughter is the infamous webcam star who was massively harassed by users from 4chan and elsewhere last year (she was 11 years old) after she posted provocative videos. In a later video, her dad yelled that her harassers had “done goofed” and that he’d called the “cyberpolice.”
The major takeaway for most of us non-4channers was “Ha ha, this man knows nothing of the internet!” But these police records show a real dysfunctional family and a daughter with a serious problem.
The docs found by TSG describe several visits to the Leonhardt home. During one, Jessi threatened to “stick a butcher knife in the DCF worker’s ass,” similar to the violent threats that arguably inspired the harassment. She also said (sez the file) “if she does not get on the Internet, she has nothing else to live for.”
There’s some Foucaultian shit to explore in here, as there is with any 4chan drama. Because on the one hand, some real problems are going down in this family. Dad’s getting charged with a felony. The cops saw pictures of Jessi getting naked.
On the other, they really were driven to madness by hateful people on the internet. The cops’ report says things like “they began to cyber date” and “writer then contacted Detective Dodd and advised him what was going on with the Internet sites.” The police are unsure what to think of $2800 worth of Pizza Hut orders being called in for this one household.
Because the local cops don’t live in a world familiar with pranking a stranger by ordering pizza to their house. 4chan does.
When the local prankster gets in trouble, you figure you can blame them for their own problems. When the Internet attacks a total innocent, you can blame the Internet. What about when the Internet attacks a crazy megalomaniac 11-year-old?